Since the end of 2021 the cost of living has continued to increase. Costs such as rent, food and energy bills have risen drastically due to inflation. Over the past year the inflation rate has increased by 9.6%.
There are many driving factors increasing the cost of living and boosting inflation, including Covid19, the Russia and Ukraine conflict and supply chain issues, just to name a few. All of these adding factors and the government’s response have caused disruptions directly affecting the Consumer Price Index.
Students are a large demographic being heavily impacted by the crisis. University students prior to the rising prices were already struggling with financial pressure. Recent surveys showed that 92% of students were concerned if they would be able to manage 2022 financially. The top pressures on student’s finance are the cost of housing, energy, travel, and food, causing them to cut back on socialising to be able to afford these payments. The government have increased maintenance loans for students by only 2.3% to address this issue however, this does not measure up with the 12% peak of inflation rates forecasted.
Budgeting helps give you control of your money and keep on top of your spending. Student finance maintenance loans are distributed in three big instalments so take this into consideration when planning.
Follow these steps to create your budget.
1. Work out how much money you will have overall to spend.
2. Estimate what you will be spending. You can use tools such as excel spreadsheets, student budgeting apps and budget calculators to help you split out your spendings into categories.
3. Work out a weekly spending amount.
Splitting a monthly or weekly shop for essentials between you and your housemates is a great way to save money. Cleaning items and certain foods items work out a lot cheaper in bulk. It is best to shop in supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl which offer cheaper alternatives of most items.
Just some of the things you and your housemates could split the cost of include:
1. Toilet paper
2. Dish soap and sponges
3. Laundry Detergent
5. Milk and butter
Cooking together as a household will also help you to further cut down costs, even if it is just once a week.
Student discounts, deals and freebies are definitely something to look out for if you’re trying to cut costs. Many clothing stores and restaurants offer set discounts for students, so you can enjoy cheaper clothes and a discounted meal or sometimes a free starter. You can find great student deals like this on apps such as Unidays and Student Beans. Did you know you can get a whole load of freebies on your birthday!?
Energy bills are rising, so it is important to make a conscious effort to reduce this cost. One idea to consider is to “heat yourself and not your house”, for example electric blankets are a cheaper alternative to turning on the heating throughout the day. As we come into winter have a think about setting your heating on a timer to turn on in the mornings and evenings for an hour or so (this will also mean no one forgets to turn it off). The World Health Organisation suggest the best temperature to set your thermostat at is 18 degrees Celsius.
One very important tip is to make sure you turn your lights off when leaving a room!
Using online selling platforms is a quick and easy way to make some extra money as a student. All sorts of items can be sold online on ecommerce services such as eBay, Depop, Vinted and Facebook marketplace. All you need to do is upload your item and send it off to the buyer. Not only is this an easy way to earn a quick buck you will also be able to clear space of things you no longer need or want!
Universities have acknowledged students disadvantage and have begun to offer support to students in many ways. The University of the West of England has begun initiatives such as Bring you own bowl for a free dinner, £5 essentials boxes and free period products. So why not check out what freebies and support your Uni is offering?
We hope these tips are useful!
For any more University advice and tips see our student page at www.hecom.co.uk