Tips For Students: How To Manage That Student Loan

So all you students should have those lovely student loans in your bank accounts now, making you feel rich…at least for a few days anyway!

Now from past experience, I know how tempting it is to splash that cash on new clothes, make-up, nights out, the list is endless. I certainly managed to find anything and everything to spend my money on when the loan came in, and my money was soon down the drain before I knew it. It took me four years, taking me into my final year of university to learn how to manage my loan to get me through until the next instalment came in, and by that point I was in my dissertation year and my social life had well and truly gone out of the window! Typical! Today I’m here to share with you my tips on how to manager your money, to make sure you’re never short on cash…well, too short anyway…

  • When your loan first lands in your bank account, divide the total amount by the amount of weeks you have until your next loan instalment lands in your bank account. Mine worked out at approximately £150 per week, which is easy to survive on.
  • If you have the option with the bank you are with, I would highly recommend setting up a reserve account with them, which you have easy access to. When my student loan came in, I would transfer the entire amount over into my reserve account, and then transfer my weekly allowance each week into my main account. This meant that if temptation hit me at any moment, if I didn’t have the money in my main account then I couldn’t spend it.
  • plan your meals each week and write a shopping list. This way you know exactly what you need before you head to the supermarket. When I started doing this I would end up spending just over £10.00 on a shop, opposed to £30.00 on stuff I didn’t even need!
  • I know when studying as a full time student you have a lot on as it is, but I couldn’t recommend getting a part time job more. Not only does the extra cash mean a little more spending money each week, and money to go towards the rent and bills, but it also shows that you can manage your time between your academic work, professional work and personal time, which looks great to future employers.
  • Ask yourself if you really need that student overdraft. Or is the full £2000 necessary (this varies depending on what bank you are with). Possibly have an overdraft for maybe £200 for emergencies, but if you don’t need the full amount, then don’t take it, because trust me, if the moneys there, you’ll spend it. I did, and now, over a year after graduation I’m still paying off my overdraft.  In fact I haven’t quite gotten around to that bit yet… which leads onto my next point…
  • You’ll be offered student credit cards whilst you have your student account. Now, parts of me think these are a great way for students to build their credit ratings without getting in too much debt. Mine was at a limit of £500, which doesn’t seem like much, but since, I’ve been paying it off for the past four years! This is because I didn’t use it for it’s purpose… emergencies! What I should have done is left it at home when I headed into town, but I got greedy and before I knew it I’d maxed it out, then since have only been able to pay off the minimum. Only now, this past year have I had the money to pay off chunks of it. So I would recommend having one, but for emergencies only.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with my opinions on what I think you should or shouldn’t do with your money, so I’m going to keep it at the basics here, however I found these tips really helped me get through my final year of studying. By this point however, I was writing my dissertation and working three part time jobs to start paying off the silly unnecessary debt I had built up, and I am still paying for today. If you don’t want to end up like me in my final year, then I would highly recommend following my tips to avoid a final year of study, work and no play…

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