Curtin University students say they are more cautious than ever of spending, following a record-breaking rise in the national inflation rate.
Inflation in Australia has increased by more than six per cent, the highest increase since 2001.
The cost of everyday essential items like fuel and groceries has increased significantly this year, with many students working on low to minimum wages as they try to commit to full-time study.
Many students say they have reduced their spending on food and are opting to dine at home to save money.
Student Sky Vidamo says the last few months have been difficult as she tries to balance work and university.
“I work full-time and also have a casual job, it has been a bit hard for me to juggle everything,” she says.
“Sometimes I do 50 hour work weeks and study full-time. Basically I don’t have time for a social life.”
Curtin student and Guild president Dylan Botica says students are worried about their finances. They say the Guild has plans in place to support those who are struggling.
“We know that there’s particular cost pressures around goods and services that students really rely on and the pressures these put on students are having a massive effect on students at Curtin,” he says.
“At the moment everyone is much more cautious about spending money.”
Mr Botica says the Guild’s student assist service is confidential and free for students and helps with academic, welfare, and financial issues.
The Guild has also runs a food pantry, as well as a laptop loaning scheme.
House prices have also increased nine per cent since last year making housing affordability a growing issue.
“Personally I have been trying to save to try and work towards getting a deposit for a house,” Botica says.
“Those savings are really what I am relying on now to be able to afford the day to day … and that’s obviously pushed down the road a lot of what I was hoping to be doing soon.”
The Student Guild has been working with the university to lower costs for students including reducing parking fines, but so far no agreement has been met.
Curtin University did not comment on the issue.
Associate professor of accounting and finance at Edith Cowan University Dr Simone Scagnelli says there are ways students can earn extra money as inflation grows.
“We all need to do research on what we spend [and] look for options that allow us to spend a little bit less even when shopping for groceries. Be a little bit more cautious, be more aware of how you spend money,” he says.
Dr Scagnelli says some students with spare time may be able to make some extra money through “side hustles” such as hiring out their car or signing up for freelance jobs advertised online.