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How to avoid falling into debt throughout higher education

Unfortunately, the vast majority of students will fall into some level of debt after going through higher education. In fact, government forecasts predict that by the mid-2040s, students across the UK will owe an accumulated £460 billion in outstanding loans. Although this outlook appears bleak, there are plenty of things individuals can do to help minimise the impact this debt can have on their finances, both in the short and long term. Here are our three top tips to help you manage your money at university.

Use your loan responsibly

Most students across the UK will receive a loan in instalments during their time at university. While tuition fees are covered at a standard rate, the total amount students receive through their Maintenance Loan and any grants will vary depending on the level of their household income and where they live.

This money will be paid directly into your bank account at the start of each semester, and with this lump sum sitting in your account, it can be tempting to engage in non-essential spending. However, it’s important to remember that this money is primarily there to cover basic living expenses such as rent and groceries. Using your loans irresponsibly could mean you struggle to cover the costs of living away from home and might affect your financial health for years to come.

To use your student finance responsibly, make sure you know when you can expect to receive the payments, and account for the biggest and most important expenses first. Remember to also make the most of student discounts to help your money go further when spending on shopping, university supplies and socialising.

Explore student employment opportunities

Unfortunately, there aren’t really any shortcuts to staying on top of your finances during your time at university – often it takes a little extra hard work. If you have the time and the means to look for a part-time role alongside your studies, this is an excellent way to top up your income each month and take some of the pressure off of managing your money at university.

Whether you work on campus or in the local community, there will always be plenty of opportunities available in university towns and cities. With a bit of research, you’re sure to find a role that’s right for you.

Harriet University Finances

Get into good habits

When living at home, although you may already have your own account, you won’t have as many financial obligations to manage. As you move out and start to take control of your money, it’s important to develop discipline and good financial habits to avoid falling too far into debt. Learning these skills and techniques for money management will stand you in good stead throughout your studies and for the rest of your life.

Firstly, think about how you can save and budget your money effectively. There are lots of different ways to do this and methods to try, so experiment with different strategies to find one that works for you.

You may also look to start building your credit score whilst at university. Student credit cards typically have lower limits and higher interest rates which makes it easier for young people to gain approval from lenders. Building your credit history from a young age will make it easier to qualify for loans and credit further down the line, while also helping you to effectively manage debt during your time as a student.

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Harriet enjoys going on hikes and connecting with nature with her two Labradors. Though she enjoys being vegan, she is adventurous and enjoys trying out new food. Skilled in PR, creative media, and content strategies to assist brands and companies in developing and enhancing their online presence. Primary competency: - Market and audience insight - Campaign planning and strategy - Digital initiatives that result in 'earned' media attention that is organic.

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