5 Ways To Make Your Student Loan Go Further

Bank balance not looking so healthy after the first few weeks of college? Don't panic, we know how to get the most out of that loan.

Piggy Bank

So, the college semester has just begun and you’re already finding yourself dipping into your overdraft. Sound familiar? Well you’re not the only one, because according to the UK’s leading money saving brand vouchercloud.com most of us spend the entirety of our student loan in the first 52 days, leaving us without any dollas for the rest of the semester. Eek. The most common non-essential that students are splurging their loan on? Er, booze. Surprise, surprise eh?

So what’s a gal to do if she desperately needs to make her loan last longer? We’ve found out how you can stretch it out until the end of the semester.

1. Budget

Budget, budget budget, did we say BUDGET? It seems pretty simple but so many of us just aren’t doing it. It’s an easy thing to let slide but if you want to make it to the end of the semester without having to nick your housemates food then this is an absolute essential. “Students should ensure they budget their loan from when they first get it,” says Michael Culloty from MABS.ie. “Budgeting from the start will mean you won’t all of a sudden run out of money” Need a hand restricting your funds? This budgeting tool will help solve all of your money troubles (if you stick to it of course…).

2. Know your entitlements

When you’ve completed your all important budgeting, look to make sure you are receiving all you are entitled to, Michael advises. “It’s very important each student looks up what they are entitled to when it comes to welfare and grants. There are a lot of resources out there available to students that they might not be aware of.” If you’re stuck about where to find out what you’re entitled to go to citizens information and they will tell you all you need to know.

3. Cut out the non-essentials

According to the student survey carried out by Voucher Cloud most of our student loan goes straight on alcohol which when you’re left without essentials like, er, food, is less than ideal. So what’s the solution? Track your spending for a week and pinpoint where your money is actually going. Are you spending more down Topshop than you are on your weekly grocery shop, or splurging all your cash on shot ladders the week your rent is due? Once you can visually spot what’s putting a drain on your cash, you’ll need to decide if it falls under the category of essential or non-essential. The next step? If it’s not a necessary purchase, cut it out, or at the very least, work to cut how much it’s costing you.

4. Find work

“We’d obviously recommend students go out and get themselves a part-time job that works around their studies,” says Chris Johnson, Head Of Operations At Voucher Cloud. Why? Well, not only will it give you extra money (duh!), it’ll also teach you valuable money habits for the future. Having extra funds doesn’t mean extra spending though. Set up an account specifically for your part-time earnings and dip into it only for emergencies. And no, that impromptu night out at the student bar is NOT an emergency.

5. Prep and plan your meals

Scoffing takeaway and eating out on the reg? A little prep can go a long way when it comes to stretching your funds further. Try your best to make homemade lunches and dinners, ALWAYS write a shopping list, and dedicate a day to meal prepping, so you’ll be less likely to drop €6 on that overpriced sambo at the college canteen.