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How to stretch your loan in the new year

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Welcome back – we hope you had a fun and relaxing Christmas break! It’s the start of a new term and a new year. Your next loan payment is due to be made today, which is enough to make anyone happy about coming back to university! But whether you mastered your money like a pro last term or let spending get the better of you, it’s not too late to make a fresh start with a brand new budget.

Essentials first

You need to stretch your loan for 14 weeks until your next payment of funding is due so look at your essentials – rent, food, travel to university, bills, etc – and how often these need to be paid. Set up a spreadsheet or use online tools like Student calculator for help with this.

For further tips, see our guide to budgeting.

Pay your debts

Remember to factor in any money you owe in your new budget. If you have used your overdraft, this will affect how much of your new loan instalment you now have access to. Whether you owe back rent or just a tenner to your housemate, pay it off now and you’ll feel better. If you owe too much to do this, try to negotiate a payment plan.

Don’t forget new costs

Thinking of looking for a house next year? It is highly likely that you’ll need to put some of your new loan instalment to one side for a deposit (on average this can be £300- £350, as well as an admin charge of approx. £35). If you’re starting any new modules, there may be new books,  stationery or equipment to buy.

Cut down on your spending

When tempted, ask yourself – do I need it? Here are some quick tips for budgeting like a master:

  • Some core textbooks are essential buys, but for anything else try the library first – there are thousands of books, e-books and journals available.
  • Bring a packed lunch or snacks to uni, and invest in a flask or water bottle for drinks.
  • If you live locally, leave the car at home and use the free bus or walk.
  • Cut back on nights out and afternoons in the pub to save money and have more time for study.

Check out our Minimising expenditure and Cooking vs Takeaway guides for further tips to avoid a new spending hangover.

Get a job

Improve your CV as well as your bank balance with part-time work. See our Should I find part-time work? post for guidance.

Extra money!

Could you be eligible to receive extra cash such as bursaries and scholarships, or hardship funding (such as Financial Assistance Fund or EU Hardship Fund)? Check out Scholarships and awardsFinancial Assistance Fund and EU Hardship Fund pages for further details.

Further ideas for increasing your income can be found here.

Remember that the Financial Guidance team are here to help if you have problems or concerns.

If you have any successful budgeting tips that you would like to share, let us know and we may feature them in our blog.