The day your student loan drops in your bank account for the first time is an exciting day!
You will have the sudden urge to buy everything you've wanted for months, but that's a decision you'll soon regret.
Keep calm, keep away from the shops and ask yourself:
- What are my outgoings?
You need to work out how much of your student loan you will have to spend. A lot of it will go to rent, then you should work out how much you'll spend on food, your social life, maybe a gym membership, Netflix subscription etc.
TIP: When you get your loan, divide the amount you got by how many weeks are in the term. That way you know how much you have to spend a week.
- Do I need to find a job?
After working out your outgoings, you might find yourself to be a bit short or might not have anything left at all. If this is the case, consider getting a part-time job to keep you going at university so that you can afford to treat yourself now and again.
TIP: Try to find a job on your campus, maybe in your Student Union or as a student ambassador on open days.
- Should I get a student bank account?
Another option if you're short on cash, is to get an account with an overdraft of up to £3,000 - just in case you need it! You might not need to use it, but it's good to have just in case you overspend one month and end up really broke. Just don't start depending on it!
TIP: Some accounts offer freebies and either 0% or low-interest rates meaning you won't have to worry about pay loads back - so, shop around!
- How often will I travel back home?
If the answer is quite a lot, then invest in a 16-25 railcard and a Young Persons Coachcard. If the answer is hardly ever - still get one! It'll come in handy for trips to different cities when you visit your friends.
TIP: Get a bus or tram pass to use in your new city too so you've got more money to spend on exciting things...
- How much will I spend on food?
You don't actually need to spend that much. Budget supermarkets are your saviour, and meal prepping is too. Make meals in big batches, put them in Tupperware boxes, freeze them and you've got meals for days! Once you master this, you'll spend next to nothing.
TIP: Buy frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones and buy meat in bulk when there is an offer on and freeze it.