It’s a given that almost every student, even at the privileged Surrey-away-from-Surrey known as the University of Exeter, will go through some money troubles during their time in higher education. We’ve all been there – the grayscale misery of eating instant noodles for dinner all week, scrounging a pint off your mate who’s just been paid, attempting to convince yourself that you’re really enjoying the limp sandwich you prepared last night and aren’t craving a Pret. The New Year is an especially trying time – Christmas presents and celebrations have cleaned you out, bills are looming and your bank balance looks like a temperature reading in the Antarctic.
Rewarding yourself with a messy night out or a takeaway at the end of the week is important, as life’s too short to be miserable
Ironically, the best way to make yourself feel better about being broke is spending even more money. Nothing is more comforting than saying ‘treat yourself’ and ordering a Dominos, going on a shopping spree, or buying a round of jagerbombs and pretending they’re for your friends, not just you. Obviously this only makes your situation worse, especially when one simple act of giving into temptation turns into five days in a row of Deliveroo and guilt. As sad as it is, it’s important to try and keep yourself in check. Rewarding yourself with a messy night out or a takeaway at the end of the week is important, as life’s too short to be miserable, but cutting back on the organic houmous or the large macchiatos can make a big difference overall, and help you enjoy letting loose even more.
Of course life as a young adult, especially in an expensive city like Exeter, is never easy. Very few of us have had to been financially responsible before, and even putting aside the whole crippling debt issue, it’s hard to suddenly balance all the little things that add up. Individually, food, nights out, laundry, bills, books and everything else you might need don’t seem like much, and it’s inevitable that we all make mistakes and overspend a bit. Maintenance loans coming in is a blessing and a curse – you’ve suddenly got all this money to spend, but in reality it needs to somehow last you for months, and there’s no easy answer on how to manage that properly. These are the kind of things we might only learn through making horrible mistakes and getting them wrong first.
there’s always that one infuriating person in your circle who is miraculously affording a new outfit for every visit to Timepiece
On top of all this, there’s always that one infuriating person in your circle who moans the loudest about having no money, but is miraculously affording a new outfit for every visit to Timepiece and cooking themselves restaurant-quality meals. How dare they appropriate our indescribable poverty for their own, we all scream internally, before realising that we’re at Exeter, so we’re probably all managing fine, in the end. Being ‘broke’ is a pretty relative concept – it’s obviously difficult to go without things we might take for granted, but ultimately everyone finds ways to survive.
It’s not new or ground-breaking for me to say that students have no money, because duh. And yes, we do cause a lot of itself ourselves, because we drink far too much and we indulge ourselves way too often. But we’re saddled with thousands of pounds of debt to pay back either way, so I say, who cares? It’s great to be sensible and we’ll all need to be responsible and live in the real world eventually, but in an economy where we might only have a few years of our lives to really go wild, we may as well eat, drink and be merry to our heart’s content.