Hole in your pocket

By Alice Dent

It is a single moment that rivals no other. After weeks of scraping by consuming Lidl’s 18p instant noodles whilst blindly convincing yourself that you really can afford to go to YOLO again this week, those magic numbers come flooding into your bank account. Ding ding ding! Hello, old friend. However, as hard as it may seem, please try to resist the urge to be Cardiff’s answer to Richard Branson. There really is no need to buy a round of VK’s for every one of your friends. Read on to learn how to make your student loan last as long as possible and be quids in, even at the end of term.

Firstly, it is really important to work out what your student loan is going to be used for. Every student differs, and everyone will use their student loan for alternate means. Most people either use it to cover the cost of their rent, some decide that it will be used towards their living costs, and some cover both. The key is to clue yourself up on your own financial situation. Please don’t leave it to your mum to sort out. It really helps to put your loan in a separate bank account to your current account, so you will be less tempted to “accidentally spend it” on 42 handbags and a new puppy.

Crucially, make sure you sit down at the beginning of every instalment period and work out how much should roughly be leaving your account, per month, before that next glorious payday arrives. This will help in avoiding any nasty surprises. The chances are that your instalment will be arriving to you on its noble steed at the beginning of January, so take a look at the weeks ahead and calculate what you can afford in the meantime.

None of us are perfect – we all have our vices, whether a Topshop sale or the newest Xbox game. The key is to be stringent and honest with yourself. I understand the pain of walking to Lidl when Sainsbury’s on Woodville Road is just so conveniently placed, but the reality is that their prices are tripled, and your bank balance will certainly not thank you later on in the month. Scrap the £3.50 rip-off meal deals, and buy yourself a loaf of bread and some ham. If that is not inspirational advice, I do not know what is.

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