Give your kids a MoneyFit start to university

A-level results are out this month and hopefully your ‘baby’ will get the results they need to set off on the next stage of their lives – university. Maybe the thought of them moving away from home is not a problem if they've been away at school, but the fact that they’ll now be managing their own money full time can be a bit daunting. Here are a few tips for them and you to help you all stay MoneyFit!

 

Agree who’s paying what

The amount of student loan your child will get depends on your income. Many won’t get the full loan – and parents are meant to fill the gap. And that’s just for tuition fees.

Think about other everyday living costs. Will they be living in halls and catered for? Will they need to pay for books or other materials? Sit down and discuss how much all this will cost. Use these Ready Reckoners on the MoneySavingExpert website to help you work out how much you could contribute.

Open a current account

Even if they’ve got a current account it’s probably worth looking at those specifically targeted at students. Some offer 0% overdrafts and others offer free goodies. See MoneySavingExpert’s tips on choosing the right one.

Then set up a standing order to pay in your monthly contribution to their expenses so they know what they’re getting and when. Teach them the basics of budgeting so they can live within their means.

Explain the pros and cons of overdrafts – they’re good if you stick to your limit, but charges kick in if you go beyond it and you can be caught in a vicious cycle that’s tough to escape from.

Brush up on budgeting basics

Suggest they make a list of what everyday expenses they think they’ll have. Will they have to pay for transport, food, drink and snacks? Who’s going to pay for their mobile phone contract and internet package? Remind them they’ll be responsible for their laundry and cleaning. How much will their socialising cost?

Get them to use our Budget Planner to work through this maze and if their outgoings are more than their income, ask them what they think they can do to balance things out. Suggest they search for free budgeting apps to find one that works for them. Encourage them to use them now before they go away.

Pay less for more

One way of keeping everyday costs down is to use discount or loyalty cards. The NUS Extra card is a must for students – it unlocks 200+ student discounts for a small cost.

Lots of retailers offer student discounts, even without the NUS Extra card, so tell them to keep their eyes open – see MoneySavingExpert’s advice.

Another good buy is the 16-25 Railcard for train travel or the Young Persons Coachcard for National Express coaches. Both have an initial fee.

So, now they’re ready to go and reasonably MoneyFit, that’s one thing less for you to worry about!

More information

Budgeting has gone digital
Student Checklist – 60 tips to stretch your student loan
Top Student Guides from MoneySavingExpert
How to stop spending money

 

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