The cost-of-living crisis: What can you do?

Are you worried about the cost-of-living crisis? According to The Money Charity, 78% of students say ‘finance fears’ are affecting their studies. 

So if you have money worries right now, you’re not alone. 

Here are 5 tips and tricks to help ease your concerns around your finances at university…

  • Budgeting
  • Can your university help?
  • Look after your mental health
  • How to save money
  • Alternative ways of making money


A budget is a plan to help you gain more control and visibility over your finances. 

You can create one on a spreadsheet, on a bit of paper or via an online budgeting service. 

Money Dashboard has put together a particularly detailed article comparing different  budgeting apps, but really, you can just start with a pen and paper. 

Write down a list of your most common expenses, things like food, rent, energy bills, nights out and subscriptions. 

If you invest a lot of money on baked treats from local bakeries or Mediterranean dips, add them to your budget. 

Create goals for how much you want to spend on each area month to month, and focus on staying within the budget plan. 

Can your university help?

Does your university offer bursaries or grants to students in need of financial aid? 

Not all institutions will, but it’s best to check. You never know what aid and help you could qualify for. 

Your university website will also likely have key information and resources regarding financial well-being. 

They might be able to set you up with a financial professional to help advise you, or just offer some form of consultancy support. 

Look after your mental health

Worrying about money can adversely affect your mental health. 

In fact, Nationwide Building Society reported that 60% of students suffer from anxiety over their finances. 

This is a really important point. While you are keeping an eye on your bank account, you must also stay conscious of your mental well-being. 

And if you think your mental health is declining as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, consider taking one of the following steps…

  • Talk to a friend or your family and be honest about how you’re feeling. Talking has uncommonly powerful effects
  • Explore your university’s mental health services
  • Try meditation - Calm and Headspace both offer FREE trials 

You can also read our blog Mental Health: Taking Care of Yourself

How to save money

Student discounts

Consider getting a TOTUM student card for literally hundreds of reductions and discounts. 

Your student card (or student ID) will also qualify you for discounts in supermarkets, clothes stores, tech outlets and pharmacies. 

When you get to the till, just ask if the shop has a student discount. And if they don’t, vacate the premises in a dramatic fashion. 

Unidays and StudentBeanz are dedicated discount websites for students. Also worth a look!

Second-hand course books

Course textbooks and materials can sometimes be SUPER expensive. So use your university library where possible.

You could also explore local libraries. 

Most universities have a second-hand textbook market, where students trade in their old reading materials when they no longer need them. 

Alternative ways of making money

Don’t sell your kidney. It’s not easy to buy it back.  

And there are ways to increase your income without stealing, swindling, embezzling, betting, pilfering, looting or good-natured double-crossing. No matter the attraction. 

Here are some alternative ways of making money at university…

Become a brand ambassador

Brand Ambassadors represent an employer brand on-campus. They fit in their work in-between lectures, seminars and coursework. 

You could get paid £10 an hour working for employers like the NHS, J.P. Morgan, AstraZeneca and Vodafone. 

Apply to become a Brand Ambassador here… 

Work for your university

Many universities pay students around £8.50 - £10 per hour to do jobs like: 

  • Carry out surveys on behalf of the university
  • Contact alumni for donations
  • Increase awareness of university initiatives

Again, you can fit this work  between your studies and social life. 

Part-time delivery rider

If you have a bicycle, or tricycle, you could work as a part-time delivery rider for Uber Eats or Deliveroo. 

It’s really flexible, so you only work when you want to. And you can fit your hours around your degree. 

Delivery riders earn roughly between £8.50 - £12 per hour, not including tips.