Welcome to the University of Northampton! Whether you’re a new or returning student, we hope you have a fantastic experience studying with us at Waterside. Money can be a cause of concern for students, but the Financial Guidance team are here to help; here is our checklist to help you get into good habits early when managing your money:
Have you applied for your funding?
Providing you have been notified by Student Finance of the outcome of your application and have completed the declarations form or section of your online account, you will usually receive your first instalment of Maintenance loan 3 – 5 working days after enrolment. If you are not sure, you can check your account or phone SFE on 0300 100 0607. If you have not yet applied for funding, apply online today!
Check your entitlement
You can check to ensure that you have been fully-assessed for all for the funds you’re entitled to receive by logging on to your online account, checking the Student Finance calculator, contacting SFE by phone on 0300 100 0607, or you can come to see us in the Learning Hub, Waterside Campus – we’ll be available on a desk on the ground floor from 11am – 2pm, 24 – 27 September, from 10am – 2pm, 30 September – 4 October, and then our Drop-in service starts on 7 October.
Apply for a student bank account
Banks often offer lots of different freebies to entice students into opening bank accounts with them, but more useful is whether they can offer an interest-free overdraft facility – overdrafts can really help you when you’re running short at the end of term, as long as you don’t forget there’s no such thing as free money! Terms and conditions will apply, so check these before you want to use it – and try to limit your overdraft where possible for essential costs only. Further information about student banking is available from Money Saving Expert and Save the Student.
Master your finances
Student funding is typically paid in three instalments – it can be tempting to go on a spending spree as soon as it hits your bank account, however, please remember that this is to help cover all of your essential costs during the first term. The best way to be in control of your money is to create a budget – check what money you have coming in and when (e.g. your loan instalments), and compare this with what you need to pay for (e.g. your rent will usually need to be paid termly or monthly, you might shop for food on a weekly basis, bills can be monthly or quarterly, etc); online tools like UCAS and Which University calculators can be helpful. Please also see our How do I budget? and our Top 10 ways to manage your money posts for further guidance.
For some ideas of typical living costs while at university, see our One piece of money advice for a prospective student – part 1 and part 2 posts.
Maximise your income
If your loan is not enough to cover your essential costs, you need to consider ways of increasing your income. Getting a part-time job will not only put money in your pocket, but can also help you to improve your employability skills. See our Should I find part-time work? post for further details or you can contact the Changemaker Hub for details of local opportunities, help with CVs, etc.
For further ideas on how to make money, see our How to increase your income post.
Reduce your expenditure
Whether it’s the first time you’ve had to manage your finances or you’re swapping a salary for a student loan, it’s always good practice to look at ways of cutting down on your spending. Our blog has plenty of ideas on practical ways to do this; see our Minimise expenditure, Make small changes to save money, Mend your spending habits, Five spending situations to avoid, and Five ways to get financially ready for university posts.
Often students have worries about their finances at the start of term, so we have created a post to help. If your loan is late or you’re worried that you can’t afford to pay your rent, see our Money FAQs post for guidance on what to do.