How can student money advice help?

Every student needs specialist student money advice. Student’s financial circumstances are different to everyone else – many costs are termly instead of monthly, which can be hard to keep track of, you often share costs with people who might let you down, and you might have to juggle a part time job with your studying to make ends meet.

Here’s our top 5 student money tips that will help you stay out of trouble.

  • Make a budget and check it every month;
  • Know what you can spend and keep track of what you spent;
  • Find ways to save money and do things cheaply;
  • Don’t let money worries stop you;
  • Seek specialist advice if something goes wrong.


How to make a student budget?

Every student needs to have a financial plan that adds up all their unavoidable costs, such as student accommodation and student travel, and shows you how much you have to spend each week on things you can control like food and going out. Here’s some student money tips on how to build a budget:

  • Work out what your income is each term
  • Add in any other money you get, from parents, savings, or employment
  • Research all the big one-off costs you’ll have over the year. For example:
    • Rent of student accommodation. Don’t forget your rent deposit
    • Bills like electricity, internet, phone
    • First term costs like books, subscriptions or equipment
    • Monthly costs like gym memberships or streaming services
    • Costs of other credit commitments you might have,
    • Travel costs, like a bus pass, train ticket, or car insurance and fuel
  • Make a spreadsheet with a column for each month, and a row for each income and costs. Put each income and expense in the month it occurs.
  • Leave an empty expense row that you can play with later to set a budget for each month
  • Subtract all the expenses from all your income for each month for the first month, to get your disposable income.
  • For subsequent months, take the ending figure from the last month, add any income and subtract any expenses.
  • Now play with your empty row to work out what you can afford to spend on food, drink and fun. If you put too much in the empty row, your disposable income will be negative.

Even with a budget and all the student money advice in the world, things won’t always go to plan. That’s when a Smart-Pig short term student loan might be able to help. Maybe you forgot about a big expense, something unexpected came up, or you just didn’t stick to your budget and left yourself stuck? Read How it Works to learn how we can help or Apply Now.

Here are some other places you can go to read more about making a student budget and get student money advice:

Where can you go when you’re having student money problems?

Smart-Pig’s student loans are not suitable for customers who are struggling to meet long term debt commitments or are in severe financial difficulty. Our short-term loans for students are supposed to make your life easier, not make an existing debt problem worse. If you are in severe financial difficulty, then using our service will likely make things more difficult for you as you are required to pay off your debt relatively quickly.

In this case keep calm and be organised. If you have a budget, update it to reflect what has gone wrong. If you don’t have a budget, it may be useful to make one. You can use your budget to see if a loan will help, or if you can make things better by reducing some costs or finding a way to earn some extra money.

If any of this applies to you, we recommend that you seek independent specialist advice. Here are some of the places you can find help. Good luck - we hope you get on top of things soon.

Your university may also be able to help with your finances by offering advice or support. Your university might have a hardship fund that can assist you.

How to check your credit report?

We recommend that you get yourself credit checked every now and again. Most services that let you do this update you of any changes every month.

There are three Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) in the UK. Every time take out a bank account, loan, credit card, or contract like a utility bill or mobile phone, the provider will share information on your payments every month with one or more CRAs. These CRAs combine this information with public data like the electoral roll, to create a file for you.

All the CRAs offer a free way to check your credit file online:

Checking your credit report can help you see yourself the way banks and other credit providers see you. It also lets you see if loan providers have reported information about you correctly.

Credit reports are not real time and it might take up to 90 days for a change, such as closing an account, to be reflected.

How can I check my credit score?

People often ask about their credit score. In reality, lenders, including Smart-Pig, don’t just use a score to decide whether to offer you credit or not. If a lender does use a score, it won’t be the only thing they take into account, and the score used won’t be the same one that you see on your credit report. Most lenders used customised score for their particular product or customers.

The credit score that you can see on your report varies between each CRA. The main way it is useful to you is to use any changes in the score you see if lenders think your situation has got better or worse. For example, if you see your credit score fall, it means something has happened on your report that you might be able to correct or dispute.

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