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Student budgeting

When you start University it is a very exciting experience; probably one of the most memorable times of your life. However, depending on your experience, it can be a very tough time financially too. We have highlighted some of the main points to surviving financially in the student years, so your experience can be as enjoyable as possible and you can get by as easily as possible financially. You can make university a time where you learn a lot of life and financial skills and still have a lot of fun, whilst getting your further education too.

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Student Loan

Firstly, if you are fortunate enough not to need a Student Loan or feel you can manage with out one, then don't get one. You'll be glad of it in the long run, when you don't have thousands of pounds to pay back. You can still follow the tips below on how to make your money stretch. If you do need a Student Loan, the first thing you need to do is tell yourself

"I need this money to last me for the full university year".

It will be one of your main sources of income for the year and the fact that you get it split into only three instalments, doesn't help the fact that you receive a heap of money in your account at any one go, while you are financially vulnerable and on a frugal existence, then be expected to budget on it. The first thing you want to do is go mad spending! A good way to counteract this is to draft up a list of how many weeks/months there are between each installment of your student loan. Then divide each instalment between the number of weeks/months. This will show you that you really don't have a lot of money to do you from your student loan each week. It also gives you a strict budget to adhere to. You can withdraw that amount of money each week from your bank and then leave your bank card at home. This will help make the weekly allowance do you for the week.


It is difficult to curb your spending when you're a student. You have all this freedom, a hectic social life, education stuff to pay for, transport, rent, food, not to mention drink, clothes etc...

  • Student discounts - Take advantage of these wherever you can. They are nearly everywhere in the retail industry. But it doesn't mean that you should just buy for the sake of it. It means buy out of necessity and take advantage of the discount on offer.
  • Budget buy food - There are so many budget-buy food shops, especially in student populated areas, that you can live a healthy balanced diet on a very low budget. Wherever possible, cook your own meals and save the take out for maybe once a week as a treat. It will be kind to your waistline and kind to your purse/wallet. Make your own lunches where ever possible. You could save yourself a fortune on lunches and breakfasts alone.
  • Drinking is expensive - Alcohol is probably one of the most expensive and realistically one of the most important things in your student existence. There are some things you can do to cutback your costs on alcohol. One is carry outs. Wherever possible, cut back spending in bars by having a carryout before you go out. By even taking a couple of hours off your night out and sitting in with a few friends having a drink, you can save yourself a bit of money each night. Another thing you can do, is limit yourself to a budget when you go out. Leave home without your Bank Card and you are constrained to the money you have for that night.
  • Transport - Do you live near uni? If so, you'll save a fortune on transport by walking. Cycling and walking can be a great way to fit in excercise, feel good, help you focus better and save you money. If you live slightly further, you should stick to public transport such as buses. Taxi's are a luxury that you can't really afford.

Part time Work

  • Most students cannot go through University without some sort of part time work. It adds great life experience, teaching you responsibility and how to juggle several tasks, never mind providing you with a weekly/monthly income to support what little money you already have.
  • Be mindful not to let work overtake your Uni studies. It can be easy to give priority to the need for the extra money, due to the lack of it, by doing extra hours etc... but this can leave you tired, neglecting your studies, stress etc...

Summer Work

  • If you feel like you don't need or cannot handle part-time work at any stage throughout University, perhaps a summer job will be ideal for you. You can work a full-time job throughout the summer holiday period when you are on a break from uni. This can be a great time to work and save all the money you make, so that you can have money towards your uni terms in the Autumn.

Bank Account

  • Getting a Bank account when you become a student can be at your advantage. Most banks will compete to get you as their customer, as chances are, you will remain with them throughout your working career, potentially earning the bank money in the long run. In order to get you on board the banks will compete with each other offering you attractive cashback offers and deals. So, be sure to go for the one that will benefit you the most financially. 0% or low interest overdrafts can be handy for a student for making the money stretch each term. If you go for this, be sure not to go for too high an overdraft and be wary of interest rates and fees, especially when you are graduating. Steer clear of credit cards.

Are you struggling with your debts?

  • Whether you are a student or a graduate, if you are struggling and need help with debt, contact our debt advisers now on 0800 043 5133.

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