Almost all economists now agree that the economy is about to suffer a very serious period of decline due to soaring energy bills, the pound crashing and the financial markets tumbling across the world. 🌍
A recession is defined as:
While we’re not technically there yet (the Jubilee created lots of economic activity so “technically” we didn’t see 6 consecutive months of negative growth), we soon will be. 😣
There’s no longer any doubt. The only questions are how bad it will get and how long it will last. ⏳
There’s lots you can start doing now to survive (and maybe even thrive!) in a recession. Here are some tips.
Be intentional with your money
The Bank of England has warned the UK’s economy will keep shrinking for the next 12-15 months. 📉
With that in mind, here are some questions to consider:
How are you going to survive that time?
How will you make sure you’ve got enough money to cover all expenses?
What will you do if those you rely on for financial support get into financial trouble?
Budgeting is one of the first steps to help you manage your money intentionally. 🧮
A good budget will show you what’s coming in and what’s going out. So you can see what changes you need to make.
Our budget calculator can help with this.
Getting access to more money
It’s also important to be proactive in getting more money. 💰
This can be finding an extra source of income (here are five ways to make money).
Or it might be applying for some of the scholarships and bursaries out there.
Whatever your situation, there’s sure to be something for you. Take time to research and put effort into making high-quality applications. 🔍
The Scholarship Hub is a great place to start.
Reduce your spending
The biggest challenge of a recession is that resources you might have been able to count on previously to reduce its negative impact become less available.
For example, many more students are likely to apply for additional financial support in a recession. This means that lots of institutions simply won’t have the funds to meet increased demand.
To create some flexibility for yourself, look at where you can cut back on spending. ✂️
What if your bike gets stolen? 🚲 What if your laptop finally gives up? 💻
Ask yourself, “What is my budget in a worst-case scenario?”.
By doing this, you’ll give yourself wiggle room for any unexpected costs that come your way. 💆♀️
Food + energy
Different factors and events lead to recessions.
While we don’t yet know everything about the coming recession, there are two essentials that have gotten, and will continue to get, more expensive and cause difficulties:
All sorts of food (and household) stuff is significantly more expensive than a year ago. And this is a trend that’s likely to continue. 🥛
It’s super important to balance your health with your spending. So finding cost-effective ways to continue to eat well is really important.
Shop in bulk with friends/roommates (but be sure that you can consume it before it goes off!).
And, critically, learn how to cook. 👩🍳 Being able to turn any ingredients into healthy and satisfying meals is more important than ever!
Increased energy prices are really what has kicked off a big chunk of the economic problems the world is facing.
We’re hearing a lot about “heating the human not heating the house” (which speaks to wearing jumpers instead of turning on the heating) – but this isn’t always possible depending on your situation.
Other things you can do to keep your consumption under control:
Use microwaves instead of ovens ♨️
Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle and only do a single wash each week 🧺
Do laundry during off-peak times (check your electricity bill for what times of the day are cheapest!) 🌚
Turn appliances off (and off standby) 🔌
There’s a limit to what we can do when it comes to energy prices (prices are determined by international markets) and these actions are dwarfed by some of the wider factors beyond our control.
But these small changes can still go some way to helping you lessen some of the worst impacts of the rising cost of living. 🤞
Get your debt in order
When interest rates are rising 📈 (as they are at the moment), debt becomes even more expensive, meaning you end up being charged more to borrow money.
To stay financially well, try to only take on debt as a last resort and when you know you’re able to afford the repayments.
As mentioned before, finding an additional source of income or applying for funding can be good options to look at before taking on debt.
Alternatively, see if you can borrow money from a family member to avoid having to pay back a high-interest loan. 🏡
The lower the interest rate on debt, the better
If you have any debt, try to move it onto cards 💳 or loans with lower interest rates.
This means you’ll be charged less for borrowing money and will end up paying back less overall.
0% credit cards are widely available and something worth considering.
(Read this blog to learn why just making the minimum monthly repayment on your credit card each month isn’t enough.)
