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How to make your student loan last that extra few weeks

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If you spent your summer holiday getting paid the minimum wage for a mundane job, it will probably feel like Christmas morning when first instalment of your student loan comes through.

But steady on, that money will actually have to go towards a set of equally mundane bills first.

Here are a few pointers on ways to make the loan last that little bit longer, but without missing out on the joys of being at university.

Because, after all, it is supposed to be fun too.


University is all about the fun, yet spending most nights out and about can really cut into your budget, try these tips to save some cash:

• Dining out in style – take a look at the great selection of websites that let you dine out for next to nothing. Some offer deals like 50 per cent off the bill or free courses etc. Team up with friends and experience food from around the world for up to half the price.
• Tasty takeaways – if you don’t fancy dressing up and dining out, looking up vouchers online is also a great way to make sure that you can have money off coupons on that pizza delivery.
• Drink up – we all like a tipple so if you don’t want to splash out in the bar then just order online instead. The major supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco offer great online deals – so just stock up on cider, host your own shindig and get it delivered straight to the door.
• Pot-luck party – gather your fellow scholars together and dig into a splendid feast by asking all guests to bring a dish. Ensure to give them a little guidance first otherwise you could end up with twenty casseroles and nothing for pud!
• The great outdoors – If you don’t mind donning your cossie when it is bitterly cold, sign up to The Outdoor Swimming Society and cut out the chlorine. Sign up online, team up with other daring lake-lovers and dive in to swimming hot… or should we say cold spots all over the country. Best thing of all? It’s totally free!
• Movie night – we all love relaxing in front of a good film but the price of splashing out on cinema tickets plus popcorn can leave you reaching for the remote instead. But remember you can get 2 for 1 deals for cinema tickets or even grab a free trial at Lovefilm and get them delivered for free.


Student essentials

If you want a pad with furniture you can actually sit/sleep on, sites like have plenty of home & garden vouchers for you to peruse including major merchants such as Furniture Village, Habitat and Marks and Spencer.

Alternatively, check out sites such as Gumtree and Freecycle for a variety of sofas, beds, tables and more.

These are often flogged at bargain prices and if you’re lucky you may even get them for free as long as you have transport to collect.

Don’t forget to factor this expenditure into the budget and be sure to go and have a look at them in person first, as photos can often be misleading.


Although it’s easy to spend your student loan in the bar, it’s actually meant to pay for all those essential learning tools such as books, stationary and even a pair of geek-chic specs. But follow these tips to grab the cheapest studying supplies:

• Head outside campus and sign up to your local library. You are much more likely to get what you need and can avoid the masses.
• Check out, Gumtree and Amazon for some well-thumbed copies of whatever book you require.
• Check online and use our books, music, games and movies vouchers to shop at retailers such as Waterstone’s, AbeBooks and WHSmith. Team up with fellow scholars and arrange group study sessions for a great saving and some lively discussions.
• Unless you want to be queuing for hours in the IT room you’ll probably need a laptop to tap out those essays on. Keep an eye out for voucher codes online for money off on major brands such as Dell, Comet and PC World. Stay on the ball and you might be accessing great savings en-route to that top grade.

This article first ran on in October 2012.

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