As the new university academic year approaches with the cost of living still rising, today’s students face an intricate puzzle: How can they best equip themselves for academic life without breaking the bank?
Looking into the student essentials, from refurbished tech to sustainable lifestyle hacks, and even the nuances of student insurance, it’s all about making informed choices that prioritise both value and sustainability, ensuring that the university experience is both enriching and affordable.
Table of Contents
- Financial Strain and Choices: Inflation and rising university costs are pushing some students to reconsider their decision to attend.
- Refurbished Tech as a Solution: eBay’s focus on refurbished tech and discounted homeware targets the core of student essentials, offering substantial savings on necessary items.
- Sustainable Living on a Budget: Beyond just tech, students are turning to food swapping, pre-loved clothing, upcycling, and combatting food waste as integral student essentials for a sustainable lifestyle.
- The Importance of Student Insurance: With various insurance options available, students must weigh the advantages and disadvantages to safeguard their university journey.
- Navigating University Life: Making informed choices about student essentials can ensure a more enriching, sustainable, and financially sound university experience.
Facing the Financial Realities of University Life
As the new academic term approaches, the majority of students are bracing for the soaring costs of the student essentials and other costs associated with university life. With inflation impacting every corner of the economy, students are amongst the hardest hit.
Research indicates a staggering 62% of them stating they would have reconsidered their university decision, had they been aware of the impending financial burden.
This year, university attendees can expect a rise in their expenditures by around £5,000.
With everything from tech to textbooks on their shopping lists, the average student sees an additional spending of £411.58 compared to previous academic terms. This understandably raises alarm bells, with 85% expressing genuine concerns about managing their finances in the upcoming term.
eBay’s Solution: The Appeal of Refurbished Tech
In a move to help students, eBay is offering discounts of up to 50% on renowned tech brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Lenovo.
Looking seriously at purchasing second-hand tech over brand new seems like a sensible option. According to recent research carried out by 72 Point, some 87% of students have expressed a willingness to purchase refurbished tech for their university needs with 64% doing this to save money, and 35% seeing it as an eco-friendlier choice.
Student Essentials: Funding Them All
When it comes to the student essentials, mobile phones, laptops, and desktop equipment are at the forefront. Yet, 71% of students are unclear on how they are going to source the money, with 75% anticipating tapping into their savings and another 67% considering the use of credit cards.
And, it’s not just personal funds students are relying on. Over half admit to receiving financial support from their parents, with 63% even contemplating attending a university closer to home to alleviate costs.
While over half of the undergraduate respondents to the survey receive a maintenance loan to offset living expenses, a worrying 42% stated it falls short of their actual needs. This financial shortcoming, combined with the challenges of managing workloads, budgeting, and homesickness, paints a complex picture for student life today.
Tech isn’t the only concern. About 39% of students doubt their ability to afford basic homeware essentials.
To address this, eBay have launched their ‘Back to Uni’ hub, providing discounted student essentials, from desks and chairs to kitchenware and bedding.
Mark Monte-Colombo, from eBay UK’s refurbished technology, voices his concern for students, acknowledging the widespread stereotype of the perpetually ‘skint’ student. However, he emphasises eBay’s commitment to alleviating some of these financial pressures. With initiatives like the ‘Back to Uni’ hub, eBay aims to ensure students can stretch their budgets without compromising on quality.
Other Options to Save Money and Edge Towards a Sustainable Lifestyle
While tech deals and refurbished items have become the go-to solutions for saving money, there’s a broader spectrum of creative and sustainable choices students can explore as they look for their student essentials.
These eco-friendly options not only alleviate the strain on student budgets but can also contribute positively to the environment. From sharing meals to revamping wardrobe choices, students, and others, can edge towards more sustainable living whilst trying to save money.
One of the innovative solutions that students are gravitating towards is ‘food swapping‘. Not only does this allow students to save money, but it also introduces variety into their diets.
For instance, if you have an abundance of a particular ingredient, say pasta, you can swap it with someone who has an excess of another, like tomatoes. This not only reduces waste but also promotes a sense of community amongst students.
Wearing second-hand or ‘pre-loved’ clothing has evolved from a mere money-saving tactic to a significant fashion statement.
Students are increasingly heading to charity shops, vintage stores, or online platforms such as Vinted or Depop that offer pre-loved garments. These options are both lighter on the wallet and have a reduced environmental footprint, ensuring you look good and feel good about your choices.
Upcycling is another trend that’s gaining momentum in student communities.
It involves taking old or discarded items and transforming them into something new and functional maybe turning an old ladder into a quirky bookshelf or an outdated pair of jeans into a trendy tote bag.
Upcycling not only saves money but also fuels creativity, leading to unique items that can’t be found in regular stores.
Combating Food Waste
Being aware of food waste and adopting strategies to combat it is essential. Students can start by planning their meals, storing food correctly, and understanding the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ labels.
A number of innovative apps have emerged which offer practical and efficient ways to manage, share and rescue surplus food. Apps such as OLIO, Too Good To Go and NoWaste are all worth a look.
Is Student Insurance Worth Buying?
Having managed to buy student essentials, there’s also the need to ensure the safety and security of personal belongings and your well-being. That’s where student insurance comes into play.
There are various different types of student insurance available and you need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each from your own perspective.
You also need to understand your needs may be different when living in student university accommodation, perhaps in your first year at uni, compared with living in student accommodation rented from a private or non-university landlord.
Student insurance options to consider include:
- Contents Insurance
- Protects personal belongings like laptops, textbooks, and other equipment against theft, loss, or damage.
- Some contents insurance policies offer ‘walk-in theft’ coverage, which is helpful if you live in shared accommodation.
- There may be limitations on the value of items covered.
- Accidental damages might not always be included.
- Already covered? – Check – you may have a level of cover provided if you are in uni accommodation or possible through your family home contents insurance
- Tenant’s Liability Insurance
- Covers any damage to the landlord’s property, ensuring your deposit isn’t forfeited.
- Can protect against unexpected hefty bills at the end of the tenancy.
- It might be seen as an unnecessary expense if you’re particularly careful.
- Doesn’t cover your personal belongings.
- Already covered? – Check – likely to be included with uni accommodation.
- Gadget Insurance
- Specifically tailored to cover expensive tech items like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
- Often includes provisions for quick replacements, ensuring minimal disruption to studies.
- May be redundant if you already have a comprehensive contents insurance policy.
- Gadget insurance often has specific terms and conditions, and not reading them might leave you with less coverage than anticipated.
- Health and Medical Insurance (especially for international students)
- Covers medical expenses, ensuring students receive necessary healthcare while away from home.
- Might include other services like medical evacuation or repatriation.
- Might be unnecessary if studying in a country with an excellent public health service.
- Could have specific limitations or exclusions based on pre-existing conditions.
- Travel Insurance (for students studying abroad or travelling during breaks)
- Offers protection against travel-related contingencies like trip cancellations, lost baggage, or medical emergencies abroad.
- Might overlap with provisions of health and gadget insurance.
- Some regions or activities might be excluded from standard travel insurance policies.
- Vehicle Insurance (for students with cars or bikes)
- Protects against potential expenses related to accidents or damages to the vehicle.
- Car insurance is legally required in the UK.
- Can be quite expensive, especially for younger drivers.
- Rates might be high in certain areas, perhaps for example in large university towns.
Conclusion: Insurance is all about managing risks. While insurance policies come with associated costs, they can offer peace of mind and financial protection against unforeseen setbacks. You will need to evaluate your unique circumstances, consider the potential risks you might face, and decide which insurances are essential for your particular situation.