Cost of Living

What is the cost of living crisis?

The cost of living crisis is among us, with prices on food, rent and bills all increasing and life becoming increasingly more expensive. This is difficult for students particularly, when you may only be earning a part time wage, having to pay for course materials and budgeting your termly student loan. UCA has come up with some ways to help you throughout this time, and UCASU can offer some helpful tips and advice on how to make your money last.

What is the university doing to help students?

UCA have set out some plans and initiatives to help students throughout the cost of living crisis. They have made six changes, and these are;

  1. Free Breakfast - Every Tuesday and Thursday between 9-9:45am, you can collect your free breakfast pack from your campus canteen, upon presentation of a valid UCA student ID
  2. £2 Lunchtime Meals - Get a hot meal on campus for just £2
  3. Free Hot Water - Make your own hot drinks or lunchtime snacks on campus with free hot water – all we’ll charge you for is the cup (if you don’t bring a reusable one)
  4. Cheaper Printing - UCA have cut the cost of printing by as much 25%
  5. Heated spaces for you to use for longer - UCA libraries and cafes are open for longer in the week, providing warm spaces for you to continue your studies and socialise. Our Libraries also remain open at weekends.
  6. Easier access to our Financial Support Funds - UCA have made their Financial Support Funds even easier to apply for – so that you can know there’s financial support if you need it.

UCA Financial Support Funds

UCA offers a wide range of support funds for students at all levels, whether you are a FE student, undergraduate, postgraduate or international/EU. Find a full list of financial support that is offered to students both from UCA and external organisations here.
UCA are committed to doing their bit to help you with everyday costs and, if you ever need help with your finances, you can contact the UCA Student Services to see what you may be eligible for.

Eating well on a budget

It is important as a student to make your money stretch as much as you can, and it is totally possible to do this whilst maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. See some money-saving tips below that might be able to help you with this:

  • Bulk buy and bulk make meals, freeze them and eat them throughout the week or month.
  • Be mindful of pricing, try to get the cheaper version of the product you are looking for.
  • Shop in the cheaper supermarkets such as Lidl or Aldi.
  • Put your money together and cook with friends to save on food costs.
  • Plan your meals at the beginning of the week, you can put together a Monday-Sunday plan to guide you through. You could work out a weekly or monthly food budget, and meal planning will ensure you don’t go over budget.
  • Be inventive with what is in your cupboard to avoid food going out of date.
  • Ensure you work with what’s in the cupboard or fridge before going out and buying food or accidentally doubling up on the same items.
  • You don't need to do a 'weekly shop' - if you're cooking for one, sometimes shopping for a whole week means you end up buying fruit and veg that will go off by the end of the week.
  • Buy frozen fruit and veg, it's cheaper than fresh and won’t go off.
  • Check the discounted stuff in the supermarket that's about to go off, if there's stuff worth having in there then you can adjust your meal plan by a day or so and save more money.

Budgeting as a Vegetarian or Vegan

  • Buy 'accidentally vegan' snacks like supermarket own brand crisps, fruit and nut mixes, Oreos, Party Rings...vegan food doesn't have to be fancy or expensive!
  • Make vegan alternatives a 'sometimes' food - buying vegan versions of meat and cheese can be a lot more expensive than using vegetables, beans and legumes - you could make a vegan shepherds pie or lasagna using lentils and vegetables rather than vegan mince and it'll cost you less.
  • Cook bigger batches when you can - on the weekend, make a veggie chilli or curry with a few extra portions to eat at a later time.
  • Don't plan to be someone you're not - if you know that you don't really like a certain vegetable or dish, or you've made a meal plan that's extremely healthy and not particularly appetising to you, you probably won't eat it and you will have wasted the food. Plan meals that you are excited to eat so that you stick to your meal plan.