Affording life as a student is harder than ever

Someone opening an empty wallet. CREDIT: EMMA BUTLER
Many students are in desperate need of income to keep themselves afloat.

Being a student can be difficult for many reasons, whether it’s managing time, getting good grades, or living costs. Many students who attend Fanshawe live off campus and have to figure out ways to survive. This entails spending money on rent, utilities, food, and transportation. Since the pandemic, lots of people and students have faced issues coming up with money to live day-to-day.

A Fanshawe student who is in their third year, has seen what the pandemic has done to this city and everyone who was affected by it. They lived in residence on campus for the first year of their school term but decided to find a place to rent for the remaining two years.

“Finding a place to rent was very hard for me, it took me a long time to find a place that is not in a nice neighbourhood. I pay over a $1,000 a month, plus utilities,” they said.

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The problem does not stop there. Since the pandemic hit, people have had a hard time saving and trying to make a financial budget to keep themselves afloat. It is easy to say that you can budget for things, but when the price of living, food, and gas is rising daily, it is very hard to see that become realistic.

“The sad thing is, I work as much as I can when I’m not in class just to see myself still fall into debt,” the student said. “I applied to OSAP and got approved and I use my credit card, but even still I find myself short of cash and having to make sacrifices on what I am spending my money on.”

Fanshawe does have guidance for students who are in need of financial help, but they can only do so much for them. According to Statistics Canada, the monthly food average chart from Oct. 2020 to Feb. 2022 shows that most food items have increased in price and will continue to do so.

At the start of the pandemic, the average price of gas in Canada was approximately $0.80, and people were able to get gas without breaking their banks. Now it has been reaching the highest amount that has ever been seen and is not dropping, causing people to change how they get around and spend their money.

“I have a car, and I used to drive it to most places I needed to get too. Now I can’t afford gas, so I walk a lot more and take the bus. I know this isn’t a terrible thing to walk, but it can be hard to get to work on time or class because of how far I live from both places,” the student said.

This student has seen a change in the city due to financial issues and they believe that the pandemic had a big part to play in it.

“I am very angry with what is going on with our economy and the civilians who are impacted by it all. I am a college student who has had to go to a food bank just to get my next meal, even though I work and have OSAP. I cannot compare myself to those living on the streets, but something needs to change because this is becoming a bigger issue,” they said.