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Student finance - how much is enough to live on?

(72 Posts)
NamingOfParts Thu 20-Dec-12 13:06:30

I'm starting to look at how much we will need to fund DD at university in a year or so's time. I know I am a bit previous but I would like to start planning as my income is variable and unreliable.

Having looked at finances it looks like on this year's figures DD would get a maintenance loan of £5425 (away from home & outside London). Accomodation at one of the universities she is looking at would be £4705 leaving just £720/year or £20/week.

How much will we need to find for DD?

We dont want to be stupidly generous or stupidly mean. I would like DD to enjoy her time at university but I do think that part of the experience is learning to live on a tight budget.

Is £60/week (£20 loan & £40 parents) lots or a little?

Any thoughts gratefully received!

NamingOfParts Fri 28-Dec-12 13:56:42

In terms of level of accommodation at the universities DD is interested in there doesnt seem to be a huge amount of variation just ensuite, shared bathroom and shared room.

Bonsoir Fri 28-Dec-12 14:04:22

It is very hard IMO to draw up a student budget until you know which university she will be studying at - major costs such as accommodation and transport can vary wildly from city to city and self-catering can be a lot cheaper OR a lot more expensive than catered accommodation, depending on how she eats.

When I was at university (many years ago...) I always lived super-close to the university itself so had no transport costs and could go home for lunch every day. I liked that because I am a foodie-introvert but if you are someone who finds it hard to work if not in the library and doesn't care what you eat, you might make other decisions.

SDTGisAChristmassyWolefGenius Fri 28-Dec-12 14:05:29

Ds1 has just finished his first term at university, and after his rent was paid, we budgeted £80 per week for food, clothes, books, entertainment and incidental expenses. His food budget was about £40 per week, and he managed to stay within that, and still eat well (he buys a chicken, some steak and a pack of bacon from Asda's 3-for-£10 offers on meat, and that provides the basis of his meals for the week, pretty much). He's also found that, unless he can get a lift to asda, it is cheaper to order his food on the internet and pay for delivery than to go on the bus.

I have just asked him, and he says that, for a daughter, you might want to budget around £90 to £100 a week, because, and I quote, they will buy more clothes and they tend to buy more expensive drinks. hmm

Bonsoir Fri 28-Dec-12 14:19:28

Actually I agree with that one - girls tend to miss their home comforts more than boys and need more money to buy things that boys don't deem essential (laundry detergent).

NamingOfParts Fri 28-Dec-12 20:34:00

I'm not wanting to fine tune a budget but really start to get to grips with how to manage this. I was wondering whether it was the norm to simply pay money and leave them to get on with it or mix and match a bit more with providing some things and leaving them to sort themselves for others.

SDTGisAChristmassyWolefGenius Fri 28-Dec-12 20:50:53

We made sure that ds1 had the basics when he left - bedding, some kitchen equipment (pans, pizza sheet, grater, kitchen knife, chopping board, wooden spoons), crockery and cutlery, some stuff like plasters etc, towels and some basic stationary, and it was up to him to add other things he found he needed.

I also made up a care package of store cupboard staples - oil, pasta, cereal, baked beans, tea, coffee, jam, bread, rice, milk and some things like tinned chilli, so he could cook himself something without having to go shopping.

Hope that helps. smile

harbingerofdoom Fri 28-Dec-12 21:11:45

OP, my DD is in her second year and there is no way that a chemist could find enough hours to hold down a job. She found that the 'main three' text books were essential purchases and will need them throughout,so no chance of second hand ones.
I find SDTG's allowance almost double what we give. We do a weekly DD. Nothing is fine tuned,we buy books and all kitchen/bedding etc needs. Quite flexible really but I know that she budgets well and isn't profligate.

NamingOfParts Fri 28-Dec-12 21:56:26

Thank you harbinger, you have confirmed what I suspected. I was not really expecting DD to easily get a job term-time as I had heard that Chemistry is fairly intensive in terms of hours required.

