Does your student child help with expenses?

(19 Posts)
rosiege Wed 27-May-15 12:50:46

My son is at university and gets a loan and also maintenance grant and luckily seems to find that this is plenty. There is no way I could contribute to his income but I'm wondering whether I can ask him to contribute to our expenses at home during the holidays. I am single and feeling the lack of tax credits and child benefit that I used to get before he was 18.

I rent a two bed flat, which I need so that he has a room to come home to, and my salary is quite low.

As my son's loan/grant is meant to cover him for the whole year, would I be very mean in asking him to contribute to household expenses? So far he has paid for a little grocery shopping, but he has a large appetite and expensive tastes in any case!

Does anybody else do this? of course I would much rather be able to provide everything myself, but it is very hard at the moment.

Maroonie Wed 27-May-15 12:57:51

Can you have a chat to him about it?
Explain what you no longer receive as he is an adult and that you are finding it hard.
has he moved out?
you could explain that you can't afford his empty room anymore due to the drop in income so if he can contribute you will keep your flat but if not you will have to look at moving.
If he is still at home then his loan and grant could be spent on 'rent' to you.

rosiege Wed 27-May-15 13:12:35

Thanks for your ideas Maroonie. I have mentioned it and he agrees though I know he'd rather I just paid for everything which is what most people we know would do - but I would have a more serious talk and make some definite agreement if I was sure that it was the right thing to do. He will have big debts when he leaves anyway but at the moment it seems as if he is MUCH better off than I am!
He is actually away at University (and I'm in London), so needs to pay for all his accommodation and living expenses there. He is now paying for e.g. train tickets for our holiday, which does help. I don't want to move too soon as it's so expensive moving and we've only been in the current place for just over a year. It's true that I could emphasise that living where we are is partly because transport is so good for getting to central London, and this is of great benefit to him when he is working/socialising etc.!!! so that is a helpful thought actually..... thanks!

MagentaVitus Wed 27-May-15 13:17:59

As my son's loan/grant is meant to cover him for the whole year

Its not. Its supposed to cover term time.

I wouldn't ask. I would ask that he gets a summer job and contributes from that though.

Maroonie Wed 27-May-15 13:30:35

The only other advice I can think of would be to make a really good budget and see if there is anything you can cut back on so you can minimise his contributions as much as possible?
A wee point about the food shopping too- you could agree with him that you will stock the cupboards and fridge with the basics that he can have but the extras and expensive tastes can be covered by him.
It's understandable to want to keep supporting him and providing for him, especially as he is studying, but if the money isn't there it isn't there.
As long as you have looked at anything you can cut back on and have talked to him about it then you know you have done your best.

bobs123 Wed 27-May-15 13:39:04

Does he get any maintenance from his Dad? If so, i would expect him to contribute. He can apply for maintenance while at uni in his own right from his dad (if possible)

Has he filled in an HC1 to get free dental/prescription due to low income? I would certainly expect him to buy his own alcohol. As to his expensive tastes - well he can fund them if he is able. Agree with the summer job. My DD1 has a pub job when at home

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Wed 27-May-15 13:42:50

Student loans and maintenance loans aren't intended to cover the whole year, they're meant to cover term times. Does he have a part time job in the holidays? To be honest I would avoid asking for any money if it all possible, although expecting him to pick up grocery shopping etc isn't unreasonable. It's not his fault tax credits and child benefits have stopped.

MissMillament Wed 27-May-15 13:48:35

I would not be asking for money from his student loan/grant. I would definitely however be expecting him to have a holiday job and contribute to your expenses from that.

rosiege Wed 27-May-15 14:30:47

Thanks everyone, yes absolutely - he worked for nearly all the Christmas holidays and plans to in the summer so yes I will ask for some help with food shopping at least from that.
Thank you all for your comments; it's very useful to see what the general feeling is... I suppose that the loan/grant is only meant to cover term time as he's assume to be working in the holidays or else supported by parents. I was thinking about dentists just now so thanks for the tip about the form for low income!

Superexcited Wed 27-May-15 14:37:29

The grants and loans are meant to cover term time only. I wouldn't ask him to contribute unless he had a job during the holidays and jobs that cover holidays only are quite hard to find.
Could you move to a one bed apartment and get a sofa bed for when your son is at home?
You only need to fund his basic living costs when he is at home, if he wants fancy food or alcohol then he should buy them himself. Just buy stuff for basic meals and cheap filling snack foods (cereal, bread for toast etc).

greenpaws Wed 27-May-15 15:25:59

That's what I did when my last dc moved out Superexcited - downsized to a one bed and to a cheaper area, as we didn't need to be in our old flat for schools etc. My dcs all lived in student flats with year-long leases, so never came home much once they went to uni anyway. They would come home for Christmas and odd weekends (sleeping on sofa or fold out beds) and I wouldn't charge them anything for that, but they were staying as guests for those short periods and still paying rent elsewhere. They would help out by getting the groceries and other bits but it's not something I demanded from them.

I think if your DS is expecting to return home (and doesn't have anywhere else to go if his halls don't allow him to stay during holidays) then he has to treat it as a place he'd have to pay to stay in, whether that money comes out of grants, loans or holiday wages.

