As a student, managing your finances can be extremely challenging, especially as we begin the next half of term and with the rising cost of living.
Many of us will have the same question in mind; how do we make our student loan last longer? This article will explore some simple tips and tricks:
- Setting a budget: When it comes to managing your finances, a budget is absolutely essential. If you want your student loan to last, knowing how much money you have, and how much money you can spend is crucial. The first step is to calculate your monthly expenses, including your essential payments such as rent, bills, food, transportation. Once you have got your monthly expenses, you can create a budget that suits your lifestyle. Sticking to a budget will help you stop overspending, and ensure that you have more money in your pocket. A great place to start is the Starling Bank budget planner, which is completely free to use.
- Prioritize Your Spending: Once you have a budget in place, it is time to prioritise your spending. Identify what expenses are essential to you, and see if there are any expenses you can drop from your budget. For example, if you have a gym membership that you are not using, it might be worth cancelling the membership, so you can place your money into other pots. Prioritizing your spending will allow you to save money, and increase your budget size.
- Part-Time Work: If your workload allows you, getting a part time job can make a massive difference to your budget, by reducing your dependency on your loan. Even a few hours a week can make a huge difference, and could allow you to start an emergency fund, or add to your savings. There are plenty of different types of jobs available to students, including retail work, pet-sitting, and even tutoring younger students. It is also well worth browsing the Campus Jobs website to find a flexible position that fits in well around your studies. However, it should be said that studies should come first. (https://www.reading.ac.uk/essentials/Campus-Jobs)
- Scholarships, Grants and Bursaries: These are excellent resources that can help support you at university. The University of Reading has plenty of resources that you can apply to, based on academic performance, financial needs and even within industry. An example of this is the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, which can provide you with first hand experience in research, as well as a bursary for the research. More information about Scholarships, Grants and Bursaries can be found on the website below. (https://www.reading.ac.uk/essentials/Money_matters/Bursaries-and-Awards)
5. Take Advantage of Discounts: As a student you have a variety of different discounts available to you. This ranges from discount codes on online shopping websites, to discount cards in supermarkets, such as Tesco Clubcards or Nectar cards. Using these, you can take money off of your shopping bills, and even get money off coupons to help you save on your shopping expenses. Other sites such as UNiDAYS can even get you discounts on clothes and other large retailers to soften the blow to your bank account.
Check out our blog for more ways to make the most of your student discount.
6. Living within your Means: The most important way you can make your student loan last longer is to live within your means. This way you can live comfortably while studying at university. An example of living to your means is instead of eating out lots, cook your own meals at home. By cooking your own meals, you can further develop your cooking skills, and save huge amounts of money per month. The ultimate way to save your student loan and your money is to stick to your budget, and set an amount that you can use for entertainment and other activities like shopping.
There are so many different ways to make your student loan last longer, but by setting a budget, prioritising your spending and working part time, you can take control of your finances, and make your time at university much more comfortable.
A little bit of planning goes a long way, and with some practice, sticking to your budgets and making smart financial decisions, you can develop a useful skill that will stay with you well beyond your university years.
To find out more about the financial advice and support available to you from the University of Reading, check out the Money Matters pages on Essentials.