I guess that what we will do is get DD started then see what she needs after a couple of weeks.

harbingerofdoom Fri 28-Dec-12 22:26:29

I have two DDs, both in their second year.(One had a gap)
They both get the same amount by DD each week. They are in hugely differing places-cost of living wise.
It's also the first year that both of them have lived 'out'. Let's see what the bills are like ha ha.
DD1 was self catering in her first year. This is probably the best choice unless your DD is likely to poison herself or eats like a horse (sporty).
DD2 was catered and had little choice about this, college based, great for social life (esp for chem).
See how it goes.
Nottingham looks good,was one of DD2's no idea on the rest.

Xenia Sat 29-Dec-12 21:24:04

Gosh, the sexism... why would a daughter need more money than a son? If anything surely it's the other way round - boys tend to buy things for girls still. I would never have considered giving my children different money based on gender.

SDTGisAChristmassyWolefGenius Sat 29-Dec-12 21:34:40

It was my son's opinion, based on his observation of his female student friends during his first term - not an exhaustive study, but not meant as sexist either, Xenia.

Xenia Sun 30-Dec-12 07:49:37

I think it may reflect the sexist way in which some parents bring up girls who want to fashion plates concerned only about external appearance rather than talking about all the issues of the world as students used to do.

Bonsoir Sun 30-Dec-12 08:56:23

I think it reflects the fact that girls at 18 are more developed than boys and do not want to wallow in a cesspit of filth at university wink.

NamingOfParts Sun 30-Dec-12 10:36:57

Having both teen daughters and a teen son what I see is that my DS tends towards the functional in terms of food and clothes. If his belly is full and he can find clothes to wear then his needs are mat. Thankfully he wants to join the Army rather than go to university so all will be well!

SDTGisAChristmassyWolefGenius Sun 30-Dec-12 13:31:56

I can only speak for my son, Bonsoir, and I am pretty sure that he didn't wallow in a cesspit of filth at university - his halls has a laundrette, which he found and used, and he has his own, en suite bathroom. shock[how things have changed since my day emoticon] He did bring home a suitcase full of laundry, but you will be glad to hear that he washed it himself, sorted it out, ironed that which needed ironing, and put it away. He knows me so well! grin

Amerryscot Sun 30-Dec-12 13:45:08

If your DD can get into Imperial, then that will probably be most cost-effective. The student loan for London is much higher than the provinces and there is a much wider range of accommodation. Supermarket food costs the same as anywhere and there needn't be a lot of transportation costs as everything is on the doorstep.

DS1 is in London and he has much better cash flow than DS2 in Bristol.

My boys both get minimum loans (£5000 London and something like £3500 Bristol). We give DS1 £50 pw, and DS2 no pocket money but pay his accommodation.

Scrazy Sun 30-Dec-12 13:52:18

Mine has managed on £7125 max loan, grant, plus £1,000 bursary. She says she is better off than most relying on parental contributions.

NamingOfParts Sun 30-Dec-12 20:02:58

Good point about Imperial Amerryscot. DB was there so I'm sure would be very glad to have DN go there!

Interesting point Scrazy, I remember back when I was a student on full grant (those were the days!), I was better off than students who's parents couldnt afford or didnt want (sadly it happened) to pay the parental contribution.

harbingerofdoom Mon 31-Dec-12 21:10:33

Yes, You can borrow more if you study in London. Borrow=loan =debt.
How much debt do you envisage?
You may find Oxbridge cheaper because of their short terms. You may find other places that offer very good bursaries for specific subjects.
Look into the places that reward excellence. (with subs).

NamingOfParts Mon 31-Dec-12 22:42:24

harbinger, TBH I am not sure if DD really wants to go to Imperial even if she could get the grades (there are no guarantees). One of the downsides is that after the first year accommodation can be a problem - DB was there but has said that after the first year he stayed in some dodgy places which he wouldnt let parents visit.

My DF's advice 30 years ago still applies - have a thought to where your money will go furthest.

harbingerofdoom Mon 31-Dec-12 23:05:02

I didn't mention Imperial. I never advised either of mine to go to London.
Think about your DF's advice....but if your DD can get the grades don't drop out of the Russell Group.

NamingOfParts Mon 31-Dec-12 23:59:11

Sorry harbinger, too many thoughts running through my head. But no, Imperial is only there on the possible list because of DB's connection.

We are midlands so I agree about not pushing DD in the direction of London if there is an alternative.

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