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How to manage your student loan

31 August, 2021Mutahara Gofur

Piggy-bank-with-moneyStarting university is exciting but comes with financial responsibility. Managing your personal finances for the first time can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together some tips on how to manage your student loan and save money.

1. Make the most of student perks

As a university student, you’ll receive a maintenance loan from Student Finance to support you throughout your studies. This is typically paid into a student bank account.

Student bank accounts differ to your typical current accounts, as they offer incentives such as a free railcard or discounts on leisure activities.

When you’re considering which bank to open an account with, think about what sort of account would benefit you. For example, if you know that you will be travelling home relatively often, then a free railcard will come in handy when it comes to saving on train fares.

One of the perks of being a student is the discounts.

As a student, you can create a free UniDays account giving you access to discount codes on:

  • clothing stores
  • restaurants
  • cinema tickets and more.

You’ll usually be able to save at least 10-20%, which will boost your savings over time.

2. Stick to a budget

You’ll receive your maintenance loan in three instalments. Because it’s not spread out monthly or weekly, like a salary for a job, it may seem like you have a lot of money.

This is an illusion!

So, before you spend any of your maintenance loan, prioritise what’s important. This means making sure you have enough to cover the cost of your accommodation and any bills first.

A good way to do this is to create a budget. Luckily there are many free budgeting apps that can help you with this such as Emma or Money Dashboard.

Money Dashboard sends you a notification when you’ve nearly reached your budget, to stop you overspending. And because it uses graphs to show you where you spend, you can easily identify where to cut costs.

Emma offers similar benefits, but also specialises in highlighting any subscriptions you’re not using to help you cut down on unnecessary expenses.

3. Reach out to your university for support

All students will receive a maintenance loan, but you may be eligible for extra financial support.

Many universities offer bursaries and scholarships which can help ease any financial burdens and give you some extra cash to fall back on for emergencies. Make sure you check what support is available to you and apply for it as soon as possible.

If you do find yourself struggling financially, your university should have support services who can give you the appropriate advice and signpost you to any relevant organisations. 

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