Folksy Ltd

University living expenses

(Roz) #1

Does anyone have any idea of the average cost of living for a student at Uni. My daughter is off in September and I have no feel for how much she might need. Her accommodation costs are covered by her maintenance grant so its just her food and living costs I need to budget for. How much do they need to live on per week? Any help appreciated.

(Sarah Eves) #2

I don’t think there’s any such thing as an average cost as it depends on so many things - location, maturity of student, lifestyle etc.
When my son was in his first year and living in Cheltenham I gave him too much extra help - which meant his wardrobe contained an awful lot of new (expensive!) clothes but not a lot of food in the fridge.
I learned that however much you give, they will spend it!
In his second year I discovered Tesco would deliver to student houses anywhere in the country for around £3, so instead of extra money on a regular basis I sent food shops instead.

The biggest problem I found over the four years my son was in uni was budgeting…or lack of.
He consistently overspent when the grants/loans went into his bank, only to wonder why is card was refused halfway through university terms!

So - my biggest piece of advice would be - take advantage of Tesco’s food delivery service!

Sarah x

(Bojanglies) #3

I planned on budgeting at Uni… it didn’t happen. I discovered the union bar.
I can’t really help - things have changed so much even in the last 10 years!
I worked through the holidays, and my parents gave me money if I was skint, but the rest came out of savings or the loan.

I know of one father who gives his son £10 a month for London living…

(Roz) #4

I am fairly confident my daughter will be pretty good at budgeting. We have been practicing over the summer holidays with her budgeting, buying and cooking food for herself and I am pretty sure that she could manage basic food on £30 a week. I think anyone would struggle on £10 a month, even living off beans on toast! Its how much I should allow for extras. I don’t want her to be stuck in her room with all her friends out having fun because she has no money but by the same token if I give her too much she will just be treating everyone else as if she has it she will spend it! Also if I give her too much there is little incentive to go out and get a job which I would like her to do. Decisions, decisions!

(Diane Keeble) #5

I have never worked it out per week but one thing that might help is to look at how much the poorest student gets - ie the maximum loan/grant - and work from there. You need to factor in transport costs, books, essential clothes and some extras as well. I think food for one can be more expensive than if the cooking is shared and accommodation costs vary hugely as well - in some places they are barely covered by the maximum loan/grant.

(Helen Smith) #6

I’ve been doing the rounds of unis with my youngest this year and found that York gave out some really helpful info, try looking here

When my eldest went off last year I had no idea at all how much to give him, I’m still not sure I’ve got it right!

(Leanne Oughton) #7

I also think it depends on the person. My sister is in her 2nd year of uni this year and isn’t one for drinking and partying so saves money in that area. She has an Asda and Lidl literally across the road so her food is affordable and she makes shared meals for her group. Her biggest expense is probably books and travel, but she hasn’t had any problems with money just yet :smile:

Leanne x x

(Stephanie Guy) #8

Interesting debate! I hadn’t even considered this until my friend told me she is planning on giving her son £100 pw during term times. He’s going to Bristol. I had thought it would all come out of the loans that they take on - silly me :confused: I’ll be giving this some thought.

(Shirley Woosey) #9

I’m sorry but I am finding some of this quite hard to get my head around.

Since when were parents expected to fund their grown up children to the extent of £100 per week!

When are these young adults going to fend for themselves and stand on their own two feet?

What are these parents going to do if their children don’t finish Uni after the normal three years and then get a job?
Are they going to fund them indefinitely into their 30’s and 40’s?

They are no longer children in need of looking after, they need to get part-time jobs to fund their university education.

Shirley x

(Astrid Huxham ) #10

you can live off about 8 pounds a day foodwise best Astrid.

(Astrid Huxham ) #11

no jobs available Im self employed you got to make your own work now days and be smart! love Astrid.x I applied to 2000 jobs in half a year and got none even after interviews and another guy i know applied to 3000 in one year and got no replies! he appeared on national t.v.

(Amanda Robins) #12

I’m with Shirley on this one. I’ll be facing this dilemma in a couple of years time with my daughter and have told her that if she wants to go to university she’ll have to find the money to survive on, even if she studies locally and stays at home.

(Helen Smith) #13

All financial help over and above the bare minimum is means tested on the parent’s income, isn’t it? As it was even back in my day when the full maintenance grant covered all living expenses including hall fees/rent (unlike now). With the implication that if parents can afford it they should help financially.

Some courses allow time for part time work; some really do not. For £9000 fees a year I know which I would prefer.

