A student and their money are soon parted! Make sure you get the most out of your student loan by spending it correctly, and avoiding some of these common (and downright weird) ways to spend your student loan.
Textbooks (especially new ones)
This is really only a problem for first year students, who quickly learn their lesson before their second year. While more studious uni students will naturally want to buy all of the required textbooks for each course they are taking, many are far from necessary, and some are never even used at all.
The best practice is to wait until a week or two after lectures begin. You will normally know then which books you will actually need to buy. Alternatively, use one of the many copies the university library will stock. If you do need to purchase a copy, there will be many students the year above you who would gladly sell theirs.
If you’re living on, or close by to campus, a car is a difficult expense to justify. While it can be tempting to want to keep your car, for the sense of freedom, shopping trips, or just for when you’re feeling lazy, the extra expense of petrol, especially when you can get student rates for public transport, or even consider investing in a bike.
All of the tabloids got into a serious frenzy in 2014, when Katerina Christodoulou a university of Essex student spent £10,000 of student loan money getting liposuction and breast implants. While things may have worked out reasonably for the aspiring model (who got her name and photo in the tabloids), we can’t recommend it as a viable career plan! Especially now it’s been done.
Repaying Payday Loans (we’ll try not to sound biased!)
With students short £277 a month on average, a small percentage of students turn to payday loans when they are a few weeks from their next payment, but have already spent all of their last one. While these are an easy way to get smaller amounts of money, APR rates are often in the hundreds or even thousands.
The best thing to do is to plan ahead and prepare a budget that you can stick to (Check out our tips on how to prepare a simple student loan budget) and consider a part time job to make up the difference if needed. If this isn’t an option for you, then you could consider a longer term loan, without the enormous interest rates, which will let you plan your whole year, and not just month to month.
Paying Full price
While many students know about some of the more common discounts (like for public transport), there are many companies out there offering discounts to students. Even if you don’t know about a student discount being offered, it’s always worth a try to ask!
Not to be outdone by the headlines of students spending their money on cosmetic surgery, one tab writer declared that she bought a pug with her student loan. While we can’t deny it’s cute and cuddly, it’s not going to be too much help when it comes time to pay the bills (it will probably drive up your bills, actually!). Also, many student letting don’t allow pets, so you and that pet could end up out on the street together, which just seems mean to the dog!
If you’ve tried your best to spend your student loan wisely, but still find that your finances aren’t covering your expenses perhaps a Future Finance Loan is for you.