How to stay out of trouble

Budget carefully

Planning ahead won't make you immune to money trouble, but you'll be much more able to see it coming and avoid it. Build your budget carefully so you know how much you can spend on what - and you can see where you're at risk of overspending.

Try to think of everything you can, and be honest about how much you will spend.

Track your spending

Most people don't know how much they spend in a year on, say, food or clothes, which makes it much harder to manage your money. Try to record how much you spend - for example, in a dedicated notebook or on your phone. (There are plenty of smartphone apps that can help with this.)

The more you can track, the better you'll understand your finances. But even if you only do it for a couple of weeks, you'll learn a lot about where your money is going and how you can save it.

Get your student finance right

Simple mistakes can lead to delays in getting your student loan, or being paid the wrong amount. Check the amounts when you get your loan confirmation, and check again when the money's paid. Read up on these student finance mistakes to make sure it all goes smoothly.

Start early

The sooner you realize you're in trouble, the more easily you can do something about it.

  • Keep an eye on you bank balance, either online or by checking it whenever you get cash out. That way, you'll know you're running low before you run out of money.
  • If you have a serious problem, contact student services immediately - the longer you wait, the longer it'll take to get things sorted out.
  • If there's a problem with your loan, don't wait until you're low on money to sort it out - talk to student services and the Student Loans Company straight away. It will take time to resolve your problem, so do it before you're desperate.

Avoid borrowing

Borrowing money from the wrong places - like payday lenders, or on a credit card -  can get very expensive very quickly. If you absolutely need to borrow money, borrow as little as you can as cheaply as you can - for example, using an interest-free overdraft from your bank or a hardship loan from your university.