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Study shows money can cause stress & mental health issues at Uni

Emma Hart

University life contributes to a lot of health issues into the mix

Factors such as graduating on time, deadlines, exams, new friendships and housing can all lead to increased stress and anxiety.  Adding student debts to the list can be almost impossible for some.

A recent poll carried out on behalf of Future Finance (NUS) highlighted the extent of the issue surrounding student’s financial woes. 2,050 students took part in the poll and key findings have shown that, overall, 63 per cent of students from across the UK are worrying about their finances all the time or very often.

In possibly the first time in their life, students are given a lump sum equalling thousands of pounds to manage. Students must suddenly take responsibility for rent, bills, study equipment and food, as well as balancing this with a healthy social calendar. This can seem overwhelming and as such, many students take on extra jobs, which can also effect on their studies. In fact, the poll highlighted that 38 per cent even considered work including night shifts or medical trials.

Finances spiralling out of control can be worrisome, but it isn’t the end of the world. Don’t bury your head and hope the problem will go away by itself. The first step to coping with financial issues is facing up to the difficult situation you are in and putting together a plan of action. This simple step may already ease some anxiety. There is a lot of support out there and the earlier you start the better.

When managing your finances the key is organisation

It may not be the most exciting thing you do when you start university, but it will help you in the long term. Set yourself a realistic budget and map your outgoings. It is important to consider monthly payments such as travel, rent, food and bills, as well as one off payments such as travelling home, books and equipment.

You will also want to have money left in the pot for going out. You may also choose to factor in birthday or Christmas presents so you don’t have an unpleasant surprise when it comes to paying for gifts. The charity ‘Brightside’ offers an online budgeting tool for students living and studying in England.

Once you have planned your budget, the key trick now is to make sure that your income is either more or the same as your outgoings. If expenditure is higher you’re going to run out of money! Do not panic if this is the case. There is always a solution.

You may want to consider increasing your income

Although some students feel that the burden of part time work may take its toll on their studies, there are many who choose to do so with great results. It is important you take on a role in which you can still manage your assignments or you may consider just working within the holidays.

Another solution is to reduce your outgoings. Your uni friends may well be in the same boat, so sacrificing a night out for a night in your student digs once a week can make a difference. Check the prices at the supermarket and swap brands for a cheaper option. Grab a bus instead of a taxi. There are plenty of cheaper options out there.

If you are still struggling, ask for help. Your university will have an advisor who can offer support and help you manage your stress levels as well as income.

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