Students are choosing to ditch clubbing and nights out at the pub in order to cover their bills, rent, and groceries.
Less disposable income and the increasing price of essentials has also led to a notable decline in patronage at entertainment venues across the Illawarra.
Nightlife is typically a main part of the university experience, but due to the cost-of-living crisis, many are seeking alternative ways of enjoying an evening with friends, and businesses throughout the Illawarra are feeling the pinch.
A typical student night out costs between $60 and $100, which covers the cost of transportation, drinks, and a post-club meal.
Third year communications student Emily said that her social habits have changed since she began university in 2021.
“In my first year I used to go clubbing almost every week, but it’s just become too expensive, and I just can’t justify it anymore.
“My friends and I would rather stay in and do a potluck or something over going out.”
Popular nightclub Heyday has also made adjustments to their marketing strategies to encourage students to come out, offering free food and a system called ‘Uber buy back’ where they provide drink vouchers for the cost of your Uber.
In a report conducted by Business Illawarra, it was revealed that local businesses greatest concern is the drop in consumer spending with business confidence falling significantly between February and March.
Bar manager Tom Sienkiewicz said that the North Gong Hotel has felt the pinch.
“The first thing to go is always nightlife because it’s obviously like, ‘Can I afford groceries, or would I rather go out for a drink with my mates?’” Mr Sienkiewicz said.
“I know the one I’d prefer to do but I actually need to eat to survive.”