How to make the most of your student loan

How to make the most of your student loan
Written by Sarah Banks
Published on 19th September 2017
Updated on 19th January 2022
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Your student loan has just hit your bank account. Take a deep breath and before you hit the shops think to yourself, ‘how can I manage my money better?’.

A splurging spree using your student loan might feel good at the time, but you’ll need to think long-term to avoid getting into financial trouble later on in the year. With our top tips, you’ll learn how to survive university financially.

Identify where you can cut back

The first thing to do is to take a look back at a few bank statements. Perhaps you’ve spent a lot on takeaways recently or have streaming subscriptions that you’re no longer using. Put together a list of your biggest expenditures and see where you can spend less. Food and going out are potential culprits, so try weekly meal planning and choosing only the events you really want to go to. You soon start to see the amount of money you’re spending getting lesser and lesser.

Bash out a budget

If you’re still concerned about where your money is going, it helps to put it all out in black and white so you can get a full and comprehensive view of your finances. This student budget sheet is our tried and tested method and allows you to get a handle on exactly how much money you have coming in and out each month, across the educational year. Make sure you include any student loans, short-term loans or payday loans so you can factor in any repayments you may have leaving your account each month.

Get good advice

Although your friends may be telling you about the different student management money apps they’re using, it’s best to find information from more reliable sources. You’re all in the same situation and unless someone is money-savvy beyond their years, you might end up falling into trouble together.

Student-specific blogs such as those from UCAS or NUS will be full of money-saving hints, tips, deals and offers to help you during your studies. Budgeting apps are also a good idea, but find one that’s right for you - try out a few such as GoodBudget .

If all else fails…

If you’ve cut down your spending and managed your budget well but are still coming up short before your next student loan instalment, then an affordable short-term loan can be used as a last resort. These will help you to bridge the gap and when paid back on time, can actually help you build up your credit score for the future.

This type of loan is certainly not a long-term solution and although regulated to stop people spiralling into unaffordable debt, you still don’t want to be paying off penalty fees and interest when your student loan payment does come in.

Before you apply for a short-term loan make sure you know all the facts with our ultimate guide to short-term loans.

Find Loans

Use the Choose Wisely Eligibility Checker to find a suitable lender in just a few minutes, without impacting your credit score.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to

Sarah Banks
Written by
Sarah Banks
Finance writer at Choose Wisely

Sarah joined Choose Wisely in July 2017, whilst still studying for her degree. Learning the ropes across different departments in the business including Customer Service Advisor for a period of time- making her the company’s closest link to their consumers experience with their finances.