01 December 2017

Help! I've spent a term's worth of money in my first month

It happens. With so many events to go to, activities to try and new friends to hang out with, it's all too easy to get carried away with your spending in the first few weeks of uni.

It’s been tough and it’s not a situation you want to repeat. But you can't turn back the clock. So what do you do for now?

Start by making a plan to keep you going until your next loan or grant instalment arrives. Here are five ideas that can help – and train you to become more financially savvy in future.

Rein in your social life

If you spent many evenings over the last few weeks eating out, propping up the bar and clubbing, it's time to stop until your bank balance looks healthier.

When your next loan or grant instalment arrives, try to reduce expensive nights out to once or twice a week, otherwise you'll be back in the same situation again next term. Friends who are also feeling the pinch will likely be relieved at the idea of just hanging out at home rather than another night out on the town.

Get a part-time job

Earning while you learn is the easiest way to minimise your student debt and take control of your finances. A job in a shop, waiting tables at a restaurant, babysitting or tutoring — there are dozens of part-time work opportunities that can fit around your study schedule.

The  (This link will open in a new window)Student Job website lists vacancies across the UK. You might also see job adverts on your college noticeboard. And if there's a place you like the idea of working at, there's nothing to stop you just going in and asking.

Get paid for your opinions

You can earn a fair bit of pocket money from answering surveys online or taking part in market research. You can also get paid to shop by becoming a mystery shopper. An online search will throw up a list of companies you can join.

Be a serious bargain hunter

From now on, spend wisely. Look out for cheap student club nights, two-for-one meal vouchers and online discount codes. If your student union is affiliated to the  (This link will open in a new window)National Union of Students you can apply for an NUS card, which gives you discounts at shops, restaurants and entertainment venues nationwide.

Keep an eye on the reduced counter at the supermarket and opt for cheaper own-label foods. Make a bee line for the sale rail in clothes shops and shop around for the best deal on your mobile and broadband tariffs. Cancel subscriptions for film channels, magazines or the gym that you could really do without. A daily jog around the park will do you more good than half an hour on a running machine.

If you have a Nationwide Visa debit or credit card you can also register for our Simply Rewards scheme to get cashback rewards when you spend at selected retailers. All offers are subject to terms and conditions. 

As a last resort, dip into your student overdraft

If you're down to your last pennies and help from parents is not an option, borrowing money from your bank via an overdraft is one way to get your hands on some short-term cash.

Most student bank accounts offer overdraft facilities. The Nationwide FlexStudent current account is the UK's only fee-free student current account. As long as you pay in at least £500 per term, it offers an overdraft facility of up to £1,000 in your first year, rising to £2,000 in your second year and £3,000 in your third year for courses of three years or more. No fees or interest will be charged on what you borrow.

To open a FlexStudent current account you must be aged 18 years or over; accepted onto a full-time UCAS course of 2 years or longer at a UK institution; apply within 2 months* either side of your course start date and you don't already have a student account with another provider (or agree to transfer it to Nationwide).

Remember though, going overdrawn adds to the debt you will have to pay back, this useful safety blanket should only be used when in dire need.

To help you to keep an eye on your money you can download our Banking app to check your balance on the go. As well as the app, Nationwide’s FlexStudent account offers a free text alert service that lets you know when your balance is getting dangerously low.

Need more help?

If your finances are feeling out of control and you can't keep your overdraft in check, ask for help. Try talking to your university student finance advisor or counselling service; a Nationwide Building Society advisor; or head down to your local  (This link will open in a new window)Citizens Advice centre.

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*If you’re already a Nationwide member, of 12+ months, with a mortgage, current or savings account with us, you can apply up to 18 months after your course starts. If you’re applying more than 2 months after your course start date, you’ll need to apply in branch or over the phone.

To use our Banking app, you'll need to be registered for Internet Banking and your device must be compatible, running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or higher, or Apple iOS 8 or higher. Available on selected devices only. Apple is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. Android and GooglePlay are trademarks of Google Inc.

Simply Rewards is brought to you by Visa Europe Services Inc in partnership with Nationwide in the UK. See Visa's privacy policy – your information isn’t shared with any third parties outside of your transactions. For further information, please check the help menu on the Simply Rewards website (This link will open in a new window).

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