Tackling monthly expenses is being convoluted for Irish students. Over 30% of third-level students, according to Euro students VI study, are experiencing financial problems. Students who participated in the survey revealed that their expenses were more than what they earn, making it harder for them to make ends meet independently. The study revealed that the overall average monthly income for all students who responded to the survey was about €754, while the average monthly outgoing was €830. They further told that they turned to their parents or spouses to seek monetary help to fund some of their monthly expenses because of low income.
According to the report findings, accommodation was the single largest expenditure eating up their income, which accounted for an average monthly spend of about €350. Older students were experiencing more financial difficulties. Part of them is postgraduate students because they did not have an increase in their monthly income. Below is the table that summarises the findings of the report by Euro students VI study.
Source: Euro student VI study
Apart from accommodation, student debt is also mostly responsible for taking a toll on them. According to another study, over one-fourth of Irish students are struggling to keep up with student debt repayments. Some of the students end up missing their lectures to get paid work. Financial stress does not seem to let up because it eats up a large portion of the monthly income, and hence students are facing difficulty making ends meet.
More than 50% of college students miss their lectures, which leads to a negative impact on their studies. The study has revealed that they cannot cope up with living costs without doing work. 70% of them are working part-time. One of the significant reasons for failing to keep the head above water is that student loans in Ireland require immediate monthly installments. In contrast, in other European countries like in the UK, students begin to pay off the debt when they start earning money after completing the course. Here is the table that shows expenses that eat students’ budget.
Financial stress is impacting the physical and mental health of students. Most of them worry that this will lead to throwing them in debt. If you are also facing difficulty keeping the wolf from the door, you should try to follow the following tips to whittle down the financial stress.
Learn the art of budgeting
Although students have reported to the studies that they are struggling to meet all their regular expenses, most of them have admitted that they do not have a monthly budget. It is paramount because it will help you cut back on spending. You cannot take stock of your expenses unless you make a budget. This will help you know how much you have and how much you can spend.
A great way to make a budget is to note down every tiny expense you make every day on a spreadsheet and then add in them to know to outgo. Then, you find where you can cut back on. While it is difficult to make ends meet, you will have to limit your spending to essential expenses. Now you know how much you are to spend, stick to this plan in the coming months.
Lower down the accommodation cost
If your college or university is near your parents’ home, you should not rent a room. Try to stay at your parents’ house. You can save one-fourth of your income going on rent. If your college is far from your parents’ home, you should try to find accommodation near your college. If you are to cover a long distance, you will have to spend more on traveling. This will add up the pressure on your finances. Sharing accommodation will be a better idea because you can cut save half of your money.
Save on food
Eating is always cheaper than eating out. Even if you get high-quality food and subsidized food in your college canteen, it is always suggested that you should prepare meals at home. The best way is to make a grocery budget. When you shop for groceries for the whole week, try to make a list of things you need for lunch or dinner throughout the week. Make sure that it does not add in things that are already in your kitchen stock. Having a list in your hand will stop you from buying from those items that you may think you need, but you will actually not need. Do not fall prey to your impulsive buying habits.
Prioritize debt and bill payments
You should keep paying all bills and debts on time. Missing repayments will add up the cost, making an extra burden on your finances. When you review your budget, make sure that you have set aside the money you pay as debt installments. Look back at utility bills of previous months to get an idea of how much you need on average every month for such expenses. You should put aside that money to not run out of money when the due date falls.
You will have to be extremely careful with money management tips if you struggle to make ends meet. Take stock of your outgoings and incomings. Create a budget, so you do not spend more than you earn. If it is still difficult, you should grab a part-time or full-time job that offers you good money.