The impossible guide to staying financially stable when you get a huge sum of money at once.

Though you may have felt loaded when all those 00’s graced your bank account in September, the reality of how far money doesn’t go has probably hit you by now. So what do you do and how do you cope? Student loans don’t always have to scream sacrifice.

Seek extra help?

The Educational Grants Advisory Service targets students at a disadvantage, and helps them secure extra funding - search them up if you think you may qualify! Also, on the Scholarship Search website, there are many bursaries and scholarships available across the UK if you look hard enough. Find your University and course, and determine if there’s anything on offer for you.

Find the most decent overdraft

It’s a fact that you’re going to need a depthy overdraft for emergencies if money isn’t something you can rely on constantly. For example, times of rent, paying fines or Christmas are going to kill you. In order to have this option available for you throughout Uni, you need to be careful with it. Once you’ve hit your overdraft limit that’s it, so don’t spend it all and not give a thought about how you’ll pay it back. By switching to a more distant bank, you could bag yourself a free Railcard or Amazon vouchers (which I used to ease the Christmas debt). Give it a try, and don’t be afraid to change banks if you’re struggling.

Go on the search for student discounts

Why not utilise them while you’re still a student? To give you an example, New Look give you 20% off provided you have a student number, and McDonald’s give you a free McFlurry, cheeseburger or Mayo Chicken with an extra value meal provided you have student ID. If you have a small injection of cash, fork out for an NUS Extra card! I also recommend the UniDays app, Meerkat Movies and student Uber discounts. You’ll be paying significantly less to live than someone else.

Don’t hide your struggle

The reason so many students end up far deeper into debt than they initially intended is because it’s embarrassing. Before you know it, you’re almost overdrawn and haven’t got anything to show for yourself, and it’s embarrassing. Don’t worry about talking to family and friends who can help, everyone’s been stressed out due to money before and they can’t think any less of you. They can help you monitor how much you spend and how to keep a constant stream of money going - even if you give them all the money and let them give you little instalments weekly or monthly.

Slide a side job in

It’s a harsh reality, but big spenders who have entered studenthood may need to find additional work, which can be hard with a degree. However, it’s not impossible. Bar jobs are really popular in the city and retail isn’t far behind - in exchange for your effort they’re more than likely to accommodate the hours you’re in University. If out of luck, try the University itself or some freelance positions going in any of their societies, event nights or clubs.

Generate a plan

Try and make a plan! Find your calendar and fill in every money-demanding activity on there. Make an estimate for how much money you’ll need (don’t be too optimistic) and then calculate how much you have left over. Subtract basic necessities like food expenditure per week or taxis / trains where you need to go. This gives you a rough indicator of your allowance, so next time you want to buy a crate of cider you’re more likely to understand that you’ll suffer when it comes to food shopping or someone’s gift.

Make food the least of your problems

You’re going to have to spend money on food regardless of how much you save, so why not minimise the cost so other areas don’t suffer as much? Look at the 2 for 1s, don’t shop for the sake of ease (e.g. chopped carrots over a normal one you can chop yourself) and don’t let ANYTHING expire. If something’s going to go off but you’re not going to eat in time, cook it up and freeze the meal so you never run out. Don’t run to the big supermarket if you just need bread, as you’ll buy so much more than you need.

You don’t have to be drunk constantly

I’ve pulled a few free nights out in my time and my bank has thanked me for it, and my lack of a hangover. Unless you’re going to somewhere really rowdy or a bit shit so you have to be drunk to enjoy it, you can do this too. There are many advantages to this: you remember the whole night, you’re ready to get up and be productive the following day, you don’t spend loads of money for the sake of drinking or getting into a taxi and you won’t have a hangover.

The greatest things in life are free

(Or involve minimal expenditure). Of course, students fulfil this general idea of leading a drunken, heavy lifestyle where they don’t settle down for weeks on end. But to be honest, it’s nice to have a cheap night in by yourself without having to worry about when your next loan is going to come in. Having a movie night with your laptop on your desk chair while you lie in bed with a hot chocolate or some cheese and crackers sometimes is really nice.

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Written by Hannah Newberry, 10 months ago
Agree? Disagree? You can tweet them here @hanxnewbs