Student money worries surge – how to cope

Students have recently received their A Level results and are now planning to make the move to university in the next month. While existing students are coming to the end of their summer break and will be returning to university soon.

What is meant to be an exciting time is being usurped by fears. Student money worries are growing at a worrying rate as the cost of living crisis continues to increase.

Recent research from HSBC has shown students are worrying more about money than ever before. But, it doesn’t have to be all bad news. There are plenty of ways to deal with student money worries.

In this post I’ll cover:

  1. What the research shows
  2. What students are doing about it
  3. How you can overcome student money worries
  4. Any other tips

What the research shows

The research found over half (54%) think financial concerns are having a negative impact on their mental health.

This includes: 43% feeling anxious, 42% feeling stressed, and 41% feeling worried.

Equally worrying, 45% say their diet is suffering, while the report losing sleep thinking about money.

At the same time, 46% of students don’t think they’ve had enough financial education or been taught how to budget.

What students are doing about it

Students are taking a number of steps to overcome their money worries.

Some are changing their choice of university, cutting back on spending and borrowing more money over worries about the cost of living.

Almost half (45%) say they have switched their university choice because of these worries.

Meanwhile, nearly all students (94%) have made changes to their financial behaviour in the past six months. Over half (55%) have cut back on spending.

Food is one of the main ways students are looking to cut back. In total, 47% are shopping at cheaper supermarkets, 46% are cutting out takeaways, and 44% are buying cheaper ingredients.

More privileged students are turning to family members for help. Those that receive money from their parents get an average of £352 a month. In the past six months this has gone up on average by a fifth – or around £80 a month.

How you can overcome student money worries

While it is difficult in the current cost of living crisis, there are ways to overcome student money worries.

The first is education and organisation.

Over half (55%) of all current and prospective students say they would welcome more budgeting advice and tips from their bank.

If this is not on offer, there are plenty of free resources online and on social media. Reading up on budgeting and money management tips can help set you up for success.

In terms of organisation, a bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to managing your money.

Take time each month and week to plan your expenditures against your incoming money. Then create a budget accordingly. Leave yourself some money for fun activities – budgets don’t have to be restrictive!

Also, plan before you do your weekly food shop. If you’re out a number of evenings one week, don’t waste money buying ingredients that will have gone off before you get a change to use them. As a bonus, this also helps reduce food waste and protect the environment.

If you are really struggling, speak to your student union. Most universities have student hardship funds and grants they can give to support students that are struggling financially. Reaching out may sound scary, but could provide you with some much needed support.

Any other tips

The biggest tip to overcoming student money worries I can offer is to be open and honest about your situation. This can be very daunting with people you’ve only just met, but it will help. Others will almost certainly be worried too.

Speaking about your budget and how much you can realistically afford will stop you from getting tied into plans that are too expensive for you. This is particularly important when it comes to choosing accommodation for the next year.

Don’t be pressured to signing onto a contract that is far too expensive or not right for you. Housing is one of the biggest expenses, so don’t make life harder for yourself financially than it needs to be!

The research was conducted by Sticky and Censuswide on behalf of HSBC UK. Over 1000 current students and 1000 prospective students were surveyed.

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Did you know I offer freelance writing services and personal finance workshops and talks for schools, workplaces and organisations? I also regularly feature in the media. Get in touch via or reach out on Twitter @Katie20Percent if you’d like to find out more.

If you found this post on the growing student money worries interesting and/or useful please share it on social media or with your friends. Are you a student? Are you worried about money, or have you developed some money hacks to help you cope? Comment your thoughts below, I’d love to hear from you!

One response to “Student money worries surge – how to cope”

  1. It’s not good to drown yourself in debt, but university should also be fun and it is a once in a lifetime experience. Students shouldn’t be overwhelmed by their loans – they can and will be paid off but you can never be 18 again! Just avoid the more unforgiving debt like credit cards

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