It’s no secret that the UK is currently facing one of, if not the worst, cost-of-living crisis of this century. With inflation rising at its fastest rate in 40 years, this is a worrying time for many individuals.
For the student community, we understand this is probably an anxiety-inducing time to find yourself in. Particularly for students from lower income backgrounds, without familial support or those starting university in September. While you shouldn’t have to struggle or make sacrifices, they can be handy to know. So we wanted to share with you some suggestions for cutting down on costs and managing finances.
Aldi and Lidl are your budget best friends. These German-owned supermarkets are probably two of your best options for shopping. Although sadly, they tend to be in less central locations, which can make getting to them tough for many students.
In this case, it might be worth fishing around in your student community to see if there are any students up for a weekly car share who you can split fuel costs with. And who knows, you might just make a new mate along the way.
Group meals and online food shops
If doing a physical shop just isn’t feasible or economically viable for you, then you may want to consider an online food shop instead. Supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, sadly, don’t offer food deliveries. So somewhere like ASDA or Tesco are your best bet.
Online shopping alone won’t do much to save your pennies. However, you can cut costs through meal sharing. While there’s typically a minimum order spend for online food shops, by cooking group meals with your flat or housemates, you can cut down on costs while also reducing food waste. A good way to do this is by making a list of meals you and your friends agree on, with any dietary requirements, and rotate through the list. Admittedly, it’s not ideal, but it has the potential to be effective.
Everything in moderation
Now I know, I know, drinking is a pretty regular feature in student life. And we’re not saying you have to abandon your pint while watching the game. But drinking (amongst other habits, such as smoking) is undeniably expensive. If these are aspects of your lifestyle you can’t cut out, then try your best to be mindful of your consumption of these substances.
Going on a night out? Bring the amount you’re allowing yourself to spend in cash…and try to refrain from using Apple Pay when the alcohol kicks in. Planning pre-drinks for a party? Club in together and share a bottle of alcohol to get the best value for money.
If you can walk, do (so long as you’re not alone). Tie your coat around your waist instead of using the cloakroom. Buy drunken snacks to have at home, rather than from the kebab place outside the club.
These, I realise, are probably very obvious or small suggestions. But also, for some, every pound counts, and some money-draining habits can feel so normal you forget about their financial implications.
Save on reading lists
AbeBooks is a life savour for those on courses with huge reading lists. Or any reading lists at all. It can be nice having brand new books from Blackwell’s but also expensive. AbeBooks sells both new and used books, from academic journals to reference books. They saved me during my time at uni and are a great resource for reducing costs.
Equally, it’s also worth utilising university social media pages. If you’re selling old books, you can make some money. If you’re buying another student’s old books, you get them at a discounted price. It’s a win-win situation!
Railcards or coaches are your best friend
If you travel a lot, and have the immediate money available for a railcard, then this item is certainly worth your investment. The 16-25 railcard saves you up to a 1/3 on your train travel. With rising train prices, you can get back the £30 a railcard costs pretty quickly.
Equally, coaches often provide cheaper travel options. While they’re not always ideal for longer distances, sometimes they can end up quicker than train journeys if they take out the need to change mid-travel.
Handling the cost-of-living crisis | Conclusion
The cost-of-living crisis is an unpleasant time for many. It sucks, but here at Student Pocket Guide, we want to do what we can to help. Hopefully these suggestions offer some guidance or at least some inspiration for ways to manage the cost-of-living crisis.