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Money Equals Happiness: Student Edition

Spending money as a student in the cost of living crisis
Students and how they spend their money at university

Life and money

Money is the backbone to everything we do. We work so we can earn money. We get education so we can get a job to earn money in the future. Without a sufficient amount of money, you can come into a lot of unhappiness and stress but it doesn’t mean that money does buy you happiness. At different stages of your life, you need money for different things. For example, being a student now has very different priorities of what to spend your money on to a middle-aged person in a full-time job. This means there are different concerns when it comes to money throughout your life.

Students, money and happiness

Going to university is most people’s first time living away from home which means you may have more responsibilities than you did living at home. For example, paying for your food shop, laundry and other essential things which you may have not needed to buy at home. You seem to just spend a lot more money at university. Apart from all the essentials you want to make the most out of being a student which means going out and socialising regularly. However, with the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks rising by 16.4% in the last year up to October 2022 students may have less to spend on socialising. This may mean they are unable to go out as much which can have a huge impact in mental health. 90% of students surveyed by the NUS said the cost-of-living crisis had affected their mental health negatively. This could imply that money could make us happier as it allows us to do more things and have the freedom to do what we want to do. Therefore, it could be said that money, although not necessarily directly, equals happiness.

Students and the Cost of Living Crisis

Inflation got to 11.1% in November 2022 which means the cost-of-living crisis is becoming increasingly well known to everyone. However, it has been said that students are one of the most largely affected group but potentially being forgotten about. Many university students take out a maintenance loans to cover their costs at university and mostly goes towards their rent for accommodation while they are studying. The cost-of-living crisis has therefore meant that there is an increase in rent costs which is no surprise. However, the prediction for inflation wasn’t as accurate as the government might have thought so the maintenance loans given to university students haven’t increased to account for the increase in rent. This means students are spending more of their maintenance loan on rent leaving less for other essentials or activities. If inflation keeps on occurring it could mean less people decide to go to university or have no choice as they can’t afford it and instead work full time as working with minimum wage is most likely more than you’d get a year in a maintenance loan and you’d avoid the university fees! This could cause unhappiness as they may have aspired to go to university but have decided against it in the end.

Students spending on themselves

Apart from all the essential costs of living at university, there is the stuff you want to buy that is not essential. For example, new clothes or shoes. Students at university should still be able to afford the things that WANT from time to time. Students are now more commonly getting part time jobs at university to get this little bit extra money to help out with essential payments but also so they can spend money on things they want to buy. This could mean less time for doing university work which could lead to more stress. This does cause some sort of happiness when you have the money to spend on yourself which does relate back to whether money can buy happiness.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I think money can cause happiness when you have the money to buy yourself something from time to time but if you had the money to do this whenever you want then the novelty wears off and might not cause the enjoyment and excitement it may do otherwise. I also think it can indirectly cause happiness. For example, if students had slightly more money to spend on their rents and essentials then they would have more left over to spend on socialising and activities they want to do which results in being happy and having fun. Therefore, it can result in happiness but not directly through money but having the freedom to do the things they enjoy.

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