Posted by sthomas on February 24, 2017 10:57 am

Budgeting can be one of the hardest things to do when coming to university and as each year goes by it doesn’t get easier. In my first year I actually budgeted really well and managed to keep to my weekly budget on most weeks. I only went over if I had to replace something that was expensive. However, this year I’ve not done so well but then my student finance did go down by about £2000. Luckily though, through my own savings and money given by Grandparents each month and the money from my job I’ve managed to stay out of my overdraft.

Making your loan last

Making your student loan last can be tricky especially if this is the first time you’ve had to make big money decisions. The biggest tip I can give in making your student loan last is to not spend it all at once or spend it on non-essential items before paying your rent or buying your food shopping, paying your bills. Prioritising how you spend money is key to keeping out of your overdraft. For example, if you low on money rather than going out stay in and put that money you would have spent towards your rent or food shopping.

Budgeting on a night out

Going out is definitely one of the things that consumes a lot of my money but it is possible to have a night out on the cheap if you plan ahead. To keep the money they spend on a night out to a minimum a lot of students have pre-drink before going out. I always having a few drinks before heading out because buying alcohol from the shops are much cheaper than at a bar or club. As well as this, make you take advantage of bar and club offers. Most clubs offer cheaper entry and drinks if you get there before a certain time (usually midnight) and some days are much cheaper to go out than other so make sure you do a bit of research before heading out.

drinks

Discounts and student deals

Student discounts are another great way to save money. Many shops and restaurants offer students discounts, so before buying always enquire whether they do. You’ll also see the student discount book appear around your student accommodation a few times a year. Pick one up as these have fantastic offers such as the £1.99 McDonalds meals!

You could also save money by purchasing an NUS Card or a Railcard if you travel a lot.

Services that can help if you’re struggling

If you are struggling financially don’t suffer in silence. There people that can help. Check out these two websites for more information.

NUS: Where do I go for help if I’m in financial difficulty?

Hardship Funds (GOV.UK)

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Budgeting tools and app

There are plenty of budgeting tools and apps available if you are wanting to track what money is going where. To keep track of how much money I am spending where I use a spreadsheet I created myself. This allows me to see if I’ve stayed in budget or not. It’s really a personal choice of what and if you use tools and apps to manage your money.

Just to end, I wouldn’t worry too much about your student loan as I know quite a few people who are receiving very low student loans who are managing to pay their rent, buy food and go out.

I hope this blog post has helped you when it comes to budgeting on a student loan. If you have any questions about budgeting please feel free to comment them below and if you want to find out more about student loans visit the Student Finance website.

– Sophie :)