Content warning: This article discusses the topic of mental health, which may be distressing to some readers.
The importance of budgeting
Being a student can be one of the most exciting times in a person's life. However, for many, it can also be a time of financial struggle. With the ever-increasing cost of living, it is no wonder that students are struggling. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the ways students can cope with the cost of living crisis.
Budgeting is critical for university students who face constant expenses and financial challenges. As a student, you will have a large variety of costs, including tuition fees, stationary, housing, transportation, food, clothing, and of course, maintaining a social life. Effective budgeting can help to prioritize your expenses, manage your finances effectively, and avoid falling into debt and overdrafts.
A significant benefit of creating a budget is that it provides you with a clear understanding of your expenses. By tracking your spending and creating a budget, you will be able to see where your money is going and can adjust your spending habits if necessary, for example, cutting down on takeaway food. This can help prevent overspending and reduce your risk of falling into debt.
Budgeting can also help you prioritize your spending. As a student, you will have many expenses all in competition for your funds. By creating a budget, you can determine which expenses are essential and which ones can be reduced or eliminated. This can help you ensure that you are spending your money on the things that are most important to you. Here is a useful guide from Ucas on how to budget as a university student.
Money saving hacks
Plan meals to cook throughout the Week: This is a great way to save money and eat healthier. Rather than relying on processed foods or eating out, you should plan your meals in advance, buying ingredients in bulk, and cooking at home. This will save your money and will improve your diet.
Buy saver range foods: Food brands, for example Heinz, are more expensive than their generic counterparts, but the difference in quality is often minimal. By moving away from the typical brands and opting for cheaper alternatives, students should see a reduced cost on their food shopping, saving them money consistently throughout their studies.
Invest in a student railcard: Rail travel is often the easiest way to move up and down the country. If you are a student who regularly travels by train, investing in a student railcard can be a great way to save money. With a student railcard, students can save a third on the cost of their train travel, making it a smart investment for regular train users.
Buy clothes on vinted: Shopping for clothes can be expensive, but by buying on platforms like Vinted, students can save money on their clothing costs. Not only is Vinted a great place to find second-hand clothes, but it is also good for the environment as it reduces the amount of waste created. I have created a TikTok video which shows multiple outfits (including their prices) bought from Vinted.
How the cost of living crisis impacts student mental health
The cost of living crisis has had a significant impact on students' mental health and wellbeing. The increased financial stress on students has lead to increased levels of anxiety around money. This has put pressure on students to work long hours in addition to their studies. This can be exhausting and leave little time for self-care. This lack of time for self-care can also lead to a decline in physical health, which can further exacerbate mental health problems.
The cost of living crisis has reduced students to access mental health services. Many students are unable to afford the cost of private counseling or therapy. This coupled with waiting lists for free services provided by universities and the National Health Service (NHS) being backed up into the months leaves many students seeking help with little luck, worsening their mental state.
The cost of living crisis has also had a negative impact on students' social well-being. Students with the lowest funds are often unable to participate in social activities, such attending societies or going to the pub. This means particular students will spend less time with friends, and the lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can have a significant impact on mental health.