Skipping meals, being injected with malaria for clinical trials, working long hours in Tesco - just some of the ways first-year students at university manage to survive financially - while others just drop out.
As hundreds of thousands of young people, A-level results in hand, start heading off to university we asked students who did the same thing last year what life was like financially.
So how do hard-pressed students keep on top of their finances? This is what we found . . .
"I wasn't convinced my degree was worth pounds 9,000 a year, so I left," says
The 19-year-old, from Leybourne in
But two months into his course, on a field trip to
"Then it suddenly clicked. I realised I didn't want to do it any more. Mum told me to stay in
"But I wasn't having any of it. I'd made up my mind."
He jumped on a train home and never went back. "If I'm not happy doing something, I won't do it. And I was very aware of the money. Is it really worth all that debt, and no guarantee of work?"
Figures from the
Ollie quickly got a job as a junior broker for an investment firm, but was spending more than pounds 450 a month commuting to the City and his pay was based on commission. He left after a few months.
He is looking forward to starting a new job in September as a claims support adviser for a specialist insurance company in Kings Hill, just down the road from Leybourne.
Next year he can start studying for a qualification from the
"I used to think that a degree was essential. And it might be in some professions, but in other industries it's about experience and who you know."
Working in Tesco:
It's the second most expensive place to in
He says he has had to be "very cautious" - to the point of skipping meals.
Matt, from Beaconsfield,
Around half of students have a full- or part-time job, according to the Lloyds survey. Matt earns about pounds 7.50 an hour and works 13 hours over the weekend. He also gets a 10% staff discount on shopping at the supermarket, but still has to watch the pennies.
In his first few months as a fresher he budgeted just pounds 15 a week to spend on food. "I only bought things on special offer. For about a month or two I was only having one meal a day. I would wake up at around lunchtime but I wouldn't eat until four or five 0'clock. That would see me through until the next day".
He loosened the purse strings toward the end of the year, increasing his food budget to pounds 25 a week.
His biggest cost is accommodation. Last year he paid pounds 470 a month for his room in a house-share with seven other students, although it will be slightly less this year after the group found a cheaper place.
"The maintenance loan doesn't even cover my rent. There is a massive problem with the lack of affordable accommodation."
Matt is the first person in his family to go to university. His mum is a hairdresser and his dad a car salesman. He says life as a student is different if you don't have financial support from your parents. You can't go out as much because you don't have mum and dad to fall back on and ask for money."
Unlike almost every other cash-strapped student, Matt has resisted the temptation to open a student bank account with a huge interest-free overdraft, using a standard
"Most students see overdrafts as their money, rather than debt they will owe to the bank. A pounds 500 overdraft means pounds 500 to spend as they like. I don't see it like that but, if worst comes to the worst, I would open one."
Taking part in clinical trials:
Lucy is studying French and has taken part in clinical trials and sold clothes on
The 20-year-old, from
"Some wealthier students from private school clearly don't have the same financial concerns, but most people are in the same boat. We're all trying to save money."
Part-time work is frowned upon by the university, says Lucy, as it detracts from time spent studying. Instead, she has been taking part in psychological and clinical trials. "There are so many labs in Oxford, so you can sign up to emails sent out by Masters and PhD students needing volunteers. A friend is working on a project involving mild brain stimulation. I had to do a memory exercise and earned pounds 30. My boyfriend was given a minor strain of malaria. He earned about pounds 1,200."
This summer she also turned to
Lucy is careful about budgeting. "I'm not from a wealthy family and I've been brought up to look for ways to save." She uses an app called Visual Budget to check income and expenditure, but regularly checks her balance using
"I also get text alerts if there has been a change in my balance."
The 20-year-old, from Milnthorpe,
Charlotte was staying in student accommodation in
Faced with the prospect of a similar bill this year, she decided to apply through Ucas to complete the course at the University of
It wasn't just rent that took her by surprise in
She received a maintenance loan of pounds 6,858 and a non-repayable grant of pounds 2,058. "I had to pay 40% of my rent for the year in September, but at that time I had only received the lowest of my three loan instalments. I had to borrow from my family to cover it and that set me on the backfoot for the rest of the year."
Her maintenance loan will fall to pounds 3,862 in
Charlotte is already pounds 1,100 in the red. "I made a budget before starting but the timing of my student loan instalments and rental payments made it hard to plan. Next year I'm going to set myself a weekly budget."
Fortunately, she got a bursary for pounds 10,000 through her bank,
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