Student Cost of Living In 2024 – A Survival Guide


Mark Barrow

Being a student can be a lot of fun, but it can also be pretty stressful when it comes to money. The cost of living is constantly on the rise, and it’s getting harder for students to make ends meet. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’ll explore the factors influencing student cost of living in 2024 and provide some useful tips on how to manage your finances effectively.

Imagine starting your uni journey with a sense of financial security. Sounds good, right? You can make this a reality by implementing the strategies discussed in this post and ensure a stable financial future.

Factors Influencing Student Cost of Living in 2024

As we head into 2024, several factors are clearly contributing to the increasing cost of living for students. Firstly, the rising tuition fees and expenses associated with higher education are a significant burden on students’ finances. Additionally, the cost of housing, food and transportation are also increasing, making it even more challenging for students to make ends meet.

Prices for food, transport, accommodation, and utilities rose faster than increases in student loans in the 2022 to 2023 academic year, leaving students in England with less money to cover their living costs.

According to the ONS Student Cost of Living Insights Study (February 2023), some students had to skip meals or leave the heating off to help with rising costs. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents said they had cut back on spending on food and other essentials because of the rising cost of living.

In late 2022 and early 2023, when CPI inflation was consistently above 10%, the value of loans available to cover living costs rose by just 2.3%. As a result, 90% of students surveyed by the National Union of Students for its September 2022 Cost of Living report said the rising cost of living had negatively impacted their mental health.

The 2023 Youth Forum Cost of Living survey showed that 64% of students are struggling financially, despite 60% of them having a job, with 40% working over 20 hours per week.

These numbers clearly show that students are facing fresh challenges compared to their counterparts in previous years. The student maintenance loan is not covering as much as it used to.

On top of all this, parents and guardians are also facing increased financial pressures, reducing their ability to provide support.

 

How much does it cost to live as a student in 2024?

According to the latest annual Student Money Survey by Save The Student, students in Liverpool spend an average of £639 per month (excluding rent). With the Maintenance loan set at £496 per month, there is a £143 shortfall that students need to cover, before factoring in their accommodation costs!

The inflation peaks in 2022 and 2023 have had a considerable impact on student’s finances. For instance, a 2023 Save the Student Money Survey found that the average student’s monthly living costs have increased by 17% since 2022 to £1,078. They also discovered a monthly shortfall of £582 between the average student’s maintenance loan and living costs in 2023, up from £439 in 2022. Check out the survey results for a full breakdown on how much students spend.

 

How can students survive the increased cost of living?

In light of these challenges, here are some tips for students to survive the student cost of living situation:

Set a budget:

Budgeting is essential to financially get by at university. Budgeting will help you understand the difference between essential spending and non-essential spending. See our full list of tips in our ultimate guide to setting up and sticking to a student budget.

Find part-time work:

If you don’t have a job and are struggling, now is the time to find one. Finding a student job that fits around your uni schedule is a great way to make extra cash. All three universities in Liverpool have job board websites where you can find student-specific opportunities:

  • If you have a job ask for a raise. Has your wage increased in line with inflation? If not, discuss this with your employer.
  • Summer jobs are an excellent way to earn a full-time wage and save up funds to see you through the next academic year.
  • Consider a year in industry. This way you can earn a full-time wage between study years, relieving the pressure of paying for a full three years of study.

Generate Extra Income:

There are numerous ways that students can generate extra income to help supplement their student finance. Some of these ways include:

  • Freelancing: Explore freelancing opportunities related to your skill set. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork offer various freelance gigs.
  • Online Tutoring: Leverage your academic strengths by offering online tutoring services to fellow students.
  • Sell Unwanted Items: Declutter and make extra cash by selling unused items online through platforms like eBay or Depop.
  • Participate in Research Studies: Universities often conduct research studies and pay participants. Keep an eye on the local uni bulletin boards or websites for opportunities.

Find additional funding opportunities:

If you are still struggling to make ends meet, there is additional support out there that you may be able to apply for. Head to the Student Space website for a comprehensive list of ways to find additional funding. These include:

  • Your university may provide scholarships, bursaries and grants. You can find additional information on various scholarships and how to locate them in The Scholarship Hub’s Guide to UK Scholarships.
  • Apply for hardship funds. These are awarded by the universities and can be limited so are not always available.
  • Apply for additional financial support. There are numerous additional funds available to students who are facing special circumstances such as disability or if you have no contact with your parents.

Student Minds also has a Student Space support hub full of useful information on managing money, budgeting and ways to find additional funding.

What do students spend their money on the most?

The financial costs that students are most struggling with are rent, bills, food, and travel. Here are some tips to coping with them:

Accommodation & Bills:

As a student, it is important to carefully consider the costs that come with accommodation and bills. While the cheapest option may seem appealing, it may not always be the most cost-effective. In addition to rent, you may also need to pay for utility bills, TV licence, insurance, broadband and a deposit.

To easiest way to budget effectively, is to choose an accommodation provider that offers all-inclusive bills. This will allow you to know exactly what you need to pay and when.

Do keep in mind that some providers have limits on utility usage included in their “all-inclusive” rent. Depending on the limit set, you could significantly go beyond this cap and end up with a hefty bill at the end of your tenancy. Especially if there is another unexpected rise in the cost of utilities. Make sure to ask your agent about these limits before you sign up, and whether they have been exceeded by previous tenants in recent years, so you can be better prepared.

Luxury Student Homes stands out from the competition by offering uncapped, all-inclusive rent. What does that mean for you? You can enjoy your time in your student accommodation without worrying about additional charges at the end of your tenancy for utility usage. With Luxury Student Homes, you can have peace of mind knowing that you won’t be asked to contribute financially towards utilities.

Travel:

When it comes to travel, choosing accommodation that is easily accessible to your university can help save you money on your student cost of living. If you need to use the bus every day, it can add up to around £20 per week.

  • Walk to uni, if you live close enough, this is a no-brainer of a way to save cash.
  • Invest in a bike, a decent one can cost as little as £50 if bought second-hand and a new one for less than £500. Plus, you could use it to earn extra money working for a local delivery company.
  • If you often travel to your home town by train then getting a railcard is a great option. The 16-25 Railcard gives you 1/3 off every train ticket you buy.

Food:

Food is another area where you can save money as a student. Planning meals ahead, preparing batch meals, and shopping smartly can all help you get the best deals. Don’t forget to take advantage of student discounts and loyalty schemes such as Tesco Clubcard.

See our full list of tips in our guide to saving money on a student budget for a deeper dive on saving money on your food shop.

 

Surviving the financial challenges of student life in 2024 requires proactive planning, resourcefulness, and adaptability. By implementing effective budgeting strategies, exploring additional income streams, and making informed choices regarding accommodation, travel, and food, students can navigate the evolving landscape of student cost of living.

Remember, financial survival is not just about making ends meet, but also ensuring a fulfilling and enriching university experience.