If your child headed off to university this September, they’ll already be well into their first experience of student life – and dealing with all the new responsibilities that come with it.
As a parent, it’s likely that you’ve already had a fair few telephone calls from your offspring, whether they’ve been asking how much a TV licence costs, how long it takes to boil an egg or what to do when they’ve accidentally shrunk their jeans in the wash!
Along with these and other ‘coming-of-age’ student experiences, it’s likely your child will have new financial challenges to face too.
With you no longer holding the purse strings quite so tightly, your offspring will be managing everything from rent, utilities, food, transport and other university costs pretty much on their own – and you might be worried about how well they’ll fare keeping on top of all their costs.
Here are some ideas for helping your child to manage their money well at university.
A well thought-out budget can make all the difference to a student’s finances – and help them to keep a close eye on how much money they have available to spend, and where it all goes from week to week.
There are a lot of costs students have to consider – from food, rent and bills, to stationery, books and other university costs – and sticking to a tight budget can make a big difference.
There are several ways you could help your child to budget for their student costs:
- Help them to draw up a list of all their essential monthly outgoings, and how much they cost – such as rent, energy bills, food and transport. Setting up Direct Debits for rent and any other important monthly outgoings can ensure your child doesn’t forget to make these payments.
- Suggest that your child reviews their finances on a regular basis. Some weeks they may spend less than others, such as ‘reading week’ or when they’re back home during the holidays, so the money that’s saved can be moved elsewhere in their budget.
- As a student, it’s important to keep an eye on all your income, such as your Student Loan payments (which will usually arrive in your account every term), any earnings from a part-time job, and any other regular income you receive. As a parent, it’s worthwhile encouraging your child to keep an eye on bank statements, or register for SMS alerts that can give them updates on their balance.
- Help your child get the most suitable bank account for all their needs as a student. Some basic bank accounts are designed to make budgeting simpler, by splitting the account holder’s money into separate accounts: one for all their bills and essential costs, and another for their spending money.Find out more on how a basic bank account and the alternatives could help by researching different providers.
Following these budgeting tips could not only help your child manage their finances well at university, but could also give you the peace of mind that they’re not getting into any financial troubles – not to mention giving you (hopefully) one fewer phone call asking for a bit of extra money!