Money management and debt advice

Effective money management can make sure you can cover your study and living costs while at university.  Budgeting and seeking advice with any debts is a great start to get on top of any money worries.

Budgeting tools

Budgeting is an essential tool to manage your money effectively and ensure you have enough funds to cover your living and study costs each month. Budgeting helps you to look at your income and outgoings and to identify any changes that can be made to make life a little easier. There are loads of great budgeting tools out there, here is just a few to get you started…

Banking

Student accounts are just bank accounts for people in higher education, that often offer additional benefits such as interest free overdrafts. Shop around to find the best offer for you.

What is credit?

While credit may seem like a good idea, it is debt and will cost you more in the long run. If you need to use credit, shop around carefully for the best deal and make sure you read the small print before signing anything. Credit agreements are legally binding and generally more expensive than overdrafts.

Payday loans may look appealing but you have to be aware of the often huge amount of interest you will be paying back. These loans can also affect your future credit rating which will be taken into account should you apply for a bank loan or mortgage.

If you use a credit card, you must keep up your monthly payments. Missed or late payments will mean paying a lot of interest and may affect your future credit rating. Credit information about you is kept on file. Other companies and banks can see it when you apply to them for cards, mortgages, loans and so on.

Credit explained - A useful independent website providing information on all types of credit

If you are having problems making monthly payments, it is important that you try to solve the problem as soon as possible. You can contact the lender and explain - they may reduce your payments for a while - or you can contact one of our Student Funding Advisers for advice. The problem won't go away if you ignore it. Asking for advice is the first step to managing the situation.

Nobody has to give you credit or a reason for refusing you, however, many lenders get information about your from credit reference agencies (CRAs). You have a right to ask a CRA for a copy of any information they have about you although there may be a small charge for this. You can get it by writing to each agency direct, or by downloading an application form from their website. If there are any mistakes on your entry you can have them corrected.

You can contact:

Avoiding debt

There are lots of things you can do to avoid getting into debt as a student.

  • Remember that the student loan has to last you 12 months except in your final year, so make sure you budget for the summer months
  • Make a budget – this is very important, especially if you have not had to do this before. Make a list of all your costs per month and work out how much you have to live on each month (e.g. student loan, bursary, part-time job). See if there's any shortfall and then look at ways to decrease your costs or increase your income.
  • Shop around for the best bank account – don’t be taken in by free gifts or other introductory gimmicks as these are not always linked to the best accounts.
  • Credit cards may seem like a good idea at the time, but the debt soon builds up – even with the best of intentions! If necessary, get only one, and keep up your monthly repayments.

Credit explained -  An independent website providing information on all types of credit

What to do if you get into debt

First of all, if you get into debt

  1. don’t ignore it
  2. don’t panic
  3. do something about it now

There are different ways you can get advice:

See the links below for further information:

Credit Union

A credit union is a financial co-operative which provides savings, loans and a range of services to its members. Credit unions are owned and controlled by its own members and not by external shareholders or investors, so the emphasis is always on providing the best service to its members.

All credit unions offer savings accounts and loans. Many offer a wide choice of additional products such as junior savings accounts, Christmas savings accounts, prepaid debit cards, insurance products, cash ISAs and in some cases even mortgages.