How to make the most of your student loan

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How to make the most of your student loan

Managing your money when you are a student can be hard. If you aren’t careful, or don’t keep a budget, it can be easy to get yourself in to debt. Here we share our top tips for managing your money as a student.

10 tips for managing your student money

1. Always use your student discount.

Arguably one of the best things about being a university student is the amazing discounts you can get on everything from food to days out; holidays to the latest laptops and phones. Sites such as UNiDAYS and Student Beans are great for browsing the latest deals, both online and in your local area. You can also get an NUS Extra Card which will unlock many other exclusive discounts.

 2. Rent or buy second-hand textbooks.

One of the biggest costs of being a university student is buying all of your new textbooks. In Save The Student’s recent survey, it was found that students spend an average of £312 per year on books. To save the pennies, make use of your university library and also your peers. Have a look on eBay for second-hand titles, ask your university if they have any book recycling schemes, or consider joining together with your course mates to buy books together.

 3. Keep a budget.

This is actually not as hard as it sounds; all you need to do is minus your outgoings from your total income (student loan, bursaries, salary etc.) and divide that amount by the number of weeks you need to budget for. This will give you your weekly budget. There are free apps available which can help you, such as Yolt and Cleo. Some banks also offer budgeting tools too. Check out this Student Budgeting Planner for lots of useful tips for working out your budget and sticking to it.

 4. Share food shopping and cooking with flatmates.

Bulk shopping and cooking with friends or flatmates is a great way to save time as well as money. By stocking up in larger quantities you can make great savings on your food shop; and by cooking extra for leftovers you can have enough to last a few days – making you less inclined to order a takeaway. Check out our student meal ideas for lots of easy and cheap recipes to try.  

 5. Shop around for your student bank account.

Banks offer various perks and incentives for students to open up accounts with them – credit cards, interest-free overdrafts, rewards programmes, and free railcards to name a few. Go in to a few high street banks to chat about their student offers to make sure you get the best deal available.

 6. Don’t forget your council tax exemption.

Good news – households where all tenants are full-time students don’t have to pay council tax. For more information, visit the Gov.uk website.

 7. Compare utility providers for the best rates.

The dreaded electricity and gas bills inevitably always cause stress for students; however you can take some of the pain out of having to pay for your own utility bills by getting the best rates on the market. Use comparison websites like uSwitch and Compare The Market to quickly collect and compare costs from all the main providers.

 8. Get a part-time job.

Many courses and universities allow and encourage students to get a part-time job while studying. It’s a great way to meet new people, get some work experience and earn extra cash. Ask around your local area to see if there are any jobs going, have a look on job websites like e4s, and speak to your university’s career service for more advice and support.  

 9. Sign up for a railcard.

Railcards offer great value for students who will be travelling regularly via train during their studies. The 16-25 Railcard only costs £30 a year and gives you a third off train tickets. If you are a mature student over the age of 25, you are also eligible for the rail card as long as you are in full-time education.

 10. Don’t let spending get out of hand.

If you are getting in to debt, or not managing your finances efficiently, don’t stick your head in the sand. Many universities have financial advice teams on hand if you need support. If you are looking for additional advice or information, you can visit any of the below websites.