Back to blackBy Credit Action
Student Moneymanual takes a look at six ways to stretch out your student loan.
1. Get a goal
“I’ve got to work part-time,” says Josiah, a first-year student at Bristol UWE, who takes supermarket shifts whenever he can. “I’ve got £2,000 to find from somewhere for my accommodation and I haven’t taken out a maintenance loan. This job isn’t what I want to be doing ultimately, but it’s good pay and I just have to sit there and … touch food.”
While rent is a major motivator, even putting money aside for small treats can help you catch the saving bug and boost your finances.
2. Start next term’s reading
Staying on the right side of the student:book ratio when everyone else hits the library can pay dividends for your studies if it means you read more than you might have done otherwise. You’ll also avoid emergency (expensive) book buying, or feverishly photocopying the sole reference copy in a 3am sweat.
3. Re-think your rent
Get nosy and find out how your rent compares with local averages, other uni accommodation and what your friends are paying. Joe Pickles moved back home when he joined the University of Cumbria: “I pay rent to my mum – it covers everything (bills too), whereas I know from talking to friends that they can pay more than me just in rent. I save around £30-50 a week by staying at home.”
4. Don’t upgrade
Crunching your bills with a spend calculator like or uswitch.com (for utilities) or billmonitor.com (for mobile phone contracts) should be a no-brainer. When phone contracts come round, think twice before you commit to an over-priced, two-year contract. You can also slash the cost of an expensive phone tariff to less than a tenner by not asking for a new phone.
5. Leave the country
Students on the ERASMUS exchange programme typically don’t pay any tuition fees to their host university, may be waived part or all of their home university fees, and can apply for extra loans and grants. “Studying in London was completely out of the question; I would have had to work full-time to fund it,” says postgrad student Stacy Brafield. “Here in Norway the semester fee is just over £100, as opposed to thousands.” Courses are often taught in English, so while you can develop your language skills, you won’t be expected to be fluent.
6. Budget, don’t fudge it
“The majority of us get very excited and are very rich people for one month, then spend the other two months complaining about being poor students,” says Mariam Raja, a postgraduate at Brunel University. “Student finance is worked out so you are comfortable for the whole term - but it's based on your ability to manage the money.” Start and save your own budget here.
Get a free copy of the Student Moneymanual 2013
Pick up saving, spending and student finance tips at students.creditaction.org.uk – plus your free copy of the essential Student Moneymanual 2013.