How can I live my best student life without running out of money?

Starting out at university, you’ll want to grab every opportunity with both hands. But it can sometimes be a struggle to seize the moment and be responsible with your cash. You want to look good, go for nights out and live your best life, but also pay your bills on time and stay out of your overdraft. How can you strike the right balance?

We’ve spoken to Emma, a university student who works part-time. Emma is finding that the pressure to look good, eat well and maintain a busy social life is taking its toll on her bank account. She wants to know how she can manage her money and still make the most of her time at university, without going broke.

To give her some advice, we’ve enlisted money expert Iona Bain to share some words of wisdom.

Emma wants to look good, but also learn how to spend responsibly.
Emma asks for advice on managing her social spending and making her money go further.

Iona's top tips

  • Try to be the proactive planner in your group of friends. You could suggest things to do that don’t cost a lot, for example cooking or exercising together. You don’t have to spend loads of money to have a great time.

  • Take advantage of all of the student discount schemes available to you.

  • On nights out, try taking a set amount of cash with you rather than paying by card. This could help you to keep track of your spending better.

  • You could also try a pre-paid card that is linked to an app on your phone so you can see what you are spending in real time.

  • Always have a plan to get home so you don’t end up paying for expensive taxis.

  • Rather than buying cheap clothes that you will only wear once, consider investing a little more and buying something that you will wear again and again. Not only is this better for your wallet, it's also better for the environment.

So what did Emma make of Iona's advice?

"I didn’t realise how many simple tricks there are to saving money. I will most definitely be sharing this advice with my friends so that we can all put it to use! I really like the idea to spend a little bit more on clothing that will last longer too. Thanks Iona!"

How can I rein in my impulse spending?
How do I pay for university?