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How to boost your finances as a student in the world of COVID-19

From cancelled internships to paying rent for a room we can’t live in, students have been hit hard by the secondary effects of COVID-19. As a finalist myself, the prospect of venturing into an already-sparse job market in the middle of a global pandemic is daunting to say the least, but it’s a trepidation soon-to-be graduates across the country share in.

With jobs put on hold and money continuing to trickle out of bank accounts, students everywhere are feeling the financial strain. Coping with the loss of the coins that seem to be disappearing rapidly from our pockets is a difficult feat, but it’s one that is entirely possible if you keep a few things in mind.

As students, we all have a skill at our disposal that can potentially be profited from: knowledge.

Many students have part-time jobs in industries that are unable to trade in the current climate, like retail or hospitality. When you don’t make enough to be granted furlough and the date of your next pay cheque is unknown, making a few changes or taking up a few opportunities can help save some vital funds to keep you going.

As students, we all have a skill at our disposal that can potentially be profited from: knowledge. If you’re at home, find a community Facebook group for your area and offer your services as a tutor; with kids sat at home and schools remaining shut for the majority, many parents are looking for someone to take over the home schooling. Doing a degree gives you the credibility of being a specialist in your subject and is just one way of generating some funds from the safety and comfort of your room.

Exploring creative outlets might mean you discover a hidden talent that people will be willing to pay for. Since lockdown was imposed, I’ve been using the spare time I’ve gained to open an Etsy shop selling pressed flower jewellery and phone cases. Not only it is a fun thing to spend my lazy afternoons doing, but I’ve made some money from my efforts too and, with a site such as Etsy, selling is incredibly easy. Start a tiny business, and you get the satisfaction of a productive outlet combined with the bonus of some profit.

Exploring creative outlets might mean you discover a hidden talent that people will be willing to pay for. Start a tiny business, and you get the satisfaction of a productive outlet combined with the bonus of some profit.

When you’re stuck at home bored, online shopping is tempting. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of buying things online for the temporary serotonin rush that a new delivery grants you, but, when times are tough, you may want to stage an Amazon intervention for yourself.

Instead of impulse buying, add things to your basket and let them sit there for a few days. Chances are, when you go back, you won’t be so enthusiastic about the purchase as you initially thought you were. If you still want it a week later, then it’s okay to treat yourself – after all, unprecedented times require a bit of self-care. This also goes for food; as restaurants begin to reopen, resist the urge to make up for all the lost burgers you missed out on and treat take-out as an occasional treat.

Though internships and graduate jobs seem to be plummeting into the COVID-19 void, reassessing your focus might bring up some new opportunities. The London bubble is the hub of many industries, but it’s also where a lot of jobs are falling through, as big companies can afford to divert their funds elsewhere and are not desperate for more manpower. Expanding your search to smaller businesses in your local area or in smaller cities and towns will more likely be a successful endeavour.

Expanding your search to smaller businesses in your local area or in smaller cities and towns will more likely be a successful endeavour.

Smaller businesses genuinely need the people to fill the role and the applicant pool is smaller than the glossy internship at Goldman Sachs you had your sights set on. It may not be as glamorous but working in a smaller business provides you with a hands-on experience that you probably wouldn’t get working at a big name, and any experience is a positive foot in the door.

By making a couple of changes and potentially taking up a few opportunities you may not have previously considered, battling the financial strain as a student is easier than first anticipated. Keep that piggy bank pacified: with all the money you save, the first post-lockdown celebration will make your penny pinching worth the hassle.

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