Solidarity groceries, sacrificed leisure, mutual aid… Three students tell of their difficulties, while the cost of going back to university is rising sharply this year.
“I know it’s not very green, but I still keep the receipts”even if they are no longer systematically printed since August 1. Rayan laughs at this detail, a little less at the evolution of the prices of his favorite products. Milk, cereals, white yogurt: this great sportsman, who is entering a master’s degree in science and techniques of physical and sports activities (Staps) in Amiens (Somme), feels inflation on a daily basis and has turned to solidarity grocery stores. A way for him to save money, while the two main student organizations, Fage and Unef, were alarmed by a considerable increase in the cost of the start of the academic year.
“I take lots of things and I get two euros. A carton of milk costs me 30 cents, while a pack in the store… The prices are absurd, so I try to anticipate, but I only take what I need urgently”recognizes Rayan, who spends his summer working, a story of “reduce the charges for (his) parents and pay (her) rent.”
“Sacrifices on food”
To eat, Louison often turns to the economy of anti-waste. “I watch Too Good to go (an application that allows you to collect unsold items from merchants) or Linkee, an association that offers baskets of vegetables. Otherwise, I try to go see at the end of the day at the Biocoop store near my home to pick up their products that will expire. But hey, it takes time, and you have to dare”confides this student in the third year of social service assistant, also at the head of Gaelis, an association which helps students in Lyon.
Louison also remarks that “many make sacrifices on food” due to rising prices. According to Fage, food-related costs will reach 206.35 euros per student for the month of September 2023. That is an increase “by 15.34% compared to the start of the 2022 school year.”
Student in the second year of master information-communication in Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme), Léa confirms. “It’s very difficult to have fun if you don’t want to blow up the budget. Everything quickly becomes expensive, especially if you look at the big brands”says the young woman.
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His parades? Seasonal products, unsold products or products “of lesser quality because they are less expensive”. On a scholarship, this student benefits from APL, and is lucky to have parents who pay her rent (which represents 44.5% of the daily living costs of students according to Fage). “Without their help, I have no idea how I could manage.“, explains Léa, who is faced with many charges (insurance, electricity, shopping, transport…).
“Despite the little tricks of the hot water bottle and extra layers of clothing, it is quite cold in my apartment, which is poorly insulated. I had my energy bills regularized by 135 euros and an increase of around 20 euros of my monthly payments.”Léa, student in Clermont-Ferrand
Rayan saw his rent of 400 euros increase by “20-25 euros because of electricity and water”. Whoever intends to become a sports coach will therefore have to make choices and sacrifices. “I will delay small pleasures. I often go climbing, where I take a subscription of 10 entries, but maybe there, I will not do it for a while”he slips.
Dealabs and Netflix account sharing
Rayan, by the way, has a few little tricks he uses on a daily basis. “There are no small savings so now I have plenty of loyalty cards. I discovered Dealabs (a site that shares promotions and bargains) and I go to LidL.” The student, however, admits that he hardly goes to the cinema anymore, is thinking of stopping his subscription to the Spotify music streaming service and shares a Netflix account with friends.
“Everything is calculated, everything is reflected. You have to look for the best prices, the best alternatives, find compromises, sometimes also give up”, explains for her part Léa, who more and more often turns her back on “pleasure shopping”. “I ask myself much more the question of if I need it, if it is essential”, she explains.
For Louison, there is still “the pleasure of the month”. “I allow myself something more specific: clothes, cheese, hair color.” History, despite everything, to keep the morale.
“We don’t dare say that we need something, that we want help. In my association, some write to us to tell us that they are uncomfortable using grocery stores united, they are afraid of the gaze of others.Louison, student in Lyon and president of the Gaelis association
Faced with the rising cost of student living, Fage is concerned about the social situation of students “which is deteriorating considerably”. She therefore plead for “urgent actions”, among “the freezing of rents and rental charges for Crous residences”. Unef, for its part, speaks of“a stage of major student precariousness that sets in over time“. The union demands in particular “an autonomy allowance up to the poverty line”.