Also once the dcs had flown the nest I was able to work extra hours as the dc no longer needed me around, and also did some retraining in the evenings which hugely improved my salary eventually. Once your children are out of the picture you have a lot more freedom to focus on your career.

rosiege Wed 27-May-15 15:57:17

My son's university halls require him to move out at the end of each term (I'm fairly sure anyway) and next year he's going to be living in private student residence, so I expect the same will apply.
This is all very interesting. It is nice to be able to have a room for my son as he has nowhere else to go in the holidays and I like to have him around obviously! but eventually I certainly will move to a smaller place and any guests, including the DS, can sleep on the floor. I'll have a big re-think after he leaves university anyway, and will move somewhere cheaper and maybe out of London.
For his third year he will spend a whole year overseas, so I will try to see if I can sublet the room to a student or lodger.

Ah, training for a better career - sounds lovely! but it means more money and I feel I'm rather old for that... I like the positive thinking though and who knows what could be possible?

Yes, re. the food I usually buy mostly basics and he buys his own treats and meals out, transport, clothes etc. I agree, anything he pays me should be based on what he earns in the holidays and he does seem to be quite good about getting jobs.

Thanks so much, it has all focussed the issues very well in my mind.

bobs123 Wed 27-May-15 17:19:41

For those who's DC are just starting uni:

1st yr - some unis require to move out in the hols. This means they won't pay rent over the hols so can save money. Student halls in general are normally based on a 38 week contract. Managed Partnership contracts tend to be longer - over 40 weeks, so get to stay longer but pay more rent
2nd yr on - private houses. Depending on where you are contracts tend to run for 11 months. If DC are staying on in the same house they can normally negociate a 50% discount for the 12th month (August) so they don't have to take all their stuff out. Southamption student house have 12 month contracts so you can literally shift your stuff from one house to the next instead of having to take it all home.

Students in houses can pay all bills (gas etc) via Glide which simplifies thing a lot. However they take quite a cut and my DD preferred to the DIY route. It's best to get all bills included with rent in student houses if possible.

the average uni year is about 7 months so in effect they could be at home for 5 months smile

RedandYellow24 Wed 27-May-15 17:28:28

I think it is ok to ask for money while he is at home, if you are struggling. It's different if it's a week at half term but if it's 3m over the summer that's a very long time.
If your wages needed to be topped up by tax credits s d child benefit now you have to support the both of you it's fair to ask.
Can you ask him what his budget is for the summer? How much is his phone bill, travel eating out clothes costs etc. if you are having to cut down all of your extra bits and peices for yourself to make ends met its only fair he contributes some of his extras too.
While it is lovely if you can support your children for years post 18 it isn't always possible for everyone and it should definelty be the case of 2 adults pooling resources rather than you having to take all the extra

MissMillament Thu 28-May-15 09:33:50

Are there local schools or colleges nearby which have language assistants or PGCE students who need short term, termtime only lodging? That way you could rent his room out while he is away at college and it is still free for the holidays.

rosiege Thu 28-May-15 09:46:50

Thanks for your understanding RedandYellow.... I expect all will become clearer once we know how much DS will be working over the summer (he's also hoping for an internship) and what he needs to spend. He does pay most of his own expenses - far more actually than my sisters' children do, but they have plenty of money. He's certainly learning about the realities of life!

I think it's unlikely that having a local student during the term only would work, as DS is occasionally at home for a weekend or a night and in any case the landlord would have to agree. When he is away for a whole year I will definitely hope to get someone for the room.

Re student houses/halls - I think it must partly depend on the University - my niece has gone the usual route of sharing a house in yr 2 but my son tends to be different and is going to a private student halls. We'll have to see how that works out financially.

thanks again for all the tips/help!

greenpaws Fri 29-May-15 10:28:56

My dcs had the option of halls of residence which were term time only or more independent self catered accommodation which have a full year contract. They chose the latter because they knew I wouldn't be able to manage the full rent on our old home once they were older (and we lost tax credits/child benefit) and I'd have to downsize. They wouldn't have made a choice which would have meant me having to maintain the financial commitment of a more expensive property.

rosiege Fri 29-May-15 11:05:09

That's interesting greenpaws - what considerate children you have! I'm not sure if my son had that option - choosing somewhere for year 2 was quite tricky as a few options fell through. We probably didn't think this through well enough beforehand. He definitely wouldn't be staying in Manchester for the whole year though as he gets work/work experience in London, where we live, in the holidays. I would miss him terribly as well! I will definitely have to downsize eventually so I'll have to face realities, but I suppose if he wants somewhere to live in London he's going to have to help pay for it from his earnings!

Funnily enough we had a difficult conversation re money early this a.m. (not a good time as I was just leaving for work and he'd only just got up!) as he came to London for just a night and I asked if he might contribute to petrol money for when I drive up to fetch him and all his stuff. He wasn't too keen (he's suddenly feeling poorer than he was), but later, having thought about it, he agreed that it wasn't fair for me to pay for what was his travel costs. We're getting there...

dementedma Sat 27-Jun-15 19:50:28

We were caught put when DD moved from halls - term time only- to a shared flat which needed to be paid for all year round. We had to find the rent for June, July and August when she had no SAAS money! Had to borrow to cover it. This year she has got a summer job but won't get her first pay until the end of July so we have had to find June's rent! It isn't easy.......

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