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Sorting out your budget needs to be your first step. Your student loan is paid into your bank account in three instalments at the start of each term, so it might seem like you've loads of cash to splash in freshers' week – but you haven't. That money needs to last the whole term, so spend it wisely.

Knowing how much income you'll have is essential – without this, your budget will be nonsense. You'll need to work out how much cash you have coming in, including your student loan, any grants, any cash from parents, and any work income you might have.

Equally, you'll need an idea of how much money will be going out, including rent, bills, food, socialising, and course materials.

Once you've got these, subtract your outgoings from your incomings, and divide by the number of weeks you'll be at uni, to see how much you have to live off each month. DON'T spend more than this! For more on how to be the boss of your budget, see MoneySavingExpert’s budget planner

Use the money mantras...

Not sure whether to fork out for something at uni? Use the money mantras! Which mantra works for you will depend on whether you're already skint or not.

Skint: Ask yourself:

  • do I need it?
  • can I afford it?
  • is it cheaper elsewhere?

Not skint: Ask yourself:

  • will I use it?
  • is it worth it?
  • is it cheaper elsewhere?

Use the demotivator tool

For a fun way to try to save money, you could use MoneySavingExpert’s demotivator tool. You might think you can't survive without your skinny, double shot, extra hot, no foam, extra large latte every day on the way to lectures – but regular spends like that can soon rack up. Use the tool to see how much these habits are costing you. You could also take a look at their student checklist for more tips on how to stretch your student loan.