First, what does the ‘cost of living crisis’ actually mean?
The term ‘the cost of living crisis’ has been bouncing around for a while now, but what does it really mean? Since Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has been headed into economic downfall. Inflation is at its highest, which has made it harder for the everyday person to keep up with the rising cost of living.
Right now, basic necessities like groceries, rent, transport, and healthcare are getting more and more difficult to afford. It’s no wonder we’re feeling anxious about paying bills. 😰
If you want to read more about how the cost of living crisis started, check out these articles:
- The Guardian: In numbers: what is fuelling Britain’s cost of living crisis?
Economics help: Causes of the cost of living crisis explained
What’s the impact of the cost of living crisis on my life as a student?
Do you feel constantly anxious about paying rent on time? Do you struggle to fall asleep because you’re thinking about money? Maybe you find yourself skipping classes because you feel overwhelmed.
Of course, the impact of the cost of living crisis goes beyond getting annoyed about having to pay £7.50 for a pint instead of £6.50 — and it has a domino-like effect on everything we do.
Let’s take a look at how the cost of living crisis has impacted Annie, an 18-year-old student pursuing her Economics degree in London.
Annie comes from a modest background. She relies on part-time work to help with her expenses. But because of the cost of living crisis, she finds herself stressed and struggling to make ends meet.
The skyrocketing rent prices in London have made it hard for her to afford decent accommodation near her university. So, she has to settle for a cramped flat far from campus, which adds hours to her daily commute — being sardined on the tube during the height of summer heat is never fun. The high cost of transport then eats into her budget, leaving her with less money for textbooks, supplies, and other academic necessities. She’s had to start turning down social events too.
What’s more, the rising cost of groceries and eating out options means Annie has to budget her meals. She finds she has to choose cheaper, less nutritious food options to stretch her limited funds. This compromises her health and energy levels, making it harder for her to focus on her studies.
Overall, the cost of living crisis has had a significant financial strain on Annie as a student. It limits her access to basic necessities, affects her physical and mental well-being, and hinders her overall academic and personal growth.
Annie’s experience isn’t unique.
So, what are some ways to make things a bit easier during the cost of living crisis?
Here are five ways to navigate the cost of living crisis as a student:
1. Talk to someone 🧑🤝🧑
Money struggles can be isolating, but you don’t have to do it alone. It can be easy to feel like you’re on your own, or as though everyone else has it all together. But they don’t.
It’s always worth speaking to your university or college’s support department as a first step if you need some support.
Outside of friends, family and other students, you can also talk to or find useful resources from:
StepChange - the UK’s leading debt charity
It can be especially hard to talk about money when times are tough. But it’s also often during these times when we most need the support of others. The more openly you talk about money, often, the less alone you’ll feel. And who knows, someone might have advice to share for how they’re dealing with the crisis that can help too.
2. Budgeting 💰
Budgeting is an easy way to know what we can spend each month and see where we can cut back to make our money last longer. Budgeting doesn’t mean sacrificing — in fact, it’s more about money planning. This means you know how much you have to spend on that holiday or night out, guilt-free.
Use a budgeting planner to help calculate expenses and income.
3. Scholarships & funding 💸
Many students are not aware of the financial assistance that’s available through their universities. In fact, there are 20 million pounds worth of scholarships in the UK alone. Scholarships are there to help lift some of the financial weight off our backs.
Especially during a cost of living crisis, you should take advantage of all the financial support that are available.
4. Find part-time or freelance work 💼
While student life is busy as it is, taking on some part-time or freelance work can improve the quality of our lives with just a few extra hours. Some universities offer part-time jobs on-campus, such as working at the student library or campus bar.
Freelancing is also a great way to make some side hustle money while studying. Take a look at these websites to get you started:
5. Get learning 📚
Financial education is one of the most powerful tools we have right at our fingertips. The better we understand where our money goes, the better we can manage our finances.
Most of us aren’t taught about financial literacy at school. That’s why it’s important to take our learning into our own hands as well as take advantage of the resources around us, at uni and otherwise.
Here at Blackbullion, we offer a ton of learning resources that can help reduce stress around worry around money during a cost of living crisis (and beyond 🚀).