Effects of cost of living crisis
Latest data inflation rate went from 0.4% to 9.9%, which is the highest in 40 years, remaining at high level. Most affected drivers are food and non-alcoholic beverages which now contribute to a lot of financial uncertainty among all population causing anxiety. This is because grocery inflation rates now stands at 13.9% making weekly shopping less affordable than it used to be.
University leaders in UK has stated that students are forgotten group in cost of living crisis and this is because most students live up from finance maintenance loan which is not always enough to cover everyday expenses, especially with current rent and food prices. This creates extra pressure of making it through the week, and student who won't have enough money to cover up the weekly expenses are forced to have part time jobs or even worst cutting back on eating. This can increase the levels of burnout that, yet again, will be reflected not only on studies but also on student's mental health due to feeling drained and stress more often that can have long term effects.
Food prices affecting students
There are reports of how cost of living crisis affected mental health on population due to financial insecurity. Recent wellbeing statistics has shown anxiety ratings of 79% of UK population being somewhat worried. This have even worse effects on students, which is not addressed well enough, as there is already certain level of stress from managing university work and studies, and a lot of students restrict themself from doing any other out of university activities due to lack of affordability. This creates feeling of isolation, loneliness and feeling of missing out from student life experience.
Not being able to be fully independent, as students can't afford being independent, make students feel lost creating heavy feeling of caring all this weight to the future where students will have to somehow live under those conditions while building their future career.
Support available for students
There are certain things that students who struggle can do to maintain healthy diet as well as be less stressed during time of crisis.
One of the recommendations is to look at the store brands that have most affordable prices, based on your personal budget, to ensure good value for money.
Before going to shop, prepare a grocery list of things that you will need throughout the week to avoid under or over buying.
Most importantly it is proven that meal preparation will not only be cost effective, as you will be able to use all food you bought, but also you can avoid food waste.
There are always events and other opportunities that universities organise that include free food which is recommended not to miss out not only because you will be able to get free food but you might find yourself less isolated. Also, there are phone apps available including GreenJin that provide getting cash backs on certain products that can be used in shop brands like Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and much more.
National Union of Student, has provided a campaign where students can register to push UK Government to develop customised cost of living support package for students in need.