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How NOT to give budgeting advice

The cost-of-living crisis is a term I’m sure we have all been seeing. As students, we are affected by the current economic crisis, and it can be a very stressful time for some of us. With the rise in prices of goods, rent and bills, this is a time of anxiety for many. With that comes the online discourse around budgeting and how students can make their money stretch.  Instead of holding government bodies accountable for the lack of urgency in supporting issues with housing, financial aid, and capping energy prices – obviously what we need is an online article telling young people how to manage money. This can be either condescending or useful, so let’s go through some of the advice given specifically for students who may be struggling with money in a cost-of-living crisis.  

The Guardian published an article about how to make your money go further in the cost-of-living crisis. They shared ground-breaking tips like asking for discounts, using apps to put your money to keep track of spending, venturing to cheap supermarkets and getting textbooks online. I can only speak for myself, but I already do all these things. Students are using online textbooks; we do use discounts and we all love that Lidl on Nicholson St. This advice seems more fitting for a general how-to  than an article for surviving a detrimental financial crisis. 

They go on to highlight very ‘useful’ student deals like ‘£10 off when you spend £75 in Ikea’… because the saving grace in a cost-of-living is spending £75  and realising its £65. The whole article comes off as tone-deaf and places too much pressure on students to save a few pounds in retaliation for the cost-of-living crisis, it truly minimises the reality for many people’s struggle. 

The biggest tip was as student accommodation is one of the biggest costs, we are advised to investigate booking a Travel-lodge for as long as an accommodation contract would be, as it comes out cheaper! I mean great, stay in a hotel where you won’t have access to a kitchen and spend more money on food, isolate yourself from other students and risk your mental well-being. Students are people, everyone deserves to be comfortable in university. These are condescending, obvious or literally unstable tips. The effect of the cost-of-living crisis won’t be stopped by spending 4.99 on Spotify instead of  9.99 – people are struggling to live, the bare necessity.  

The cost-of-living crisis is not our fault, the one useful tip from the article was to look for financial aid at your University. But this is not always enough for financial stability for some students, with rent soaring in Edinburgh, bills going up and the price of food being extortionate – but hey, maybe we should simply ask for a discount.

Budget” by Got Credit is licensed under CC BY 2.0.