How to Manage on a Student Loan

A student loan is not the most generous of amounts and if it is all the money that you get to help you through university then you will need to make sure that you are really frugal in order to manage. There are many things that you can do so that you make the money last.

  • Set a budget – once you know how much money you will be getting then you will be able to start to set a budget. You will need money to pay your rent, transport to university and cover the utility bills. Hopefully you will be able to calculate how much you will need for that and then you will know what you have left. This remaining money will need to pay for your food, any learning resources you need, travel back home and any extra costs such as new clothing, phone contracts, haircuts, evenings out and alcohol. Once you know how much remaining money you have, it is worth calculating how much you will be able to spend each week. Work out how many weeks you will be living away from home each year and then you can divide the money you have by that and you will know how much you can spend.
  • Keep some money back – it can be wise to set your budget lower than the money you have. For example, if you calculate that you will have £30 a week then you might want to try to keep a bit back, so only spend £20 if you can. This is because you might need money towards the end if the term or year and may not have any left. If you suddenly have a settlement bill on your electric, need to buy some expensive textbooks or have to travel back and forth home a bit more then you will be glad to have that money to fall back on.
  • Ask for money gifts – many students are still lucky enough to get gifts form the parents, grandparents and other family members. Often, they will ask what you want and it can be wise to ask for money so that you can add it to your loan and have a bit extra. If they do prefer to buy gifts then think of things that you really need perhaps some new clothing, books for university or things like that which you would otherwise have to buy out of the loan money.
  • Ask parents for help – although your parents may not be able to afford to help you out financially, they may be able to help you with financial planning. They will have been managing household expenses for a long time and so they might be able to pass on some useful advice to you. As a student, you might feel that you should be getting more independent and not relying on your parents for things like this but do not dismiss their knowledge. They may have been to university themselves and had to manage money like you will be or they may have had to carefully budget in other situations. They might be really happy that you have asked and have all sorts of useful information for you. If they do not then ask other relatives you have that have been students as they could help you out.
  • Resist temptation – it can be very tempting to spend more money than you can afford. This is partly because other students might be doing it and you get carried away with them or feel that it is unfair that you cannot do the same thing. It is also tricky because you have a lump sum of money so it feels like you have a lot when in fact, you need that to last a long time. Most students have not ben away from home before and they will not be used to having to budget and be careful about what they are spending. Also being responsible for paying rent, utilities and even their own food can be something completely new. Although it is a great life lesson it is always useful to start off doing things right rather than getting into financial trouble and having to then learn a very hard lesson.
  • Borrow money – it can be possible for students to sometimes borrow extra money. They may be able to use an overdraft, credit card or payday loan. It is unlikely they could get other types of loans though. Although these can be really helpful you do need to make sure that you are able to repay them. Make sure that you are aware of how much the interest is and what the terms of the loan are so that you know when and how much you will be expected to repay. This should be easy to find out, if it is not on the website then you will be able to call customer services and find out that way. It is important to know this so that you choose an appropriate loan for you.

How to Decide Whether you can Afford to Decorate

All of our homes need decorating from time to time. A fresh coat of paint or some new wallpaper can really transform a space and make living there much more pleasurable. However, decorating, even if you are just painting can cost a lot of money and if you have to get someone to do it for you then the cost will be even higher. This means that you need to think about whether it is something that you can afford.

  • Get some quotes – firstly you will need to find out how much the job will be. If you are having someone do it for you then get them to do some quotes for you. They will be able to let you know how much they think the job will cost and that will allow you to work out if you can afford it. If you are doing the work yourself you will still need to buy paint and possibly other equipment as well. Work out how much you will need and how much it will cost so that you have an idea of how much money you will need.
  • Check your savings – if you have a savings account then the next step will be to check this to see whether there is enough money in there to cover the job. Consider what you were saving up for and whether you are prepared to use the money. It might be that you were keeping it for an emergency and so you may want to keep it. You might have been saving up for something specific and think that you want to keep it for that. However, if you need the work done quickly then you might want to use the money and replace it as soon as you can. You will need to decide how important you think it is.
  • Check your current account – it is also wise to check your current account. You should not only see if you have any spare money in there but you need to make sure that you will be able to afford to save up for the things you need to pay for. Look at how much your income normally is and how much you normally pay out for things and see what is left. This amount could be an amount that you could save towards the costs of decorating and you will be able to work out whether this will be enough.
  • Decide if you can wait – Once you have done this you will have an idea of how long you will need to wait to do the work. If you have the money then you can get on right away. However, if you do not then you will need to save up and you need to think about how long that might take you. You can then decide whether you will be able to wait to have the work done or not. It may be that you are expecting visitors or having a party and therefore want the work done before this happens and therefore cannot wait. Alternatively, you may just be in the position of wanting to brighten up a shabby room and are happy to wait a while until you can afford it.
  • Consider a loan – if you do not want to wait and do not have the money then a loan could be a possible solution for you. This will allow you to have the money that you need right away. However, you need to bear in mind that it will cost you more in the long run and you will need to be sure that you can cover the repayments. As you have already worked out how much money you have coming in and out of your account, you will be able to work out how much you will be able to afford for repayments. This will allow you to be able to pick the best loan to suit your financial situation. All lenders will differ in how much they expect you to pay out and how often and so it is worth making some thorough enquiries and comparing them so that you can choose the best one for you.

It is important to cost things out like this. It might seem like a big effort but it will make a big difference as you will be able to be confident that you will be able to afford what you need. You may also want to change what you are doing so that it is more affordable for you. It is wise to consider all of the options and the costs of those options; both financial and personal, so that you can make a well-informed decision. It might seem like a big hassle but it can be the difference between you being able to handle your finances and you struggling with them.