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Pile of bills sitting on a stair ;

How I’ll be handling my finances as a graduate

Alex looking out of a bus window
Alex Cramp (they/them)
Management & Modern Languages (Spanish pathway), Faculty of Arts & Humanities

29 May 2024

I’ve just finished university, and I feel over the moon about this accomplishment. However, among the celebration, I feel an incoming sense of panic setting in as the safety net of being a student slips away. It’s been a massive learning curve preparing for this change, so I thought I’d share some of my plans so other graduates feel less alone.

Before I start, it’s worth saying that I am a home student speaking from my own experience. I can’t give you advice as finances are personal, and there are many variables that go into making decisions around money.

Council tax

So, learning about council tax was… interesting to say the least.

You need to start paying council tax from the day after your official course end date. For me this is the end of June so it’s good that we’ve got a head start on this. The amount you pay depends on your council and what band your residence falls into, with band A being the cheapest and band H being the most expensive. I’ll be paying Southwark Council the rate for a Band B property. Check out the article When do I become liable to start paying Council Tax? to find out more. 

I live with two second year medical students, and they are still labelled as ‘disregarded persons’ (which is a bit savage if you ask me). This means that they don’t pay council tax and I get a 25% discount on the amount I pay. Further details will be sent to me in a letter from the council.

Our recent Student News article about navigating your housing situation after graduation has more handy tips about accommodation.

Loan Repayment

Repaying my student loan starts the April after I completed my course. I’m on a Plan 2 loan which means I’ll pay 9% on anything I earn above £25,725. No matter how much I’ve paid, the loan will probably be written off after 30 years, which is reassuring.


Having a student bank account has given me the safety net of an interest free overdraft for the past four years. Fortunately, a lot of banks offer graduate accounts. I’ve not set up a new account yet, but I’ll be using Save the Student to help me compare graduate accounts and find the best option.

I’ll also be using some handy money saving apps to help avoid going into my overdraft.


Finishing your studies might mean you don’t have a maintenance loan or bursary anymore, but it does mean that you can access more welfare benefits. I’ll be looking for a job from August and will be entitled to a Job Seekers Allowance. I could also be eligible for Universal Credit, depending on my circumstances after my contract has finished. I know there’s some stigma around benefits, but I’m never one to say no to free money, especially if I end up job hunting for a while.


I’m going to miss student discounts once I graduate. However, both Student Beans and Unidays have discount programmes for recent graduates. So I’ll still be able to treat myself to a little shopping spree whilst on a budget.


Finally, when things get tough, I know that there will be people out there to support me. The Money & Housing Advice team are available up to four months after your completion of studies. Both Student Services Online and Save the Student have a bunch of articles with tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your bank account. It’s comforting to know that you are not alone during this difficult transition period.