Actually useful things uni students can do to help the cost of living crisis
Advice other than just turn your heater off and freeze in winter
The UK’s cost of living prices crisis is hitting especially hard on university students and new graduates who have little income. The crisis makes it so hard for students to afford living costs such as rent, electricity bill and food, that one in seven fear they may be homeless within the next six months.
Everyone is trying to cut down on costs to be able to get through this time, but young people are always just patronised and told to cancel Netflix and stop buying avocados. Here is some actually useful advice on how you can get through the cost of living crisis:
This may sound strange, because how is meal prepping going to help you with bills? But using the oven every day will rack up those bills. So if you cook a big meal at the start of the week that you can store in the fridge or freezer to last you the week, you will be saving those pennies.
Turn off your plugs
Even when your TV is turned off by the remote it is still using electricity from just being plugged in and turned on at the wall. So whenever you’re not using an electrical item make sure the plug is switched off at the wall, or even just un-plug everything. Yes, that’s everything – so your phone or laptop chargers and microwaves, when they’re not in use. Remember to not turn off the fridge and freezer plug though.
Although clubbing and drinks costs aren’t necessarily part of the crisis of living costs, it’s almost guaranteed that university students and young adults are spending a lot of their money each week on getting drinks in the club. So there is simple advice for this, go extra hard at pres. Head to Aldi and get your £14 litre of vodka and 50p two litres of squash and you’re set for a couple of pres, and you won’t have to spend as much when you go out.
Although petrol prices might be slowly coming down, it is still super expensive to fill your car’s tank up, so where you can, walk. Most places are walkable and people are driving for convenience, but it will save you money to take a ten minute walk rather than a two minute drive to the shops.
Make a shopping list
Everyone is guilty of going into a shop for their weekly food or just a couple bits and coming out with double what you needed because something was on offer or you just really fancied something when you saw it, but in reality you didn’t need the extra bits. So if you make a shopping list and stick to it, you know you are only buying what you actually need.
Turn off your lights
Remember when you were younger and your parents would shout at you for leaving lights on when you left the house and you had no idea why they cared about one bedroom light being left on for a couple hours? Now you pay your own bills you understand why turning off ALL lights when you leave the house can help you save money on monthly bills.
Go to the library
Whether you’re at uni or not you will have access to electricity outside of your own home. This could be a university library or where you work, but either way make the most of the places where you’re not directly paying the bills. So when you had on to campus or to work make sure you bring your phone and laptop charger with you. Once it gets colder too, if you work in the library you won’t need to have the heating on during the day.
Ask your energy provider about your bill
Bills are already sky-high, and it has just been announced that from October the energy price cap will increase. Brean Horne, personal finance expert at NerdWallet, said you can ask your energy supplier if you have concerns about your bill and check to see if they have any cheaper alternative tariffs. “The financial impact of another significant price cap rise will be huge for millions across the UK come Autumn. Energy bills are already the primary contributor to the escalating cost-of-living crisis.
“It’s more important than ever for households and individuals to gain control of their finances and take steps to combat the financial impact of the energy crisis. This may mean consulting with their supplier if they have concerns about their energy bill and checking to see if they offer any cheaper alternative tariffs for existing customers. For those contemplating switching to a fixed tariff, it is vital to ensure that the rate they lock in is less than the expected cap. Consumers should also keep up to date with the Energy Bills Support Scheme to see what help could be available to them and take proactive steps towards reducing energy consumption in their home where possible.
“Unfortunately, people must brace themselves for a sharp rise in their energy bills regardless of their provider. But being proactive in their approach and making the changes necessary could ensure they are not paying more than they absolutely have to.”
Are you a university student and worried about how the cost of living crisis will affect you next term? Have a story you think we should know about? Email [email protected] in confidence