Best student finance tips: Make your student loan go further

Student living costs can add up. Here are our expert tips to making your loan go further.

With a few minor changes, you can save on everything from food to travel – and make a bit of cash, too. Here are our top 10 money-saving tips and tricks for students.

Plan ahead

Make sure you budget. If you want to stretch your student loan further, budgeting is imperative. As a general rule, it makes sense to count your income as your student loan, and then treat any grant, cash from parents or part-time work as disposable income, which should help your loan go further.

Shop smart

Are you a shopaholic? Student-discount sites like Student Beans and UNiDAYS are free to use and give students a range of ongoing shopping discounts, whether you’re shopping online or in stores. You’ll need an active university email address to sign up but once you have, say hello to money-saving mania from sites like ASOS, Zizzi, Prezzo, Urban Outfitters, IWOOT, Domino’s… you get the picture. Find out more about student discounts in our guide.

Find the cheapest gas and electricity

If you aren’t living in halls, it’s likely you’ll have to pay for gas and electricity on top of rent. Don’t fret though, you can make hefty savings simply by switching your provider. When renting, you’re free to switch if you pay the energy company directly (not if your bills are included in your rental), but be sure to watch out for exit fees. Suppliers can charge exit fees if you leave before your contract term, which tends to be typically about £30 per fuel. We can help you to compare a wide range of energy providers.

Avoid paying the TV licence fee legally

Anyone who uses BBC iPlayer – even just for catch-up TV – and anyone watching or recording live TV need to be covered by a TV licence. However, there’s a loophole specifically for students that allows some to avoid this. Under the rules, you don’t technically need a TV licence if your parents have one, you live with them outside term time, and you only watch TV on a device that isn’t plugged into an aerial or a mains socket when you’re at uni.

Buy second-hand books

When you get your book list for the coming term, you may find some that are going to break the bank. The university library is likely to have some of them, but in the first few weeks of term, they’re usually in high demand. Your next port of call should be the local library to see if it has a copy. Alternatively, check Amazon and eBay for used books. They may look a little worn, but it’s better than paying through the nose for something you’ll only read for a term… right?

Split train tickets

Regularly visiting friends or home on the train? You could be saving more money than you realise! Instead of buying tickets for the whole journey every time, check whether buying separate single tickets isn’t any more expensive. In some cases, this slashes the price – even though you’re on exactly the same train! It’s perfectly allowed within the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, and has been confirmed by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). The only rule is that the train must call at the stations you buy tickets for.

Best before food

You might be binning a lot of food unnecessarily if you don’t know the difference between “use by” dates and “best before”. Foods with a “best before” date are letting you know when the food will be best in quality, but this doesn’t mean you can’t eat it once the date has passed – it’s perfectly fine to eat until after the ‘”use by” date. Plus, there are student discounts on food, to help you get your pizza for less.

Get paid to fill out surveys

It’s possible to earn hundreds of pounds a year by taking part in online surveys, which are often short enough to fill in during breaks between those dreaded early-morning lectures. All you have to do is sign up, wait for survey alerts to land in your inbox, then make your way through the questions. Survey sites then add the cash or other rewards to your account.

Part-time job

While studying is obviously a priority, many students will get themselves a job, too. This can be particularly useful if you find that you don’t have enough cash. Babysitting, campus tours, a bar, supermarkets and the library are all handy places to start, but it can pay to think beyond those, too. Some earn from working as a TV extra or even taking notes in lectures for students who are unable to do so.

Get a railcard

Consider a 16-25 Railcard if you find yourself spending over £90 on trains during the year. These can cut a third off off-peak train tickets and tube fares. Cards can be bought from the Railcard website for £30 a year or £70 for three years. You won’t regret it.

Stretch your student loan even further when using our verified student discount codes and promotions

Store Discount
JD Sports JD Sports
10% student discount
I Saw It First I Saw It First
50% sale + 10% student discount
Miss Selfridge Miss Selfridge
10% student discount
Bondara Bondara
20% student discount
Fat Face Fat Face
10% student discount
Oliver Bonas Oliver Bonas
10% student discount
Topman Topman
25% student discount
Pink Boutique Pink Boutique
5% student discount
minicabit minicabit
5% student discount
STA Travel STA Travel
Get 5% off your worldwide student discount card ISIC
MissPap MissPap
Students: 55% off
PrettyLittleThing PrettyLittleThing
Students get 20% off at PLT
Missguided Missguided
Up to 70% off sitewide + 10% Student Discount
Superdry Superdry
10% student discount!
Glossybox Glossybox
Students get 30% off the first box
boohooMAN boohooMAN
40% student discount
Nasty Gal Nasty Gal
Students: 80% discount + £5.99 NGVIP delivery
10% student discount
Fragrance Direct Fragrance Direct
10% student discount
Footasylum Footasylum
10% student discount
Schuh Schuh
10% student discount
New Look New Look
10% student discount
Little Mistress Little Mistress
15% student discount
Public Desire Public Desire
20% Student Discount
Students get extra 10% off bookings!
Buyagift Buyagift
15% student discount
Moonpig Moonpig
Students get 10% off at Moonpig
10% student discount
Dorothy Perkins Dorothy Perkins
10% student discount
FlixBus FlixBus
10% Student Discount in the FlixBus App
Europcar Europcar
Students get up to 15% of at Europcar
Boots UK Boots UK
10% student discount at Boots
Acer Acer
15% student discount
Graze Graze
15% student discount
boohooMAN boohooMAN
Free Premier delivery for all students!
Urban Outfitters Urban Outfitters
Limited time only!
25% student discount
Hobbycraft Hobbycraft
10% Student Discount
Tiqets Tiqets
Students get an extra 7% discount
Lovehoney Lovehoney
25% student discount!
Amazon Amazon
Free 6 months of Prime for students

Frequently asked questions

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site