Going to university can be a life-changing experience, but it can also be very difficult for students to manage financially especially if it is their first time living away from home. Trying to make a term’s worth of loan to cover the cost of living can be a huge challenge so it is no surprise that students struggle, particularly towards the end of term.
Where Money Goes
A survey of 3,167 students revealed that the average living costs in the UK worked out to £770 per month. This worked out as £406 on rent, £108 on food, £64 on socialising, £47 on travel and £34 on bills amongst a few other regular costs. Additionally, there are often large upfront costs such as securing housing, travel passes, textbooks and Freshers Week events at the start of university which can make it hard to manage from the start.
Making a Loan Last Longer
So, what can a student do to make their loan last longer? The most important step to take is to draw up a personal budget which will help you to gain control of your spending and allow you to spread out what you have over the whole term. There are also lots of ways to save, such as:
- Shopping at a cheaper supermarket
- Buying non-brand products
- Cooking meals from scratch
- Socialising at people’s houses
- Using cash back and voucher website
There are other good options available if a student is struggling even with a budget and the above methods. A part-time job/online work can boost your income but this can then interfere with your studies or a short term student loan can be a good solution if you are struggling and allows you to borrow up to your next student loan payment.
It is also helpful to be aware of what the most common financial mistakes that students make. Other than not using a budget for each term, a big mistake that students make is misusing money – this generally means spending too much on things like clothing and/or spending too much money going out. While it certainly is important to enjoy yourself and socialise, you need to limit how much you do this and/or find ways to make savings. Racking up credit card debt is also another common mistake and one which can have long-term implications so you need to find another solution to any money issues.
It can be tough to manage financially as a student, but when you are smart with your money and use a budget it should allow you to have fun and lead a comfortable lifestyle.