Welcome to the University of Northampton. Whether you are a new or a returning student, we hope you have a fantastic experience studying with us. Money is often a cause of concern for students so here are some tips to 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 signed and returned the declarations form, you should receive your first instalment of maintenance loan 3 – 5 working days after enrolment. If you are not sure, you can check your online 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 contacting SFE by phone on 0300 100 0607, going online to check the Student Finance calculator, or come to see us in the Student Centre, Park and Avenue campus – we’ll be running a ‘Check your Entitlement’ desk during Welcome Week and then our Drop-in service starts on 2 October.
Apply for a student bank account
Banks often offer lots of different freebies to entice students into opening up bank accounts, but more useful than these is 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 that there’s no such things as free money! There will be terms and conditions attached, so check these before you want to use it – and try to limit your overdraft where possible for essential costs only. Further information 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 towards 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 Student calculator can be helpful here. See also our budgeting post for further guidance.
For some ideas of typical living and course costs while at university, see our ‘How to spend a student loan – part 1 and part 2’ posts. There’s also plenty of information available online, such as this article including tips from current students: ‘How to manage your money at university‘ and ‘Nudge, nudge:mind tricks to stretch your student budget‘.
Maximise your income
If your loan is not enough to cover your essential costs, it’s time to consider ways of increasing your income. Getting a part-time job will not only put money in your pocket, but 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 your CV, etc.
You may be eligible to apply for the Financial Assistance Fund or EU Hardship Fund (eligibility criteria apply) for help towards rent and other living costs.
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’, and ‘Five spending situations to avoid’ posts.
Food, glorious food
Instead of spending lots on takeaways or eating out, grab a (virtual) cookbook and start trying out the many cheap and easy recipes you could make at home. The Skint Dad website has ‘fakeaway’ recipes for those counting their pennies, and see Student recipes, BBC Good food, Good Housekeeping, Food Network, and the Independent and the Guardian websites, as well as our ‘Cooking vs Takeaway’ and ‘Savvy shopping‘ posts for further cooking inspiration.
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.
Speak to us!
If you would like further guidance, you can contact us through this blog or by email, phone, or come to a Drop-in.