how much to live on per week if self catering?

(23 Posts)
SoonerthanIthought Fri 05-Jul-19 15:41:40

So, I know the maximum maintenance loan is £8700 for living away from home outside London - though obviously how far that amount goes depends on how much the rent is!
So what I was wondering was, how much is a reasonable amount for a student to live on after rent, outside London, during term time, if they're self-catered? How do most parents do their contribution if they make it up - do they make it up to the £8700 - or does it actually work out as more? And if you calculate on a weekly basis do you leave out holidays as food bills are then covered by dparents?

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TheFirstOHN Fri 05-Jul-19 17:14:51

It varies. Some parts of the country are much more expensive than others. Some 18 year olds are happy to live on rice and beans; others aren't. Some students will be working part-time; others will find a part-time job harder to fit in with the time demands of the course.

Based on previous threads, the response seems to be between £50 to £100 per week to live on (including food, travel etc but not including rent and utilities).

SoonerthanIthought Fri 05-Jul-19 17:37:30

Thanks Firstohn! I thought there must be previous threads - have just been reading the one about the parental contribution - but couldn't find anywhere about how much it actually costs a student to live!

£50 - £100 a week sounds not unreasonable - though again I suppose it depends on local variants such as how much are bus fares, nights out etc. I know a lot of dparents say students can work part-time but I think that can be hard during the term, depending on the course - though obviously summer holidays provides an opportunity if you're lucky enough to live in an area with enough temp employment. If rent is about £6k a year (high but not inconceivably so) then making up the maintenance grant gives dc about £2700 to live on - about £70 a week if you exclude holidays?

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SoonerthanIthought Fri 05-Jul-19 18:45:17

have been searching threads again, but suspect the discussion may be in one of the mega threads! Still, I suppose one way would be to start with the equivalent of say £80 a week and say if it isn't enough we can discuss again?

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BackforGood Fri 05-Jul-19 19:12:51

This is asked regularly on MN. It really is a how ling is a piece of string' questions, where some of us can't believe how much some parents give their students and others can't believe how little others have to live on.

My dd (now at end of her 2nd year) has £35 pw from mid Sept until end of May. I don't stop it over Christmas and Easter but don't give her money in the Summer. Nor do I charge her anything for food etc when she is home. She says it is plenty. She does work in the holidays (though on a 'when she can pick up shifts basis, so by not means FT), and this year she does some hours during the week at University too (didn't bother in first year).
She was actually unable to work most of last Summer due to a broken collar bone, so didn't save much, but she still manages a good social life and to be able to run a car (pay all expenses, insurance etc) from her earnings and what we give her.
We settled on £35 as ds was at University for 3 yrs before that and started on £30 and gradually moved up to £35. He managed too and he is much more of a spender than him.

78percentLindt Fri 05-Jul-19 19:31:38

It depends on quite a lot. In hall all of the bills are paid ( including Wifi) Our sons had about £40 per week to live on, which was plenty. Later on, they will be paying for utilities as well, so may need a bit more.It is worth explaining that a more expensive house with double glazing, doors that close properly and decent insulation is worth it. Both DS learnt the hard way- eg.a beautiful Georgian listed building with no insulation cost a fortune to heat, and they all bought thermals, and a poorly insulated, single glazed end terrace with an inaccessible, damp basement and wooden floors on the ground floor was not great either. ( I bought thermal curtains to cut down on the draughts
One DS was at University in the South and the other in the East Midlands, EM is much cheaper to live, and he had the same money to live on as his brother who was at Uni, 3 years before him..

titchy Fri 05-Jul-19 19:39:30

We give ours £400 a month term time only. £150 a month goes on food and phone. Another £50 travel. So £50 a week for clothes/ going out/ books/ festival tickets/ ball tickets.


SoonerthanIthought Fri 05-Jul-19 20:35:28

Thanks all, this is so useful! As pp say, lots of variety - between £35 and £100 within the space of a few posts! I guess it partly depends on how 'all-inclusive' the amount is - if you're already paying for the phone, for instance, that might carry on separately.

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78percentLindt Sat 06-Jul-19 08:50:48

Yes, I paid for mobiles, but when ds1 wanted a fancier phone, I increased his allowance by the sum I was paying for the old one. Thinking about it I topped up a supermarket gift card for DS2 as well. I got a discount via my union, so £50 on the card cost me £45. i think that makes it near £65 per week.

SoonerthanIthought Sat 06-Jul-19 09:01:29

Yes Lindt it makes sense to get them to transfer the phone contract to themselves at some point - more 'adult', even if the allowance is paying for it!
My impression is that some dparents also pay separately for things they don't want dc to skimp on, such as course books. Or maybe club subscriptions if they want to encourage them to join things. Whereas with self catering it does make sense to encourage a bit of frugality on the food side - and on clothes of course!

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Xenia Mon 08-Jul-19 19:57:01

My twins have £150 a week each which I think is very generous particularly as I also pay it during holidays. I tihnk that is upper end but I am sure they can dredge up various very rich people who get more.

SoonerthanIthought Mon 08-Jul-19 20:51:51

Thanks xenia, very useful to get the full range of responses as my instinct is to head somewhere towards the middle! Is the 150 a week on top of rent? Do your dc save any of that, do you know - sounds from other threads as though they have petrol and car costs, which can obviously mount up.

