Carillon on the move
Inflation is taking a bite out of students’ wallets. What do they say?
With the cost of living shooting up, many students are left floundering to make ends meet. According to Statistics Canada, the Consumer Price Index sits at 6.9 per cent year-over-year last month in October, and it is leaving students with wallets feeling lighter than usual.
Brieanne Oshanek, a fourth-year Business student, has noticed costs going up. Frustrated with the tuition hike, Oshanek is having to save more to compensate for future semesters. Oshanek currently still lives at home with their parents but has seen an increase in groceries.
“I would enjoy spending my money on going out and having fun instead of groceries,” said Oshanek.
Items around campus are increasing in cost as well. If you forget your pen or pencil when heading to class, it may be a little more expensive to buy it from the bookstore, according to fourth-year Accounting student Roanne Suarez. A hike in textbook prices wasn’t the way Suarez wanted to start the semester: “I feel like lots of stuff has been increasing in prices.” Rent, groceries, and gas are all hitting high numbers. Suarez said they have not seen an increase in price where they are renting yet, but they have seen housing payments go up in different ads. With the price of gas so high, there is no room for a Sunday joyride in Suarez’s budget.
“I have to really think about how much I am spending on gas. Like what mileage I am taking up? Where am I going from point A to point B? If I go for groceries, what route should I take,” they said. “I must think about what’s the most efficient route to take, in terms of gas, in terms of groceries, and how much money I am taking out.”
Suarez has thought about taking advantage of the bus pass to get to and from work, but Suarez appreciates the luxury and efficiency of driving in to work. Furthermore, Suarez often works late hours, and the bus system does not run late into the evening which removes it for them as a real option.
“Sometimes [the bus] is late to some destinations, so you can’t rely on them 100 per cent of the time,” said Suarez.
Suarez is putting their $500 affordability cheque toward their rent, but would rather be putting it in the piggy bank for a future Law degree. Even still, hopes of a hot vacation sometime in the near future is what they would most look for too. Besides, Suarez said the $500 affordability cheque meant for tackling debt wouldn’t help as much as money being put into institutions.
“I would put it towards schools, education, maybe reducing debt towards students,” said Suarez when asked what they would do if they were in charge of money.
Many students continue to struggle with the cost of living. In the fall of 2020, tuition went up by 3.5 per cent.
“Tuition has gone up and I am not happy about that,” said Suarez. Another business student, Meerub Ashraf, is not smiling about the price for education going up.
“Business is already expensive, so all I have noticed is a goddamn lot of costs, and I think from last year it went up a little bit too,” said Ashraf. Ashraf’s $500 affordability cheque will be going into the bank to help with next semester’s tuition.
The second-year student said having their parents drop them off or carpooling with friends is how they get to the university for classes. “It is in an effort to save some gas, but we do have some of the same classes, so it is more convenient that way too,” said Ashraf.
Ryan Rimes, a fourth-year Ph.D student is competing with high costs, but said they are not stressed about balancing the budget. “The frustration level isn’t there, it’s just understanding the economics of the situation… I’m not too frustrated, it’s more or less understanding how to work your financials as a student,” said Rimes.
One of Rimes’ biggest tasks is checking grocery prices: “The food bill has increased a lot. […] Vegetables, fruits, things that are imported into Canada, those types of foods are hiked up a lot, and also the meats,” said Rimes.
Rimes said there has not yet been any grocery cart sacrifices to save a few extra dollars, but instead cooking from home a little bit more. “[I’m] moreso sacrificing going out to eat, just focusing on the grocery bill rather than the extraneous things,” said Rimes.
Rimes currently lives in the north end of the city, and gas prices have increased so much, it has added an extra $80 a month onto bills. Rimes explained the potential to use the bus system is hardly an option with how inefficient it can be right now. “Living in Regina I have learned to never trust the bus system here.” Their $500 will go towards rent and groceries, but they would like to put it toward savings.
Blake Coleman, a fourth-year Computer Science student, lives on campus.
“I live in dorms, so expenses are pretty steady throughout the year, but going out and getting snacks is getting more expensive, going out and getting clothing is getting more expensive,” said Coleman.
Transportation is also costing a little bit more. Coleman has noticed gas on the rise, and their vehicle has jumped from $40 to fill it up to $60. Coleman has noticed restaurants on campus are getting more and more expensive on snack runs. Their $500 affordability cheque will be going into rent and fun with friends.
A second-year biology student has seen prices increase in rent from $1,200 to $1,400: “Off campus, prices have been increasing. Rent has gone up over the past year and a half.” Jabez said the rent increase was taking from other parts of their budget: “As a student, it is hard to afford lots of things, so that increase is just a little bit much I guess.”
Jabez has not noticed the increase in price in areas like groceries. Their $500 affordability cheque will go to a car payment to get their car fixed, but they would rather be spending it on school.