So you managed to survive your first term (just about) with nothing worse than a few mysterious bruises, a lost voice and the embarrassment of having drunk dialed every ex in your contact list.
Now the work begins, and it’s time to start spending on things you actually need, like food. The only problem being that you don’t want to check your balance for fear of having spent your entire first loan instalment on midnight Chinese takeaway deliveries, tickets to see DJs you’ve never heard of playing at the SU and more 2 for 10 pitchers at the local Wetherspoons than you could ever realistically get through. It’s not ideal, but every student in England is in pretty much the same boat.
So for anyone who currently puts their card in the machine and prays it doesn’t get declined, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to make your student loan (or what’s left of it) go further.
Split your money between the number of weeks you need it to cover; draw that amount out at the start of the week, and make it last. By avoiding using your card, you’re avoiding spending more than you can afford- contactless is not a student’s friend
Try to avoid buying all the books you need brand new. Past students are more often than not trying to sell theirs off at much less scary prices. If you only need a book for a short time, you can always just borrow it from the library.
Make your own! For me the biggest drain on funds is the Costa I walk past every morning on the way to my 9am. As tempting as it is, take out coffee is unnecessarily expensive, and it’s not exactly good for you either.
Make sure you have a Unidays account (all you need is your uni email address). Take full advantage of the offers it gets you- everything from ASOS to Spotify to Dominos.
Try to limit this to just a couple of nights a week. However tempting it is to ditch your referencing in favour of getting smashed on a Wednesday, remember that not every week is Freshers Week. You also probably have lectures the next morning, and your bank account won’t thank you either.
We all know that parking at University can be a nightmare – permits are expensive and the fines you get if you don’t have one are even worse. Consider alternative methods like walking, cycling or getting the bus (most universities offer a discounted pass for this). If you’re living on campus, the chances are you won’t need to leave that often, anyway.
Part time Jobs:
As useful as your loan can be, we all know that sometimes it’s just not enough to cover the cost of living and still have some spending money left over. In this case, many students turn to part time work as a way of making up the difference. Ask about jobs on campus (at the SU, in the book shop, or even as a student ambassador) or look for zero hour contracts in the area, to make sure you still have enough time to study in between.
Always make paying your rent the first thing you do when your loan comes through. Afterwards, you can split what you have left between food, books and whatever else you need, but if you leave it until the last minute you may find that you don’t have enough to cover it, and no one wants that awkward phone call asking their Mum to borrow rent money.
With that in mind, let’s do some maths
Okay so I needed an actual proper adult to help with this bit but here it goes:
Say your Rent is £95 per week, the national minimum wage for 18 – 20 year olds goes up to £6.15 in April 2019 (£7.70 for those of us over 21).
If you get a job in a cafe, after 16 hours (15.45 to be precise), your rent is covered. That’s one day on the weekend and a couple of afternoons in the week.
Doable, right? And then your rent is covered. Suddenly that student loan can go on the important things, like jaeger-bombs and burritos.
A final word – try not to worry about it too much
Go to Uni – seriously. You’re paying enough for it, and not showing up is like throwing money away. Make the most of it, even if it means waking up late and turning up with a heavy cold, clutching a flask of tea and wearing the T-shirt you slept in.
The bottom line is that your loan will never stretch as far as you hope, but the point of Tyfy.co is to help students get jobs when they graduate. When you’re a real adult you can worry about paying it all back, just make the most of what you’re studying and enjoy yourself. Sign up today and mentor in your spare time, then graduate with a portfolio of recommendations from your peers.
It’s really as easy as that.