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Part-time jobs and the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis is on everyone’s mind. At the Careers Service, we know many of our students need to work part-time to support themselves financially. Sara Tsompanidi, Careers Information Adviser, focuses on ways to adapt financially during this challenging period and talks about how the Careers Service can help you. 

According to the recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey, nine out of ten students reported that their cost of living has increased compared to 2021, with the same number worried about the cost of living crisis. More than three-quarters of students were concerned that the cost of living crisis might impact their studies, and around half said that their mental health and wellbeing had worsened over the last few months. 

The University is keen to support students at this difficult time. This webpage summarises advice and sources of support. 

So, how can students manage their finances during their studies?  

Plan your budget

The University of Edinburgh provides valuable information that can help you plan your budget. It’s a good idea to start by working out your expected income and expenditure. The University offers information about typical living costs and other costs that a student needs to be aware of.  

Once you’ve worked out your income and expenses, track your spending so you don’t unexpectedly run out of money. There are a variety of budget planners and tracking apps that can help you with this. Keeping track of your expenditure will help you understand where you spend money. If your expenses exceed your income, you should rethink where you spend money and spotlight areas where you might make changes.  

An excellent way to support your budget is to buy second-hand – from clothing to books and kitchenware to electronics. Edinburgh is full of charity shops where you can purchase affordable quality items. Also, students are entitled to discounts, so do your research. Sometimes, you can also find special initiatives for students, like the Breakfast Club from Edinburgh University Students’ Association.

The Advice Place offers a variety of resources that can help you find out more about how you can support yourself financially and ask for financial help if you need it. Learning how to manage your finances and living well for less is a valuable skill that will accompany you throughout your life. 

Part-time work

Working part-time while studying is a great way to build experience, meet new people and support yourself financially.  

There may be more options than you think of when looking for part-time work. The Careers Service can help you navigate this process by supporting you in considering various possibilities, from part-time roles to freelancing, to apps offering shift work.  

MyCareerHub is a great starting point when looking for a part-time job. The Careers Service advertises hundreds of jobs there on behalf of employers of all kinds. For suggestions of other places to look, see our webpage ‘Where to look for part-time and vacation work.   

If you’re an international student and want to do some part-time work, you need to check your visa to find out what’s the case with your situation. However, most students on a Student visa are allowed to work up to 20 hours. 

Balancing your work and studies

Part-time work has many benefits. However, your wellbeing is fundamental and balancing your work and studies is highly important. The Careers Service recommends that full-time undergraduates work no more than 15 hours a week. If you decide to do any kind of work, you need to plan, be disciplined and manage your time effectively so your work doesn’t impact your studies – with possible consequences for your mental health. 

Getting help from the Careers Service 

We know applying for part-time jobs can seem daunting – the Careers Service can help make this process manageable and enjoyable.  

Our Careers Service website offers information about how to write your CV and application. Once you’ve read our resources and written your CV, if you feel you need more support, come to one of our drop-ins where our Careers Information Advisers will give you feedback. Alternatively, booking an appointment with a Careers Consultant to discuss your application in depth is also an option. 


(Image credit: Gary Barnes on Pexels) 


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