We know your student loan has just dropped and you’re eager to go crazy and buy everything on your wish list, right? Well, before you go all out with the online shopping, check out our top tips for making your student loan last and stretch that extra mile…

It’s always a good idea to get a plan in place before you conside buying expensive items such such as a new laptop for the next term (as tempting as it can be). Nobody wants to be left with a budget of £5 per week to live on until the next loan drops, so it’s worth thinking long term before blowing a large chunk of it early on.

To help you out, we’ve put together a cheat sheet on how to budget your loan for the rest of the year, so you can make it until the next instalment with some extra coins to spare!

So, grab a pen and paper (or the notes app in your phone) and let’s get budgeting together…

Figure out your income 💸

It’s a great idea to start by figuring out what you’re expected loan amount is, then begin your budgeting from there. It’s best to work this out monthly, as this usually coincides with any paydays from your part time job.

Total up all of your expected sources of income. For example:

  • Your student loan instalment (divide the total instalment amount by the number of months which it needs to last you to then work out your monthly budget)
  • Your typical income from your job(s)
  • Any monthly payments from parents or carers
  • Expected additional income from side-hustles, such as selling clothes or promoting clubs

Once you’ve established your initial monthly income amount, it sets the expectations on what’s affordable within your budget per month.

TIP: It’s always best to underestimate your income where possible, to allow for the worst-case scenario. This allows for flexibility if anything goes wrong and avoids you being short of any extra cash.

The BIG expenses 😳

If you’re living in a student home, you’ll have some larger expenses to consider before treating yourself. By preparing for these expenses, you’ll be better organised when you’re due to make these payments.

Your rent is likely to be your biggest expense, with utilities and bills coming in at a close second. It’s important to prioritise these payments, as they usually have unfortunate repercussions if payments are either missed or delayed, such as additional fees or interest. These payments could include:

  • Rent
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • TV License.

It’s a good idea to calculate how much it’s going to cost you per month for these regular expenses and ensure you’ve set aside that money each for ready for when it’s due.

TIP: If you’re looking for a hassle-free way of paying your bills and utilities, use @splitthebills, this means you’ll only have one fixed payment coming out every month – with no nasty price increases in the Winter! You’ll also not have to worry about setting up or cancelling individual contracts as we manage everything for you!

Organise your direct debits 📝

We bet you have a Netflix subscription. How about Spotify? Direct debits like these can sneak up on your, especially if they’re in small payments and are scattered throughout the year. It’s important to keep on top of these payments so you won’t face any surprise ‘card-declines’ when it’s your round at the pub.

Have a look at your bank account from the last few months and pay attention to all the direct debits you’ve set up, or any regular payments you know you need to make. These could include:

  • Subscription services (such as Amazon or HelloFresh)
  • Phone bills
  • Gym memberships
  • Car payments

These small payments add up without you even realising. While you’re here, see if there’s any way you could reduce those direct debits. Could you share a Netflix account with someone? Or use Spotify Family to pay less each month? Can you change your phone plan? Shop around to double check you’re getting the best deals for what you actually need, as sometimes you’ll be surprised at some of the cheaper alternatives.

TIP: See if you can arrange for your direct debits to all come out on the same day every month so you know exactly what is coming out of your bank and when. You’ll then know the exact amount you have left to work with each month.

Plan your monthly expenses 💰

After accounting for your big expenses and direct debits, you should now know how much you’ve got left over each month for other essentials: groceries, leisure and (obviously) the pub. This part of your budget is much more flexible, as it’s up to you how much you’d like to spend and where.

 Calculate your budget by working out your estimated weekly expense for:

  • Groceries (food, toiletries and maybe a cheeky weekly takeout)
  • Transport (petrol, train tickets home, taxis after those spontaneous nights out)
  • Laundry services (if you don’t have your own washing machine)
  • Uni books, reading materials, printing credits etc

We recommend setting aside a certain amount each week for these necessities. Setting this money aside means that there’s less chance of it negatively impacting you if you did accidentally overspend one month. If you fail to keep track of your money, you’re more likely to go off-plan and could left eating toast for most meals right before payday, not ideal.

It’s best to go easy on yourself and not beat yourself up too much for one unnecessary splurge, everyone’s allowed a treat. Just ensure you’re making the correct adjustments week on week.

Treat yourself! 🛍

Yes, that’s right, treat yourself. Now that you’ve budgeted for the next few months, it’s worth spending a little cash with some of what you have left over. After all, you’ve not been waiting weeks for your next student loan instalment to NOT spend any of it on yourself, have you?

Every so often you shouldn’t feel bad about getting that new pair of trainers you’ve been eyeing up, or that new Xbox game you’ve been eager to play! Now you know you can afford it; it’ll make your whole month run a lot smoother. Just try not to break the bank straight away, and work with what you have.

Our TOP TIPS of budgeting! ⭐️

So, now you should be a student loan budgeting expert! But, if you still need some extra pointers, here’s our quick and easy top budgeting tips to make your student loan last longer:

  • Use a separate bank account for your daily spendings: Get an online bank account such as Monzo or Starling, this makes it a lot easier to track your day-to-day spending. These accounts take a mere 5 minutes to sign up online, so it’s super easy to get the ball rolling. They take any money you spend out of your bank account immediately, so you’re not wating around for your available balance to update (which we all know is so annoying!). Plus, they come with their own inhouse budgeting options, which show you where you’re spending the most money.
  • Pay yourself weekly (every Sunday, transfer yourself your set spending for that week). This could be by taking your budget in cash or transferring it to a different bank account. By working on a week-by-week basis, you’re more likely to stick to your budget, and you won’t need to worry about being broke at the end of each month. Plus, it makes things a whole lot easier knowing that you’re on track!
  • Utilise discounts – You’re a student, use those discounts! UCAS recommend looking around for what you can get for free, such as discounted rail travel and even free prescriptions. Make sure you always have a student card on you, and it’s worth shopping at stores which offer major discounts. Even if some stores don’t offer discount, what’s the harm in trying?
  • Set yourself some goals – Save the Student recommend setting some goals with your money. If you’re left short on cash at the end of your budget, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, figure out what went well and what you need to focus more on next month. Whether it’s putting £20 a week into savings or cutting back takeaways (we’re sorry). Setting goals can soon lead to big changes within your bank account.


That’s it! Now you’re ready to get budgeting. Make sure you keep coming back to your budget every few weeks and adjust it based on how things are going. The best way to make sure your student loan will last is to keep a close eye on your spending, so the chances are that if you’ve got this far, your loan will stick around for a lot longer than usual.

Split The Bills is not a financial advisor. This should not be considered as professional financial advice. Do your own research & consult a professional financial advisor before making any financial decisions!

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