5 of the worst things to spend your student loan on
You've heard whisperings about it, one of the girls in your morning lecture said she'd already had it, you just know your life will we so much better once you've had it too.
Yes, there's nothing quite as exciting as the day you receive your student loan. It's a joyous occasion, all your favourite high street stores suddenly put on student nights just to celebrate you. What could be better than sipping on prosecco after-hours in Topshop, while perusing all of AW14's hottest trends?
Well, there is one thing, and that's not being so flat broke come January that your diet resembles that of an I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! contestant. So, before you go splashing out on a 'must-have' jacket, do a bit of budgeting and work out what you can really afford to spend.
You do not need that
Recently it was revealed unibaggage.com was launching Very Important Fresher (VIF) - Luxury Transport for Students. The new service offers students the chance to arrive at university in style, with the option to arrive by private jet, helicopter or McLaren P1, to name just a few.
Uni Baggage usually deals with shipping new students' belongings to their new halls, prices for that start at £16.99. Arrive by private jet however, and you'll be forking out as much as £25,000 for the privilege.
Listen to us when we say you definitely do not need to spend your money on a fancy entrance. Turn up in your folks' people carrier like everyone else, you'll make friends quicker.
What should you do?
The main thing to do is work out a budget, make sure you have enough for bills and rent and don't forget you may need to buy some books too. Whatever you have left after those essentials are paid for is down to you to manage. Fun though it may be to blow it all on drinks in the student union and some great shoes, you will need to eat, try not to forget that.
Visit your bank's website for more information on how to manage your money; many have student budgeting calculators to help you, like this one from NatWest.
Figuring out how to make the most of not very much is what university life is all about, here are some quick-fire top tips to budget as a student:
- Download discount apps to make sure you don't pay full price for anything ever again
- Stop being a clothes snob and start rummaging in charity shops
- Cheap cuts of meat like beef shin, brisket and oxtail are great fo slow-cooking
- Cook up a huge pot of stew with your cheap cuts and freeze in portions to make it last
- Don't buy brand new books, most university book stores sell second hand (make sure the copy is up-to-date though)
- Get a part-time job. Your student union will probably advertise local jobs so, get your CV in order
5 things you definitely shouldn't spend your money on
Some people just shouldn't be trusted with large sums of money. Here are 5 of the most bizarre things some friends of Diamond spent their student loans on:
- A harp - yes a real-life, full-sized harp. 'Maybe she was a music student', you're thinking. No, this lady studied medicine
- A leather jacket - grey and worn once. Just one of the reasons drinking and shopping is a bad plan
- Laser hair removal - her whole first year loan. We're not sure if the long-term savings on razors were worth it
- 10 hedonistic days - blowing through £750 in less than a fortnight. This lady loved to party (though probably didn't get to do much of it until the second term)
- An Xbox - it was a boy. Not hugely helpful when revising for finals but we're sure he'd come up with some spiel about it improving his cognitive function