Graduate Blog

Stretching your Student Loan


We’ve all been there, a week after your student loan hits your bank account and you’re left raiding the cupboards only to reveal you’re left with a few tins of beans and not a lot else. If you’re lucky enough to have a job during University then that’s great, as you have a steadier income but there are students out there who only live on their student loan and things can definitely get tight at times.

Essentially, your student loan is there to cover any living costs you incur during University. But how many students actually spend their pennies wisely?

However nerdy it may seem, the key to making your loan stretch is planning ahead. Know exactly how much you’ll be getting? Then plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborately planned to your last penny or you don’t have to have a complex spreadsheet itemising your every move, but some sort of written plan to see where your money actually goes is a lot handier than you think.

Initial Plan

First things first, sit down and log onto your student finance account and write down exactly what you receive and when you receive it. This way, you can physically the amount of money you’ve got to work with. Make a list of your outgoings, and start with the absolute necessities. These include things like rent, gas, electric or other utilities which must be paid. Then factor in things that you need such as groceries. Work out a realistic budget for your food shopping, or if you live with other students then decide how you will split the bill.

Be Realistic

Don’t spend more than you need to on certain things. Being a student with only one source of income (your loan) can be quite tough. Especially when you may be used to living at home and not having to pay for much at all. Make sure you know how much things cost, whether that is money for the launderette or some spare cash to go out.


This brings me onto socialising, going out with your friends or joining an extra-curricular club. Budget, budget and budget again. Whatever you are left with from your loan after budgeting for your necessities is for you to do what you want with. If you think in this mindset, you’ll have something to look forward to without feeling guilty. Imagine the first part of your loan is for necessities and isn’t yours and the second part is for whatever you like. Try and spread your money over the weeks or months before your next loan so you can see on average how much you have for socialising each week.

Not got enough left?

If you’re simply not left with enough money to actually do anything or socialising then think about the ways to make some money. Try finding a local business who needs some part time help or even sell some old textbooks or clothes to raise some extra cash.

Being savvy with your loan is the way forward.

About the Author

Jade Stokes Jade Stokes

After studying photography for almost 4 years, I had a change of heart and decided to take a more scientific approach. I now study with The Open University towards a BSc with honours where I study a mix of healthcare and science based topics. I hope to one day be working in the healthcare system somehow, whether that's training again to become a Radiographer or taking a more clerical approach and working 'behind the scenes' in a hospital- I still can't decide!

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