Top student tips for staying out of debt

Student life can be many things. Sometimes it’s exciting, and often it’s exhausting. But it’s almost always expensive. It’s no surprise then that many students leave their studies saddled with debt beyond their government loan.

At the time, picking up overdrafts, credit cards or taking out a loan can seem manageable - or more accurately a problem to deal with another day. But over time, these debts can become a millstone around the neck - one that only gets heavier as time goes on. (that’s us!) has conducted some research into this very subject, and the results are startling. We found that many people in the UK still have up to £5,000 debt from their student days. By the time they’re 50, many still have as much as £2,000 to pay off.

That’s quite the financial hangover, and one that has a knock-on effect on adult life. In our study, almost half of respondents (48%) said that they’d struggled to get a mortgage or financial agreement since graduating - partly because of the debts they accrued.

How do you avoid debt?

So if you’re a student, what can you do to avoid getting in this situation? Cutting your spending is a solution, but let’s be honest - that’s not necessarily practical. After all, FOMO was the top reason that students took on additional debt - more than 41% of people said they “needed to have the nicest/newest things”, and more than a third admitted that they “didn’t want to be the only one not having fun because of a lack of money”.

So the question really is, how do you make your money stretch further? One way is to [looks at the name of website] sell your mobile. Recycling any old handsets you have lying around is a quick and easy way to get some spending money.

Simply head over to our recycling page, and you can see how lucrative it can be.

On the subject of phones, it’s also useful to know when your mobile contract’s coming to an end. Once you’ve paid off your phone, it would be foolish to keep paying full whack, so don’t. Instead, switch to a good SIM-only deal - it’ll work out considerably cheaper. Just make sure you use a comparison site like CompareMyMobile to see the best deals.

Save the Student’s top tips

Those are our tips - mobile-focused, sure, but that’s what we do.

But what do the experts have to say? We asked Jake Butler of Save the Student!, and he offered up this sage advice:

1) Talk to your parents

The amount of maintenance loan you get is based on your parents’ income. The government don’t tell you this, but they expect your parents to make up the difference between the maximum loan available and what you actually get.

Google “parental contribution calculator” to work out how much they should be giving you, and then have a chat with them about it.

2) Talk to your university

Every university has excellent student services and/or a money advice centre that can help with problems like this. In some cases there’s even funding available to those in need.

At the very least they may be able to assist you in tracking down a part-time job, or even suggest some local schemes which could help you out.

3) Draw up an emergency budget

Embrace your inner Philip Hammond (or not) and create an emergency budget. Make a record of all your incomings and split it out into weeks until your next student loan instalment. Then work out your outgoings based on current spending and potential future costs.

It’s then down to you to decide which costs (if any) you can cut out.

4) Embrace the saving spirit

You can save money on pretty much anything. If you’re paying full price for something there’s usually a saving to be made.

Look out for hacks, tips and tricks. Shop around, share your Netflix subscription, use voucher code and cashback sites – these are just a handful of the countless ways you can save money every day.

5) Boost your bank balance

It’s easier to avoid debt and make your money stretch further if there’s more of it to stretch in the first place.

Do some research on ways to make money as a student. Sell your stuff, answer surveys online, do mystery shopping, even start a tutoring service.

There’s also been a rise in recent years of students starting their own mini businesses so why not give that a go, too? You could become an influencer, start a website, organise events or even start up as a freelancer.