(Diane Keeble) #14

If they only get the minimum grant/loan it is nowhere near enough to live on for most of them and the rest has to come from somewhere. We do help our kids out because we both went to uni and found it a great experience and we are lucky that we can afford to do it. I think it depends hugely on individual situations but it is not always easy to get a job that pays much and on some courses you just wouldn’t be able to do it. My daughter has mental health issues and just would not cope with her studying and a job so currently we support her. You have to do what is right for you and your family x

(Shirley Woosey) #15

Di @dikeeblebeadsandjewellery - I can fully understand why you are helping your daughter especially, and your son too.
It does depend on individual circumstances.

What I am finding hard to understand is the expectations of perfectly capable young adults, who seem to think that their parents SHOULD support them, no matter what.

My own kids went to Uni, whereas I and my husband did not. Family finances for both of us, as young teenagers in the sixties and seventies, meant that the money we tipped up from our wages was very much needed by our parents.

After leaving school at 15, I eventually completed my education in my late thirties and early forties. Gaining A levels and a University level qualification in Accountancy. I did my studying whilst holding down three part-time jobs at once (one was scrubbing and cleaning), keeping house and bringing up my two children. I used to lock myself in the shed in order to finish my homework and to drown out the constant cries of “Mum where is this?, Mum, Mum, Mum ?”

I did not fund my children through University and even if I had been financially able to, I would still not have done it. They were both capable of working and supporting themselves.
They need to learn that the world does not revolve around them and that nobody owes them a living. They need to make that living for themselves.
I helped out with food when I could, and my son always went back to London with a bag full of groceries.
But he learnt that if you spend all your grant or loan money straight away on nights out, then you go hungry.
He tells me that he once made a bag of potatoes last all week and there are many different ways of eating them. LOL

My daughter worked in a call centre from 17 and kept this up all the way through Uni. She worked hard, played hard, studied hard and gained a First Degree.
My son only just scraped through but since then has gained a Masters Degree whilst working full time and I am enormously proud of both of them.

They both tell me now, that they are glad they funded themselves and really appreciate being able to look after themselves.

Shirley x

(Roz) #16

I totally agree that they need to learn that things need to be worked for which is partly why I asked this question in the first place. I am lucky enough to have an extremely bright daughter who will hopefully do well at uni and i dont want to deny her the opportunity. However her grant and loan only just cover her fees and part of her accommodation costs. She will not be able to get a job immediately as she needs to move in and get her timetable etc and even then there may not be work available. We are lucky enough to be able to support her to a certain extent but my initial question was really to gauge how much they need to survive without having it too hard or too easy. She knows if she wants more she will have to work for it.

(Shirley Woosey) #17

Roz @Rozcraftz why not do a trial grocery shop with her for a week’s worth of meals, toiletries etc.
You could plan a week’s worth of meals to base it on.
I gave my son a goodie box to take with him with essential items for toiletries and dry groceries to start him off.

Shirley x

(Robyn Mc Clean) #18

its a tough one, my loan covered my rent and then I had to get a part time job for the rest of my money. nights out are cheap and knowing how to cook saved a lot of money . it also depends on what course she will be doing . I was doing fashion and the amount of money needed for sketch books/ materials and printing was insane . when you get there you learn where is cheap for things . you could live well on about £40 a week for everything . but then I went to uni in the midlands and it was cheaper .

(Diane Burton) #19

Yes Helen that’s right, we’ve had to tell Student Finance how much our household income is & how many other dependants there are apart from our daughter (luckily as I earn so little I count as a dependant as well as our 13yo son) Our daughter has received a small grant the first 2 years but next year it’s going down (probably because Hubby got a small pay raise) Our daughter has worked part-time in several jobs whilst doing her course but it has been difficult finding work that is flexible enough to fit around her course commitments, we’ve been making a contribution to her living costs so she doesn’t have to work to feed herself or get stuff for Uni but not enough so she can party every night.

(Diane Burton) #20

We’re helping our daughter with money every month so I know she has enough to feed herself and pay for Uni essentials but not enough so she can party every night, she’s taken various part-time jobs to earn extra for the fun things. The worry we had was that it if she had to totally fund herself her studies would suffer and then she’d come out with a poorer degree or none at all which would be a waste of her time and leave her feeling useless. Once she finishes her degree (this time next year) she will have to fund herself either through a job or benefits if she can’t find a job, if she wants to do any post-grad studies she’ll also need to sort out her own finances. Also if we hadn’t helped she may have ended up with an even bigger debt than she will have at the end of her 3 years (£9000 per year for her tuition fees and her maintenance loan which has just about covered her rent)