University life should feel exciting, but at some point in the academic year you will have to face challenges. If you’re dealing with financial independence for the first time, it is imperative that you speak up about any money worries before they escalate; 50% of students say financial issues are affecting their mental health, and 53% worry about having to manage the increasing cost of bills and utilities while at university, so let’s talk about money!
The most important thing to remember is that support is out there, with independent organisations like Citizen's Advice providing help and resources. BU and SUBU are here to help, if you have question about money or find yourself in financial difficulties. More information can be found on the SUBU website and the BU financial support web pages, or you can contact them directly:
It’s not just students
Money anxiety affects everyone at some point in their life. Out of 1000 parents surveyed 73% said they were extremely worried about the increasing cost of living and 54% believe the increasing cost of living is putting strain on family life.
While it may be uncomfortable to approach the conversation, normalising money concerns is the quickest and easiest way to reduce anxiety. Needing to budget, abstaining from some nights out or not buying the latest thing is not a sign of failure, but proof that you are being responsible and approaching the situation maturely.
Know how and when to reach out
We know that not all students have experience of financial management before arriving at university. Establish a dialogue with your family; learning to ask for help when you need it is an important lesson.
Things to remember about having a financial conversation
Remember that conversations should be two-way so make sure to listen to the person you’re asking for help. Also, don’t expect all conversations to go the way you want them to, as people may disagree, and you will need to have an open mind. Also, it’s a possibility you don’t get the answers you wanted or are expecting (which can include negative reactions and/or judgement or changing the subject). In this situation remember to remain calm and advise the person on how important it is for you to talk about this.
It might be worth documenting any agreements, as you may need to pay money back once are working. Having the conditions written down allows for transparency and no miscommunications.
If a friend asks for money, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so - feel free to explain if you aren’t able to help them and list any concerns. If you need your friend to repay, try and avoid taking a confrontational approach, as this can be counterproductive and delay the repayment.