It’s easy to blow your student loan in the first few weeks at university. Avoid the stress that comes with managing your finances with these tips.
Moving away from home for the first time brings a set of unique challenges for students. Chief among these is budgeting; nobody wants to be calling their parents to bail them out within a month of getting their student loan. Here are Student Hut’s top tips for making your uni budget go that extra mile:
It might sound boring, but budgeting is essential to managing your finances. Your rent and bills will take up a lot of your student loan, so start there and budget with what you’ll have left. Remember that you’ll need to budget for the whole semester to ensure you aren’t struggling to make ends meet at the end of term.
It’s important to be realistic when budgeting; you don’t want to be too restrictive and not allow yourself any money to spend on leisure, but equally, you don’t want to end up not having enough money for your essentials. Budget properly to ensure you strike the right balance.
Do a big weekly shop
A great way to ensure that you don’t overspend on food is by doing one big shop each week. Before you go shopping:
- Plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list. This will help you only to buy what you need.
- Don’t forget to budget for toiletries too. If you go shopping with your housemates, save money by taking it in turns to buy basic items that you all use (such as bread, milk, toilet paper, and coffee).
Cook instead of always having takeaways
With coursework deadlines and a busy social life, it can be easy to rely on takeaways for convenience. Cooking is cheaper and usually healthier, so try to cook during the week and save takeaways for a weekend treat. Cooking meals in bulk and freezing them can save you money and time.
Budget for travel costs
Don’t forget to include travel expenses in your budget. If you don’t live on campus, these costs can add up. Taxi fares on nights out and travelling to visit friends and family can be expensive too. Plan for trips to save money, as advance tickets tend to be cheaper.
Put money aside for having fun
Budgeting for outgoings during freshers’ week and beyond will help you to manage your money. By setting money aside for having fun in advance, you’ll be less likely to overspend on nights out.
Saving a bit of money for non-essential purchases means you can still treat yourself and have fun with your friends without worrying about your bank balance.
Have some spare money for emergencies
It’s important to keep money aside for emergencies, such as unexpected bills or travel expenses. This can help your financial security and alleviate stress when you face unanticipated expenses.
Get a part-time job
Even if you are great at budgeting, you might still need extra money at university. Getting a part-time job is a great way of earning some cash and being more financially independent. It also helps build up your CV, and working during your studies demonstrates effective time management skills to potential employers.
Make the most of being a student and use any student discounts available. You can get cheaper food, clothes, and tech by looking for the right offers.
Many clubs and bars do student nights, and you can get student travel cards too. While some discounts may not seem to save you much initially, these savings add up over time, sparing you a lot of money.
Ask for advice
If you’re struggling with your finances, don’t suffer in silence. Your university and/or student union should be able to offer financial advice and support. You may be eligible for scholarships or bursaries, which can ease the pressure.
The Citizens Advice Bureau can also help by signposting any benefits you may be eligible for and providing broader financial advice.
What’s your top savings tip? Join our panel and let us know. You’ll get 1,000 reward points if you sign up today.