Who’s loan is it anyway? Your student loan is borrowed money so it’s not really yours, right? Student= skint?
You can’t go setting up standing orders to your church, you can’t sponsor a child, you can’t be outrageously generous with the money in your account... because it’s not really yours to spend.
Is that true?
I certainly held that view until my second year of Uni when my church student worker asked me the simple question: “who do you spend your loan on?” And when I replied with the obvious, “me” she then asked, “so who’s money is it to choose how to spend?”
I remember during my very first term of Uni, being pretty meticulous with my budgeting, keeping records of in-goings and out-goings. I felt like I had to be very responsible with the money entrusted to me to live on, because I’d been told how skint students are, so I thought I’d better be extra careful. You know, you can’t always opt-in for takeaway with the lads on a Friday night. Sometimes you have to wear that same top out again, rather than buy a new one.
As I worked-out my new lifestyle, I wasn’t giving to my new-found church in York and I had stopped giving regularly to my “home church” since moving on. After all, it wasn’t my money to give away any more, it was money to get me through uni... except it was money I was in charge of, and it definitely wasn’t all going on books for studying or basic food for survival. Something didn’t quite add up there.
It was in that innocent question, “who do you spend your loan on?” that I was challenged to sort out my attitude to my loan and set up regular giving to the local church that was so investing in and blessing me.
It was after that moment that I had a little epiphany about students and our finances: if we can get our hearts sorted on money and generosity and set up rhythms of giving now, when the money “isn’t even ours”, imagine what an impact that will have when we do eventually earn our own dosh in years to come?
In fact, I wonder whether students have an advantage when it comes to living with God’s attitude to money, because isn’t everything we have God’s in the first place anyway? Isn’t any money we get, from God, entrusted to us to use it well for his glory? Aren’t we all living off a loan, always?
The bible chats loads about money and about making sure our hearts aren’t controlled by our wealth, otherwise it’ll choke our faith. But I think when Jesus is challenged about paying taxes and he tells the people to “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22) it prompts us to ask of ourselves... who’s loan is it anyway?
So, I throw the same challenge I faced in second year out to you. How do you see your loan?
Do you think it’s unwise to set up giving away part of it every month? Are we really as skint as we say we are when we’re students?
I’d love to know what your opinion is and what you do with your loan, particularly as I’m aware some people really are struggling to make ends meet, whilst others maybe just think they are...