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Student Budgeting Hacks

Receiving your first student loan payment can look like a lot of money, but it's important to remember that the money you've received needs to see you through a full term.  

To help you get through the first semester, here are some easy ways you can make your money stretch further.   

Set a budget 

Setting a weekly or monthly budget and sticking to it is a great place to start after your loan drops. It lets you see if you’re spending too much money and how much you have left over. 

The easiest place to start is by adding up your income; this includes:   

  • Your loan  
  • Any grants, bursaries, sponsorships, or scholarships you’re eligible for  
  • Money from your parents or guardians  
  • Wages from a job 

Then take off all your essential outgoings:  

  • Rent  
  • Your phone contract 
  • Contents insurance 
  • Any travel or car costs 
  • Food 

You can spend whatever you have left over on other things, such as social activities.   

Get an estimated monthly breakdown of how much you'll need to live on using the student budget calculator from Which? 

Be smart in the supermarket  

Having the freedom to buy your own food is great, but it can also be very easy to overspend.   

Writing out a shopping list and doing one big weekly shop will make it easier to stick to a budget as you’ll be less tempted to buy things you haven’t already budgeted for.  

Coming to university with a few meals already mastered is a good idea. Homecooked food is a lot cheaper than takeaways and shop-bought ready meals. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out six of our favourite student-friendly healthy meals. 

Use student discount  

Being a student means you can access exclusive discounts through websites such as UNIDAYS and Student Beans. Whether you’re looking for room décor or want to treat yourself to some new stationery, there are so many deals you can access.   

Check out our must-have student discount Instagram guide for some of the best discounts to help you save some pennies.   

Get a Railcard  

If you’re planning on making weekend trips back home or just exploring more of the UK, the 16‑25 Railcard gives you 1/3 off eligible train tickets.   

A 16‑25 Railcard costs £30 per year or £70 for three years. However, you can unlock an exclusive 20% off your digital Railcard purchase at Trainline with Student Beans. 

Don’t rush into buying your textbooks  

When you receive your reading list at the start of the academic year, don’t rush into buying all the books listed, as they’re often already available to you for free.   

Save yourself some money and check to see if copies are available at your university library, as not every textbook will be available as a digital copy. If you have to buy some books, purchasing them second-hand can save you a lot of money.   

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