Lesser-known facts could be draining your student loan


Lesser-known facts and penalties could be actively draining student resources.  Price comparison experts have researched potential areas students are leaking their loans.

In a recent survey by, nearly three quarters of students (71%) said they were shocked at how expensive university was, with a third (30%) needing to use a student loan.

62% said their student loan just wasn’t going as far this year due to the cost-of-living crisis with their biggest money saving hacks ranked as setting a budget (28%), more nights in than out (18%) and shopping around (16%).**

As university applications hit a record high for full-time undergraduate places***, students need new ways to find savings and raise funds to help cope with the surging financial pressure. has created a list of top 10 ways students can find savings they didn’t know they had and help avoid leaking funds.

  1. Check how competitive your suppliers are – gas, electricity, phone, internet, always negotiate to find better savings and be prepared to switch to find the best bargain.
  1. Avoid modifications to your car to help keep car insurance premiums to a minimum, park on a private driveway at night and even try a telematics product, the average telematics premium for 2023 was £75 cheaper for young drivers than a standard car insurance policy.****
  2. Check your home for energy waste – applying draft excluders, window seals, LED bulbs and turning down heating in unused rooms – even little changes can make a big difference to your energy bills in the long run.
  3. Watch out for vampire devices left on standby, turning electrical devices off completely could result in annual savings of approximately £147 a year.*****
  4. Avoid unusual penalties on the road which could lead to fines such as ‘idling’ – leaving the car running while stopped, overloading the car and driving with inappropriate clothing such as high heels, flip flops or outfits that restrict or distract from your driving. 
  5. Check you’re not overpaying on insurance, some home insurance policies cover items for home and abroad so you may not need additional gadget insurance while at university if you’re covered under your family home policy. 
  6. It is important however to have renters’ insurance if you’re living out of home, which can even include tenants’ liability cover to protect the landlords fixtures and fittings from accidental damage – which should help keep your security deposit intact. 
  7. Utilise all discount vouchers, reward schemes and members only savings you can – and apply for bursaries and support funds where possible.
  8. Look to make extra cash by selling your unused items and clothes online, there are lots of handy apps that help you repurpose items easily, just be careful not to go over the £1000 trading allowance or you have to declare it to the HMRC.
  1. Don’t just auto-renew insurance policies – use price comparison websites to shop around and check the policy details, you may be overpaying for extras you don’t need.

Ian Wilson, Managing Director at Northern Ireland’s largest price comparison site, , said: “It’s never been more difficult for people to save, especially students, as the cost-of-living pressure means their student loan just isn’t going as far as it used to.

“A recent CompareNI survey showed just how worried students are about their finances with 54% citing it as their biggest pressure, and 62% reporting their student loan just won’t cover as much this year.

“Students claimed their biggest money saving hacks were setting a budget, more nights in and shopping around, so we’ve compiled a list of other suggestions to help students find savings and cut waste – to try and stretch their student loans as much as possible and avoid wasted spend.

“We’re also continuing our student scholarship project to support students with a bursary to help ease study costs, or even course materials and living expenses – free to enter, for all higher education students in the UK.”  

To show support for students across the UK, the student scholarship is now in its fourth year, offering two students a £1000 bursary each plus the opportunity for industry related work experience, entries close 30 April 2024, full details of how to apply are available here. One winner will be chosen from Northern Ireland and one will be chosen from Great Britain. 


*‘s survey findings are based on a randomised survey of 500 students across Northern Ireland, which represents a margin of error of approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level, from August 2023, created and compiled by

**‘s survey findings are based on a randomised survey of 100 students across the UK, which represents a margin of error of approximately 10% at a 95% confidence level, in January 2024, created and compiled by

Student Survey – Jan 2024 
What have been your biggest money saving hacks?%
Setting a budget28.20%
More nights in than out18.10%
Shopping around15.40%
Using second hand stores14.90%
Selling what you don’t need online14.40%
Buying in bulk5.30%
Not applicable 3.70%

***University applications reaching record highs in 2020, 2021 and 2022 – with 767,000 applications for full-time undergraduate places through UCAS in 2022, a new record level.

****UK Car Insurance premium averages

Age group 18-24NO telematicsYES telematics

These findings are based on average calculations – using a sample of 100,000 policies – premium prices will vary depending on the individual circumstances of the policyholder in question.


This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.