Beware of Buy Now Pay Later
Also, be wary of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services. ⚠️
By using BNPL and putting off payments, you might forget and think you have more money than you actually do. It’s best to only spend money on things you could afford to pay for right now. 💸
There’s lots more information about debt in our Debt pathway.
Ask for help
It’s noble and always good to work hard to figure things out on your own – but sometimes it’s best to ask for help. 🙏
You probably haven’t dealt with an economy like this before so it’s natural to feel uncertain. 🤷♀️
Never be afraid to ask for help for anything you’re struggling with to do with your money. Our platform can help a lot with this, with learning covering 80+ financial topics.
Watch your mental health
It’s also important to keep an eye on your mental health.
Studying brings all of its own stresses and concerns – facing financial difficulty and uncertainty on top of that can make things increasingly difficult and sometimes unbearable.
Speaking to support staff at your university/college can be useful in getting help and assistance for anything you might be struggling with.
Wait for your mind to catch up with your emotions
When things are uncertain, it can be easy to act emotionally out of fear and worry.
But emotional decisions usually aren’t best when it comes to money. 👎
As mentioned, if you’re unsure about anything, it’s great to ask for help.
An additional benefit of this is that others usually think more rationally about our situation than we do as they’re less emotionally invested in the outcome. 😌
Then, before making any big decisions, make sure you take a step back and try to think rationally about whether your choice is the best thing to do.
For example, seeing an asset market (e.g. the stock market) crash can be scary.
It would be tempting to sell your assets as quickly as possible to salvage some of your money.
But in most situations, this isn’t the best thing to do.
It’s usually better to wait it out if you can because the long-term trend of most asset markets is upwards. 📈
Be strategic and proactive about your job search
Graduate jobs are one of the first types of jobs to go during a recession. 🎓
Companies have less money than normal, so they need to make sure that any new hires have a positive impact on the company.
This means they prefer to play it safe and might prioritise someone with experience over a graduate.
It’s not impossible to get a graduate job – it just means that you’ll have to do more to stand out. ✨
If you don’t have much experience in the field you want to go into, try and get more while you’re still studying.
This shows employers you’re interested in that field and have made an active effort to further your learning. ✊
Especially during recessions, you’ll need to consider taking on unpaid work experience.
It’s definitely worth working for free now (in the short term) to give yourself a better chance of getting a great job in the future. 🌅
Growing your personal brand and online profile can really help you to stand out.
You should think about growing your personal brand as early as possible so that you’re well set up when it comes time to apply.
You can’t create a solid personal brand overnight so it’s key to think ahead. 🔮
If you’re not on LinkedIn, set up your profile as soon as you’ve finished reading this.
It’s by far one of the best platforms to use to connect with people working in the industry you want to work in.
Alternatively, it might be better to look for jobs in other fields in the short term.
You can still pursue your chosen career in the long term, but you might want to prioritise making money for now and doing something else for a year or two.
Be honest with yourself about your situation
We often hear about people who are too worried to open their bank account apps because they’re scared of what they’ll see.
Or hoping that their money lasts until the end of the year without a plan to make sure that happens. 😓
Money and finances can be worrying – but pretending that a problem doesn’t exist never made a problem go away! 🤷♀️
It’s much better to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and where you’re struggling.
This will leave you much better prepared to deal with the situation, find a way out of anything negative and be able to thrive with your finances. 💪
No financial problem is impossible to overcome if you give it time and effort.
Remember, ask for help if you need to – our platform is here if you need it.
As well as this recession guide, there’s lots of other help out there for you, in terms of guidance as well as money help in the form of scholarships, bursaries, grants and hardship funding!
Here’s a link to our webinar, where we looked in more detail at how to survive and thrive in this uncertain economy:
How to enjoy life without breaking the bank – Five low-cost night-in ideas to make sure you enjoy life while also looking after your financial wellbeing, including hosting your own Come Dine with Me.
4 ways to invest in yourself and improve your life – Investing in yourself is important throughout life. We’ve got four ways you can do this, with lots of resources to help you get started.
Risk pathway – We explore types of financial and emotional risk with practical tips to make smart financial decisions.
Building an emergency fund – An emergency fund can keep you covered financially, no matter what awaits you. We look at how much you should have and how to get started.