Money tips: getting the most out of your student loan

Kathryn

Faculty: Medical Science
Course: BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science
Category: Allied and public health

13 June 2018

Forget your degree, the real challenge is surviving on your student loan! It doesn’t all need to be beans on toast and a constant stream of nights in, though. I'm going to share my tips with you.

Store loyalty cards will be your best friend

Most supermarkets offer a points card (with the exception of the cheapest ones) and if you remain loyal, you can soon earn enough points to enjoy discounts off your shopping or even put them towards meals out (which is my favourite way to use them!). It’s nice to get a little something back from your necessary purchases. 

I also have a card for two well-known chicken restaurants and it is so satisfying when you get a free meal!

Make the most of your BooksPlus card

Aside from books, you can also buy a variety of different things from stationery to bags to gym gear. BooksPlus has allowed me to save money on stationery costs as I know it is already covered.

Have a clear idea of what you plan to eat before you go shopping

We are all guilty of popping a few things in the basket here and there as they are ‘only £1’ or sound interesting, but do we really end up getting a lot of use out of them?

I found that it really helped to plan out what kind of meals I was going to eat and whether I could make a few dishes out of the same ingredients. For example, spaghetti bolognese is so easy to make and the same ingredients can be tweaked a little bit (with the addition of a few dashes of chilli powder and kidney beans) to create chilli con carne. If things I use often are on offer, like crisps, I tend to stock up while they’re cheap to save a little bit later.

Set a monthly budget

Divide your term’s student finance by the number of months until your next instalment to work out your monthly budget – and stick to it.

If you struggle a little bit, put the amount into a savings account and withdraw the amount you need for the month so you don’t end up going over. Sometimes overspending is unavoidable but this way you can only take what you need. I found there were some months where I had a little bit of money left; I saved it into a ‘treat fund’ so I didn’t feel guilty about eating out or maybe buying some new clothes.

Make the most of your student discount

I’m sure everyone already does this but it is good to always ask whether a shop does a student discount when you go to pay (whether you are home or abroad – it works there, too!). Before I buy anything online I always check whether there is a student discount too. It may save you 80p here and there on smaller purchases but it still adds up.

I hope these tips will help you manage your money better and get a few little perks along the way!

Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.