Stretching your student loan

So, your student loan has just come in … and has promptly disappeared on your rent. How are you going to survive the arctic winter known as ‘Hilary term’, now that the first term’s ‘care packages’ from home have all been used up? Will it be necessary to wear the same pair of unwashed jeans for eight weeks? Never fear. After trawling the internet for advice, consulting numerous housekeeping magazines, and even speaking to my wise and frugal grandmother, I have compiled a comprehensive list to help you get through Hilary 2015.

1. Buy supermarket brand products. You may be living in the city of dreaming spires, but this is no time to be a snob. As a student, you are in a perpetual state of poverty. Accept it. The very bravest among you may even venture into the dangerous territory of own brand alcohol, but this is not always necessary. Cutting back on branded products saves you money to spend on the tipple of your choice.

2. Cook in bulk and FREEZE! If you’re living out this year, cook favourites like spaghetti bolognaise or curry in bulk for your housemates and freeze any leftovers for another time. Similarly, when you buy perishable foods, check if they can be frozen. This way you can cut costs and reduce waste.

3. Vouchers are your new best friends. Whether they are from the Fresher’s Fair stack or from websites like My Uni Days or Student Beans, you need never pay full price again. Always show your Bod card when shopping to see if there are discounts. If you’re a Union member look up the ‘Treasurer’s Treats’ to find out what offers you can get.

4. Read your JCR mail. Take advantage of events which have free drinks receptions, and begin your nights out here. You don’t need to have the slightest interest in them, they’ll be grateful somebody turned up. Alternatively, you could take part in a university survey, and try to convince yourself that you’re doing your part to help mankind.

5. Don’t spend money on Bops! Be creative with the clothes you currently own, and feel free to pin on signs to clarify what you’ve actually come as.

6. Only put the heating on at certain times of the day. Time your heating to come on just before you get up to prevent frostbite on the way to the shower, and to go off again when you leave the house. Then put it on again when you get back and switch it off before bed.

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to beg off your friends; someone will always have a hoard of food that looks suspiciously like road kill that they’ll be willing to offer you. If you’re extra nice, you may even earn yourself a free drink or a complimentary chip on a night out. But be prepared to return the favour one day … preferably when your next student loan comes in. And so the cycle goes on.

PHOTO/ Chris Fiel