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Student finance tips: How to stretch your student loan

Want to make your money for uni last longer? Our top student finance tips will make budgeting easier.

With two years down, and one year of university to go, our intern Laura knows that being completely out of pocket by the end of term isn't the best situation to be in. So we’ve been asking current students for their top tips on ways to make your money go further.

How much money do you need to live at university? We've crunched the numbers to reveal what the average student spends on food, going out, accommodation etc. to help you budget for university.

Plan ahead

Budgeting and having a weekly allowance can go a long way.

It’s all very simple; it’s all in the planning! Without it right from the outset university life can get very hard. However if you plan and make a budget of how to spend your money e.g. by allocating some money towards food, books and socialising etc., you find it stretches a lot further and does not suddenly run out. Third Year Business Studies Student | University Of Essex

I split my student loan up into the number of weeks I was at uni and then deducted my rent from it. That gave me the amount I had to stick to for everything else. First Year Theatre Studies Student | Middlesex University

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Extra funds

If your student loan really isn’t enough to cover your cost of living, there are alternative options.

There are lots of opportunities to find jobs on campus which was important for me, because even with cheaper accommodation, my student loan was eclipsed by my accommodation costs. First Year French Student | University Of Warwick

Oxford life is so intense that it is pretty much impossible to work during term time.  However, there are very generous bursaries, scholarships and grants based on family income and academic performance and there are long holidays which lots of people use to get paid internships or other jobs to fund themselves through. Fourth Year Classical Greek Literature Student | University Of Oxford

It's worth choosing a student bank account that offers a generous 0% interest overdraft, to give yourself some breathing space. Find out more by reading Which? Money's articles on the best student bank accounts and advice on how to clear your student overdraft.

Shop smart

There’s no shame in searching for the cheapest deals.

Bath isn't a cheap place to live. However, if you plan your spending carefully it is easy to keep your costs down. All of the major supermarkets deliver food on campus, so ordering food regularly as a group can save a lot of money. First Year Economics Student | University Of Bath
Definitely sign up for reward cards for when you do a food shop. Also, shop late at night; there's often a load of reduced stuff that you can freeze, and the shops aren't as busy. Maybe even team up with a flatmate and make dinner together sometimes. It's cheaper for both of you, and it can be fun. Second Year Biology Student | University Of Portsmouth


Going out deals

Take advantage of all the student nights and deals out there.

In London, money runs out very quickly. The trick is to go out on student nights when entry and drinks are cheaper, and also to avoid eating out. Even a few too many Subways can blow your budget! First Year Medicine Student | Imperial College London
It's easy to be cost effective if you're sensible. All the usual money-saving tips apply: bring sandwiches from home, buy discounted and own-brand items from the supermarket. Most clubs have nights with student deals. Joining societies can get you a discount at certain places, too. First Year History Student | University Of Leeds

Curb course costs

You may be stung by unexpected course costs and extras, but there are smart ways to get around some of them.

Books are expensive for courses but there are ways of getting them cheaper: second-hand book sales and student Facebook groups, for example. Fourth Year English Literature Student | University Of St. Andrews

Materials for students studying an art or design course can be quite expensive. It is a good idea to get an NUS card so you can use your student discount when purchasing materials. The course tutors also provide names of stores where students can receive a discount. Second Year Illustration Student | London Metropolitan University

Test yourself to see how your budgeting knowledge scores...

And if you can only stretch your student loan so far...

We've got loads more advice on student finance – from the types of extra funding you might be eligible for to how you can get a part-time job while you're at uni. 

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