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Cost of Living - A Student's POV

It is 2am and you are wrapped up in three fluffy blankets and wearing your thickest socks but that still isn't enough to combat the cold. Once again, the cost of living having its brutal effects.

What's happening?

To put it simply, the price of everything is increasing and no one can keep up. Since the end of 2021, the prices for many essential goods began increasing faster than household incomes, resulting in a fall in real incomes. Not being able to afford everyday essentials, such as food, rent, heating or transport, has great negative impacts on physical and mental health.

What about us?

It seems students don't receive much attention nor sympathy when it comes to the struggles of affording life currently. However it affects us just as much as someone else and in some cases more. For example:

  1. Tuition Costs: The cost of tuition has been increasing over the last few years, making it difficult for students to afford University and to also pay off the heaps of debt after they leave.

  2. Food Costs: Students already choose to shop at cheaper options such as Aldi or Lidl but that isn't nearly making a big enough difference in the attempt to save money. Unfortunately causing students to not have the luxury of having healthy meals. They can start to rely on unhealthy options such as processed foods or a cheap takeaway from their local kebab or even skipping meals in order to save money.

  3. Housing costs: Affording a house near university or college does not come cheap. Students are struggling to find an affordable place and the costs that come along with it. They are having to choose between having the lights on or freezing. Choices that no one should be making due to the prices of energy and heating. It is also fair to say students don't get their moneys worth for their accommodation, no one wants to be putting their student loan towards a house that has a mould lining on all it walls. The governments website also states the average student’s largest monthly expense is rent, accounting for about 45% of monthly living costs. This can lead to students living in unsafe housing situations to save money, as well as commuting long distances in order to attend University.

  4. Transportation Costs: As a student in Nottingham, the tram can be my best friend but also my enemy. Paying to be on the tram for one stop really doesn't justify the price, however for a longer journey it can be a cheap and quick solution of travel. But for those who cant afford this transportation everyday struggle to make it to classes due to the costs building up. For students elsewhere with a lack of transportation they can have similar issues and also miss out on opportunities, such as going around their town or trying to get a job but being unsuccessful as they don't have a reliable method of transportation.

What can you do?

The Cost of living crisis could be resolved by the minimum wage increasing, more job opportunities, improving financial literacy, supporting local business or expanding into affordable housing. However these are solutions a student could not implement.

While it seems your hands are tied and you are waiting for this crisis to be resolved, there are little things you can do to help your situation. Such as using you University resources more, go to the library to study rather than at home. You save your money by adding to your energy bills and can make the most of the resources available to you. Something that helped me was meal planning, buying a meal everyday and ingredients to make it is an expensive way to eat. Instead plan ahead what you are going to make so your ingredients can be used more than once and so you don't overspend. Many Universities offer classes of guidance on how to mange your money and some even offer student jobs. Look into your options and see little changes that you can make.

Don't cost your health

While this article has a lot of complaining and not a lot of advice, I would like to remind students to reach out and talk to someone and each other. Don't let it cost your well-being by trying to save your money. Remember to enjoy your University experience and to reach out if you're struggling and to remember this is a challenge amongst everyone. I ask to not let this stress consume you and control what you do, you have the capability to control and live your life without all these great costs.

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