Seven steps to take if you’re worried about money

We hope you are enjoying your studies at the University of Northampton, but we know that many students have problems managing their money, especially at the Autumn mid-term point – which if not resolved can negatively affect both your ability to get the most out of your course and student life in general.

The next Maintenance loan payment is not due to hit bank accounts until early January, so if you’re currently feeling a little short or wondering how to stretch your finances over the next two months, here are seven steps you can take now:

Take immediate action if you are running out of money

If your cash supply is running dry, you need to make changes as soon as possible to ensure that you have enough to see you through until next term – see our Beating the mid-term money blues for a guide on how to prioritise your spending, and other tips.

Check your entitlement to funding

The minimum amount of Maintenance loan available in 2019/20 academic year is £4,168 (if living in Halls/ a shared house) or £3,314 (if living with your parents); if you have been assessed to receive a minimum amount of loan and you have a household income of £62,212 or under if living in Halls/ shared house, or £58,215 or under if you live with your parents, you might not have been fully financially-assessed – and therefore may be eligible to receive additional loan.* ​

If you know your household income, you can check your entitlement using this Student Finance calculator.​

You can also contact Student Finance directly on 0300 100 06 07 to see whether they need any further information to re-assess your funding.

Start good money habits

It’s never too late to improve your money management skills. The best advice we can give you is to create – and stick to – a budget. This is often easier said than done, however, we have created several posts to help you get started.

For the basics, see How to budget, as well as our recent Apps to help save you money, Top 5 good money habits to start, and Top 10 ways to manage your money.

Be careful if you need to borrow

Students are often offered credit – which can be useful if you’re running out of money for essential spending like food or bills; but if you can’t afford the basics, you should never apply for credit to treat yourself. The best option is usually an interest-free overdraft; however, there are also other options which have eye-watering interest-rates and fees. To find out more, see our Good and bad credit.

If you’d like to find out more about overdrafts and student bank accounts in general, see our recent Getting the most out of your bank account – part 1 and part 2.

Don’t over-spend at Christmas!

It’s easy to be swayed by the Christmas spirit, but remember that it’s just one day a year – and you will also need to pay for your usual costs such as rent, food and bills too. Before you go on mammoth spending spree, see our How to have a thrifty Christmas post, and Money Saving Expert and Save the Student websites for inspiration on how to enjoy Christmas without breaking the bank.

Apply for additional funding from the University

If you’re struggling financially, you may be eligible to apply for additional funding such as the Financial Assistance Fund or EU Hardship Fund (eligibility criteria apply) – if you’re offered an award, you usually won’t be expected to pay it back.

Ask for help if you’re worried

Whether you’re troubled about money or you have other concerns, help is available from Student Information Desk (SID), Student Support Officers and/ or Student Union if you feel things might be getting on top of you. If you would like further guidance on money matters, you can contact us through this blog or by email, phone, or come to a Drop-in.

We hope you find these ideas useful; if you have any budgeting tips that worked for you, let us know and we may feature them on our blog.

*Maintenance loans may be available to Home/ UK students who are enrolled on their first undergraduate course (eligibility criteria apply)