Student Loan Impulse Spending - what can you do?

Check out this article all about impulse spending and how you can save those pennies!

  • Posted Wed, Dec 14, 2022 3:16 PM

Hey, big spender! As an aside, something that would have cost £1 in 1966 - when that song was released - would cost a comparatively whopping £14.86 now. 

Inflation has hit everyone hard, especially in the cost of living crisis that you’ve been hearing so much about lately. So maybe you’re looking to work on being a somewhat middling spender instead. Luckily, the Union has some top tips to help.

There are a lot of ways to help save money, and there are also a lot of articles about how to save money. We have some great recommendations - this article from Money Saving Expert has a few good ideas about yellow sticker food. But when your loan comes in, it might feel like you don’t need it. After all, you do have a big chunk of money. But it’s in bulk for a reason - it’s supposed to last until your next payment, and you don’t want to run out in the middle.

Next month’s rent?

Obscure musicals aside, your loan is also supposed to cover accommodation costs, and it’s very important that you have that when you need it - this includes bills, if your accommodation isn’t inclusive. 

If you’re in student halls, you may have the option to pay three or more months of rent at the beginning of term, when student loans drop. It might be harder afterwards to adjust to paying every month, but for the first year it may help to get that out of the way until you can work out what your average monthly spend is - you absolutely don't want to spend into your rent and bills! From there, you can work out if you could still make your budget work if rent and bills were added each month instead. If not, you may need to cut down or move some things around.

If you have to pay rent monthly, or even weekly, a good way of doing it is opening different bank accounts. You could have a separate account for rent and bills, or a savings account for anything left over. You can do this with the same bank - some banking apps will let you link the accounts so you can see them all in the same place. So if you have a smartphone, you can quite easily move money around from one account to the other. Set them up as savings accounts if possible - you may get a few more pence every now and then.

That way, you can figure out how much rent (and bills!) payments you have per loan, and then you can put them aside in another account. Ideally, if it’s not linked to your main bank card, you won’t accidentally spend it, so you can rest easy knowing that your accommodation is paid for.

If that’s not an option for you, another suggestion could be to take your rent out in cash, and put it in a safe, or another equally secure location. If you need to pay rent through a bank transfer, you can take the cash to your bank and ask for their assistance - they should be happy to help, or they can let you know if there are any issues.

Money for nothing?

Your leftover money is still very much for something - a food budget. If you can talk to your family, or any trusted adults, you could ask them what their regular shop looks like. Just remember to ask where they shop, too, as prices can vary between shops and even brands.

The good news is that with a bulk payment, it may be easier to buy ingredients in bulk, too. It may be worth setting money aside each week for expirable goods, such as fruit and vegetables, but if you know you get through 10 tins of beans a week, you may find them cheaper in multipacks. Just remember to check the dates, even on canned goods, as they may expire quicker than you think they will. And if you find a good deal on meat (or meat free substitutes) you can just stick it in the freezer. Check if they can be frozen, though as some substitutes can’t.

And while it is usually better to try to cook at home, similarly, be realistic. Cooking at home will save you money, but buying food to cook at home and then throwing it away will cost even more. If you absolutely don't have time to make breakfast before your 9am lecture on Thursdays, it may be cheaper to just grab something in the cafe rather than repeatedly throwing away ingredients.

And after that, if you’ve budgeted effortlessly and you still have something left over, congratulations! Maybe stick it aside for a rainy day. It’s also better to budget for things like holidays, too - if you’re the gift-giving type, it may be better to prepare early, as long as you can work out what you can spend per person, and stick to it.

And if you have a couple free days between lectures, and you fancy a part time job, keep an eye on the Union Careers Board - there might be something there for you! The University also has a Support Fund, details of which can be found on our Cost Of Living Page.

Happy saving!

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