2 August 2016
Students are turning to gambling to make ends meet
With rising living costs and maintenance loans that barely even cover current rent prices, students are taking a gamble in order to make ends meet at uni.
8 out of 10 students in the UK worry about money whilst studying, our National Student Money Survey 2016 has revealed.
In fact, as one student recently told The Independent:
Speak to any university undergraduate, and you’ll often find their biggest source of concern is their finances – not their course load.
On average, we found that students need to find an additional £250 every month to cope with rising living costs, as maintenance loans fall short of what's needed to survive each month.
For those who don't have parents to rely on or who are unable to work part-time whilst they study, a bit more creativity is necessary – which is why 7% of students surveyed say they gamble for that extra cash.
The students gambling to make ends meet
Anna-Louise is a first year UCL student who's building on her savings by betting on horses. In three months, she's made £300 from a £5 stake.
After spending some time betting on football casually, she began gambling more seriously when she started university to help support herself. She says:
When I was betting for fun on football I was probably losing £5 every month or so because I was only doing it for fun, but since [doing it seriously] I haven't lost any of my own personal money, only money that I've won through bets anyway.
Will, a student in his second year, has an investment portfolio but is currently focusing more on gambling as he says he can make more money quickly that way.
Both students say they're fully aware of the risks – Anna-Louise knows that betting isn't a sure-fire way to make cash, but says she is “sensible” and knows when to quit.
This is something that Will acknowledges, too. He says:
Of course I'm quite good at stopping… Others may not have that self control.
However, it's worth remembering that almost anyone who gambles believes they can stop at any time. GambleAware.co.uk claims 590,000 people in the UK may have a gambling problem without necessarily being aware of it.
Gambling is a dangerous route to go down and there's no guarantee that you'll make money (and nothing to stop you from losing a good wad of it, either).
Our finance expert, Jake Butler, had this to say:
At Save the Student, we would never condone gambling as a way to make money and it's disappointing to see that the current student loan system is pushing some students down this path due to sheer desperation.
If you ever consider gambling yourself, it's important to know how incredibly addictive it can be, and remember the odds are never in your favour – no matter how much it might feel otherwise!
Always seek advice from your university or sites like Save the Student if you're having serious money worries.
How else are students making money?
It seems that students are certainly no strangers to risk when it comes to making cash – 4% of those we surveyed sell their bodies to support themselves whilst 2% rely on payday loans. Check out our guide about the dangers of payday loans, as well as some alternative options.
On the bright side, we found that 7% of students are becoming their own boss for extra moolah! If you fancy yourself the next Sir Sugar, why not start up your own business?
If you're struggling to make ends meet, remember you're not alone, and we're here to help! Start by checking out our saving money section as well as our budgeting guide to help you get on top of your finances!
Ever made money in an ‘unusual' way? Get in touch to let us know your story, or comment below!
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