Rising cost of living and your wellbeing

29 July 2022

If the rising cost of living is affecting your mental health and wellbeing here are a few tips to cope.

Student wearing a baseball cap sitting on a wall writing in a notebook

The rising cost of living in the United Kingdom is affecting the mental health and wellbeing of people over the country, including those living in London. Rising expenses and financial constraints or difficulties can negatively affect your mental health and wellbeing. If the cost of living is affecting you, here are a few tips for coping:

Budgeting your monthly expenses

Start by looking at your monthly income – this might include maintenance loans, bursaries, wages, personal savings or family funding. Next, you should look at what you are spending. Your essential expenses will typically include things like rent, groceries & transport. If you are living in private housing you may also have utility bills for electricity, gas & water. Don't forget other bills such as mobile phone costs. Your non-essential expenses may include subscriptions, going out, clothes shopping and holidays among others. If you are spending more than you have coming in, you will need to make some changes. You could look at cutting back on non-essential expenses, such as buying gifts. It's also worth rethinking a few of your essential expenses.  For example you could make some changes to your weekly groceries by buying own branded goods, or even changing to a cheaper supermarket.

Try a student budgeting app

Online banks Monzo and Starling Bank have apps that help you track your monthly expenses by sending you real time notifications directly to your mobile phone when you spend. Many also have budgeting tools that can alert you when you overspend or help group your expenses into categories. Other banks may similarly offer helpful budgeting tools or apps and it may be worthwhile checking with them to see what services are available. The ATM Locator app is useful for finding ATMs that don’t charge you for withdrawals. Shopping apps like CheckoutSmart can help you save money by providing you with a daily list of items that different supermarkets are offering cashback on.

Switch bank accounts

If you find that the monthly charges levied by your current bank are too high, you may want to consider switching bank accounts. Some banks offer incentives to switch and remember, loyalty does not pay or reward you (i.e., there is no need for you to remain loyal to any one bank if it is not providing the services you require in an affordable way). Look for a bank that has low fees but the services you need and that has online access and/or budget planning tools.

Look for ways of earning extra cash

Looking for ways of earning extra cash is another way to ease your financial situation. A new job not only helps put more money in your pocket but can also get you useful work experience, and it can help take your mind off your academic work too. However, it is essential that you maintain a good balance and have enough time to complete your academic requirements.

How UCL can help

If you need support or just advice, UCL remains open for current students. Make an appointment with one of our caring advisers or, if you are living in UCL accommodations, speak to your Student Resident Adviser. Our Student Funding Advisors are also available to talk through your financial situation in more detail, and can support you with making a budget. We've also got more practical tips for managing your money on our Student Funding pages.