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Overcoming Financial Burdens as a Student

How are students meant to handle their finances?

It is clear that families and individuals across the UK are severely struggling after being hit with the cost-of-living crisis. However, the example of students not being able to afford their usual way of living, can have a big toll on mental health.

Many have resorted to getting a part-time job but doing way too many hours to be able to keep up with their University work. What's the point of going to University to spend the majority of your time working? But many don't have the choice. It may end with stress, not seeing friends and overall just exhaustion. Even getting a 3 hour train home which costs £60, would take 6 hours of work on average.

The problem is that even with inflation increasing, student loans are staying the same. Many students who get the minimum student loan have parents who do not put money towards their living. With increasing house prices, it results in the student loan not even being able to cover accommodation for the year. What are they meant to do then? Even individuals on the higher end of student loans will struggle with paying rent. Usually the houses further away from University are cheaper, however you still have to factor transport costs into that also.

Speaking from personal experience, my student overdraft is completely maxed out, and I am aware that many others will relate. It is a huge worry that it may not be possible to pay this off before the interest begins.

What options are there for you?

Ask your parents- You shouldn't be afraid to reach out for help. Please don't be embarrassed, it is always worth asking. It is a much better alternative than opening extra overdrafts or drowning yourself in interest from personal loans. Understandably, your family may be struggling from the crisis too and are unable to help. In this case, take a look at the extra options you may have.

Reselling- Keep your eye out for sacks of clothing on EBay and Facebook Marketplace. Many people want to get rid of their unwanted clothing and much of it is still in great condition. Advertise on sites like Depop and Vinted and this is a great way to make some profit as a side hustle. If you have some extra money, EBay sell vintage sacks which tend to resell for a lot more money.

Selling your own clothes, games & books- You may have heard of Music Magpie and WeBuyBooks. These are great websites to use if you are clearing out your unwanted stuff for some extra cash. Also look for car boot sales, these are great and can even be a fun day out if you set up your stall with friends. As mentioned earlier, these things sell great on Vinted, Depop and EBay also.

Research surveys- OhMyDosh! and SurveyMonkey are examples of research survey websites. All you have to do is fill in questionnaires- and get paid for it. Sure, it is usually only 10p-50p per survey. However, it is easy extra money whilst sat on the sofa and watching television in the evening. Usually you have to build up a balance on £10 before withdrawing but once you get into it, it shouldn't take long!

Online tutoring- This is a great flexible alternative and usually you can choose your own hours. Platforms like MyTutor offer £11-£50 an hour to tutor a subject that you have knowledge on, like something you studied at A Level. It can also be great for your CV for future employment and increases confidence with talking to new people.

University bursaries- Check with your university if they offer bursaries or grants. You may be eligible for a bursary if you come from a low household income or have specific personal circumstances. Usually you won't have to pay these back, and can benefit you in the long run. Definitely look if your University has any finance advisors, sometimes there are one off courses where you can learn how to budget and how to spend your money properly.

Part-time job- Sometimes these other options simply won't bring enough extra income that is needed. First look around at your University and see if they have any jobs like student mentoring or cafe staff. This is usually much more flexible and less anti-social hours. It will also help build networking with tutors and staff. On the other hand, stick to a job that has specific hours you will be working each week. Try and stay away from jobs where the rota gets changed every week, as it can be a real struggle to rearrange your own timetable. Never miss University for work!

Remember, you are not alone. Please reach out to your University for extra financial support and guidance.

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