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VirginiaCreeper Tue 09-Jul-19 17:10:43

If you assume that everything has to be covered, so food, laundry, travel, phone and fun. My two at different unis managed on £50 a week. However both were pretty frugal and one is vegetarian. I kept up the allowance over Christmas and Easter but not the summer.
The very first term is by far the most expensive and I did pay for things like bus pass / sports membership.

ifonly4 Wed 10-Jul-19 07:51:38

I worked out the average on a similar thread, and it worked out at an average of £200pm. DD has been at boarding school (so food included) and had £80 pm for going out, clothes, toiletries - she's managed on this, but I suspect they'll be more pressure at uni to go out. We generally live on £15 pw for food each, so I'm hoping she could keep to £25, so for her I think it'll be around the £200 mark.

SoonerthanIthought Wed 10-Jul-19 09:31:56

Thanks ifonly! Yes I can see there may be more pressure to go out - and also you do want your dc to feel they can, especially at the start when they'll be getting to know people.
I have to admit I was finding it hard to see how you would spend £100 a week, but once you factor in clothes, travel, cinema, trip to pizza restaurant, it does all add up even on a relatively frugal lifestyle! Still, quite a few people have said £50 a week so maybe that is a good starting point.

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ShanghaiDiva Wed 10-Jul-19 10:27:52

we started giving ds 500 per month and this then went down to around 350/300. His gym membership for the year was about 250 which was the main expense. He is sporty, does not drink and food is his main expense - chia seeds, almond butter, tuna steaks...!
He doesn't really buy clothes and asks for anything he needs for Xmas or birthday presents. One set of grandparents gives him 1K per year and another relative 3K every other year so he manages pretty well and saves money too.

VioletCharlotte Wed 10-Jul-19 10:40:53

I've been thinking about this too OP as my DS is starting university in September. His maintenance loans will cover the accommodation, leaving him with about £500 left for the year. Where I'm currently at is that I'll give him £75 a week for the weeks he's away (so not including holidays) to cover food, etc. He has about £900 in savings and is going to look for a part time job to give home extra money for going out.

Xenia Wed 10-Jul-19 11:37:29

"Thanks xenia, very useful to get the full range of responses as my instinct is to head somewhere towards the middle! Is the 150 a week on top of rent? Do your dc save any of that, do you know - sounds from other threads as though they have petrol and car costs, which can obviously mount up."
I pay their rent too which is currently year 2 about £450 a month plus I pay about £45 (a month I think for each) for their bills - electric wifi etc) and I pay for the car they share.

However none of this is the norm for most students. One is owed some money from friends. He also says the £150 a week is not enough given the large amount of food he needs to eat just to stay the same weight (he finds it hard to keep weight on) although I don't agree with that as he could just eat cheaper foods and he has definitely had to cut into this savings - which was a sum they all had built up from relatives' gifts since they were born which was available for them to use at university stage so no he doesn't even cover his current costs with the £150 but of course he could if he cut back.

I can see the end in sight after 5 chidlren (first born 1984) though so don't really mind paying. The twins are likely to do some kind of post grad but then it will be all over in terms of supporting them particularly once I give them some money to help buy a first property which I did with their older siblings.

izzywizzywont Wed 10-Jul-19 11:43:42

my sons rent is more than his maint loan. rent £6930 loan £6400. we cant afford to give him much but have given him enough to top it up to what a full loan would be. we send him to uni with a carload full of tins of beans spaghetti etc, big bags of pasta, rice etc. when we get there we do him a big shop for cupboard stuff and fill his part of the fridge and freezer up. then all his money goes on bus fares nights out etc. he didnt get a job first year as could manage and wanted to concentrate on his course but this year is planning to get a job.

FaithFrank Wed 10-Jul-19 14:12:24

I give mine £350 per month. The loan covers her rent. I never asked for the detail of what she spends it on, but she says it's plenty for her.

I'm happy to be in a position to do it for her. I want her to make the most of her time at university. It breaks my heart to hear about some of her friends who struggle financially.

SoonerthanIthought Wed 07-Aug-19 16:42:08

Just to update, on another thread a pp has linked to a savethestudent survey just published. It's quite interesting - found that students' average spending is £807 a month, including £431 a month in rent. Which suggests that non-rent spending averages about £90 a week - £370 a month. Interesting as that seems to be towards the top of the usual range mentioned here. It doesn't distinguish between catered and self-catered , but quite a useful broad picture.

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errorofjudgement Wed 07-Aug-19 17:33:31

Both our DS only qualified for the minimum loan and used this to live on from October through to June (only used for spending money when they were home in the holidays) and worked over the summer to build up a reserve that they could also spend.
Meanwhile we paid their rent costs, mobile phones, and they shared a car that was usually kept at home, so we paid the car insurance and servicing costs (though DS2 actually took the car back with him in the second year and paid for the petrol himself)

Wallywobbles Wed 07-Aug-19 17:41:11

I think DNiece was told to keep anexact budget that her dad reimbursed her for. That gave them a realistic budget going forward.

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