Receiving your student loan is great – finally, you have money again! We’ve all fallen victim to the cycle of overspending as our loans come in, and then struggling through the rest of the semester. When I first started uni, I was definitely overwhelmed by the excitement of having so much money at once and spending frivolously. As the years of my degree passed, I learned some very useful techniques and tips to make my loan last longer and to be able to keep away from student overdrafts.
Brave your bank account and make a budget
As difficult as it is to look at your bank balance, it’s the first very important step to keeping yourself on track with your loan payments. Using a banking app will make this a lot easier, and regularly checking your balance is always a good idea. After getting your student loan through, you should sit down and calculate your direct debits/bills/other monetary commitments for the entire term. This money can then be set aside from your available money to spend. Similarly, have a sit down and think about any new clothes you may need, furniture for your room, or crockery. If you know you’ll need replacements during the term, try to factor this into your budget too.
I switched to Monzo in 2020, and found that the ‘pots’ feature helped me to stay on budget. Other banks have this feature too! if yours doesn’t, consider setting up a savings account to move your money into and only take out the money you need when you need it.
Remember to budget for social activities! You can look back over your statements to figure out how much you spend on average per week on socialising and then factor this into your budget.
Don’t go on a spending spree
It’s tempting, but don’t spend all your loan at once. You may need some in case of emergencies, or you may just need it for your weekly shop if you don’t have any other income. It’s also important to remember to not rely on income from any temporary or zero hour position, as your income over the semester can’t be guaranteed.
Planning ahead is important for budgeting your money, you should try to set money aside if you are able to and cut back on unnecessary spending if your wallets feeling a bit light.
Completely cutting out any kind of joy from your budget wont work, and will probably end up with you overspending in the future. Allow yourself some of the nice things you really want to buy, but remember to think about your purchases before you make them. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a practical purchase either, we all deserve to get ourselves something nice now and again.