Why do students have no money?

The stereotype regarding students is that they are poor, surviving on their student loan or an allowance of some sort. However, there are definitely plenty of ways to make money at university, small or large, you’ve just got to be willing to make the initial investment, whether that be time, money or both. So why do students never seem to have any money? I think it comes down to a few key spending habits, and some slightly more unconscious features of many student’s human nature. The first, and most obvious, is the gross overspending students seem to be incapable of avoiding, myself included.

“Food is another beast”

Someone who can’t stay away from a takeaway

Overspending at uni regularly comes in two forms, alcohol and food. These also often come hand in hand, given the overbearing need for a kebab at 3am after you leave a bar or club. A bit of self control is all that is needed to stop this, in the same way that a bit of self control is all I need to stop myself buying 12 jager bombs as soon as I find out about a 3 for £5 deal. This self control often gets lost as soon as alcohol is initially involved, and so you hit the downward spiral which both your wallet and liver experience simultaneously. My answer to avoiding this would be to not take your card out, leaving you with forced self control! However, food is a whole other beast. Not only does it hit you on a night out, but also the day after when you can’t be bothered to cook, and if it was acceptable, you’d have the delivery driver let himself in and feed it to you himself. This overall pattern happens again and again, however often you try and avoid it, until you simply accept the fact that at least a tenner is being spent every time you’re hungover.

The loan can never come soon enough

Now, overspending on specific things definitely hits the wallet hard, but what hits the wallet more than anyone can fathom is overconfidence with your money. When the student finance drops, there’s a mad frenzy of ASOS orders, Amazon parcels, nights out and anything you can whip your bank card out for. This links to the fact that I believe the majority of students (or at least my experience of them) have very minimal foresight. Very few think about the fact they may need money for the last few weeks of university, or for the holiday period, and hence splash it quickly and then complain about having no money to spend. Obviously this is hugely stereotyped, but often there’s a stereotype for a reason.

My final two thoughts, which relate more to why students don’t get more money, sum up the student attitude the most in my opinion. Many people say that our “millennial” generation are entitled, and simply assume we should be able to get things, hence when we can’t afford them we complain. I think there is an inherent need to complain embedded within our generation, however, I don’t feel it’s based on entitlement. I feel as though there is currently a lack of motivation to make money once you’re at university. Instead of making the money in order to afford the extra food, clothes, nights out etc. we are either happy living at a lower standard and simply spending less, or for those lucky ones who can, ask their parents to fund their escapades. In reality, maybe if we were educated in money and taught how to budget from an early age, all this would be different. But until then, this is how it will be!

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