That maintenance loan payment has finally hit your bank account, ensure your new chunk of cash lasts the course.

Phew! You were hanging on for it, right? Well, with the torrid expense of Christmas now firmly behind you, this is a great time to make some new year resolutions with your finances and ensure your new chunk of cash lasts the course.

The student loan payment dates never seem so cruel as they do right after the Christmas break. It’s always an expensive few weeks clinging on to the coat-tails of your final few pounds before the government drop their second payment of the year. But now’s a great time to fix your financial habits and make sure you don’t get caught out again. Your new-found commitments to change won’t all stick, but if you can hold dear just a handful of these top tips, your money should stretch a lot further than last term.

1. Stick to a weekly budget

Obvious and boring, I know – and also easier said than done – but if you really can slice up your loan into equal chunks and stay fixated on that as your maximum spend each week, then you’ll be in great financial health come Easter time.

2. Set up those DDs

As a student, rent and household bills are likely to be your biggest expense – after tuition fees, of course. Getting them out of the way early by paying in advance or setting up regular payments via direct debit can help enormously and remove a good degree of nauseous money management from your life.

3. Buy in bulk

When you need to buy your classic staple ingredients or cleaning products, go big. Get a cash ‘n’; carry sized dose of dried pasta or washing powder. You’ll never have to think about stocking up on such items for the rest of term.

4. Plan your nights out

Having a special night out to look forward to can really help motivate you during study time. It can also make it a lot easier to say “no” to a couple of beers down the local, because you’ve got a big one coming up and want to store up your cash and energies for that big blow-out.

5. Treat yourself (within reason)

It may sound counter-intuitive, but having regular, planned and well-paced rewards that interrupt your ‘cheap weeks’ and long study days can help keep you focused on your work and on budget throughout the term.

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