Student loans…either the worst or the best thing depending on your personal situation. For me personally I got the maximum loan and ended up with a rather large amount of money, plus my new and exciting overdraft. I have always worked before university, but at most I was making around 600 pounds a month, but my first week of uni and I had over two grand to play with and I was excited!!
Now this is some serious advice that most people will not listen to, I didn’t! But be careful with your money at university, be sensible. I got told this many of times by my parents and teachers but I was 18, in my first week of university and had a lot of money to play with, all sensible plans went out of the window as soon as I checked my bank balance. I went shopping ALL day, I consumed so many overpriced cocktails and joined the most ridiculously expensive gym (that I attended once).
I feel like it’s impossible to try be sensible with such a large amount of money in that situation. It’s a new lifestyle, being at university. The uni life style is basically attending your classes(hopefully), and then going out most nights and making a fool out of yourself, that’s what I did anyway. I think it’s inevitable to blow through a bit of money at the start of university, however my advice is to plan! Give yourself an allowance, with a bit of room to play with. The worst thing you can do is blow through it all and be left with a few pounds to feed you for the next few months. Trust me I know! I ate enough ASDA price noodles to feed a small village for a year!
Make sure you have fun, but limit yourself, organisation is key. Make a list of what is essential weekly, then see what you have left to spend on other things, but stick to it. It’s hard and a lot of willpower is needed, that new MAC lipstick can wait. If you stick to it then give yourself a reward at the end of the month, go buy that dress you have had your eye on while doing your window shopping to help you feed that shopping addiction. It’s vital you have something to work towards, saving money is no fun when you have no incentive so give yourself one. One method I used was every two pound coin I got I would put straight into a pot and then if I stuck to my budget all month I could take the jar and spend it on myself. If I didn’t stick to my budget then I could’t touch the jar, then it gave me more reason to stick to my budget next month because there will be even more money in my jar. The main thing in doing this is being strict with yourself. If you’re going on a night out then it is so easy to ‘borrow’ money from the jar to pay for your taxi. DON’T DO THIS. because then it will keep happening. Do not touch it for any reason. This is all worth it in the long run.
Basically, my advice is to have your mini blow out (not to my extent) in freshers week, go for the cocktails, buy some new make up. But as soon as freshers week calms down and you get into a routine, give yourself a budget, and stick by it. It will be worth it when you still have an overdraft available and get your little treats at the end of the month. Do not make my mistakes, I’m still working my way out of my overdraft two years later.