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Helping financially with food shopping....
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Acacia123 · 07/03/2018 14:20

Hi, son is in first year and living in halls. He is struggling a bit and I want to help but without sending cash (I don't want to encourage partying!). I am sure I read somewhere about a 2 part Tesco card where I can put money in from here and he can use his half in store....but I can't find anything online. Anyone know anything about this or have any other ideas?

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Yestotallyunreasonable · 08/03/2018 10:52

Acacia
My ds is also in first year and trying to make ends meet. But you surprise me when you say yours has managed with no financial help from you at all. Good on your ds! How has he done that?
Even with max loan the money we have found ds's rent has taken up all his money and without a parental top up he would literally have £0 to live and eat.
I wonder if your fear of your ds buying alcohol is a bit unfair too. The first year of uni is so important for them to make the friends they will live with and socialise with for the rest of their time there. As in outside life, most social settings involve alcohol (or soft drinks which cost more). Most also involve membership fees or entrance tickets. If your ds has literally no money to eat then it's not surprising he's feeling a bit down. I'd give him a budget and let him learn that if he spends his weekly shop money on vodka he'll have a pretty shit week.

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Acacia123 · 08/03/2018 11:06

Please don't worry about him too much :-) He partied at the beginning and now, having found money tight he has slowed down a lot. It's not that I am worried about him buying alcohol, it's more that I can't afford to fund it myself! He has money for food, he is not going hungry, he know how to cook and purchase sensibly.

He has managed on £0 from us since September, but needs help now.

I am not going to start budgeting him or lecturing him, but on the other hand if he needs a boost I will give him one.

It's all about finding the right level of support - which clearly we all have our own levels and all have our own opinions.

At the end if the day he is a young man and I want him to be happy, healthy, have fun and work hard!

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corythatwas · 08/03/2018 11:07

One thing I have found is that the internet is a great way for young people to learn how to cook.

I felt very bad because my dd's illness and MH problems meant there was little time to instruct her in cooking while she lived at home: every day was just a struggle to keep her alive and manage the pain.

I needn't have worried: what she didn't get from me is all over social media. She is catering for herself in London on a very low budget and I am the one asking her for recipe suggestions. Like Needmoresleep's dd, she uses far less meat than our generation, but I don't see that as a bad thing. She also learns from vegan and vegetarian friends who are often very good at low-cost recipes.

As for my teen ds, he is the know-it-all kind who won't take any teaching from his parents, but he is happy enough to look up how to cook omelettes on the internet.

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BubblesBuddy · 08/03/2018 11:27

So is your DS on the full loan or is he working? Have you been assessed as not being able to afford a contribution?

I think you do sound a bit controlling. He can only have money from you if he spends it as you think fit. He may be miserable because he cannot go out. He may need to join in with friends or he won’t actually have any!

You really need a frank and open discussion with him about what needs to change for him to thrive. Being controlled by you through lack of money or food purchases isn’t the way forward. Many students drop out because of lack of money. Young people like to join in with friends but don’t all go mad and spend every penny. Talk to him about wat he needs and wants, not what you want.

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greathat · 08/03/2018 11:29

I teach sixth formers. We were given the statistic recently that in their first year on average students spend twice as much on alcohol as on food. Scary!

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Needmoresleep · 08/03/2018 11:38

I agree with Arcacia. Both mine have made friends without needing to drink much. DD is sporty so has a biggish night out on a Wednesday (limited by an early start the next day) supplemented by the occassional meal with friends in 'Spoons, and DS belonged to societies who tended to head off to China town in a group after activities for a meal. They are surprised at how much others spend on going out. Especially when the family budget appears limited.

DD seems to like the anticipation of buying a ticket a few weeks in advance and looking forward to a big event. And wonders why those going out four big nights a week don't get bored. Both enjoy their courses which helps, as there is incentive not to be hungover in the mornings, plus to hang out with others who are similarly engaged.

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Needmoresleep · 08/03/2018 11:39

greathat- from observation your statistic is probably true.

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Acacia123 · 08/03/2018 12:13

Bubbles: I am NOT controlling him with money. Money is a finite resource. I only have a limited amount.

He is 18 years old and has been managing admirably with his finances, cooking and shopping. He partied at the beginning but that is not sustainable now.

I can't afford to go out and party - and I can't afford to fund him to do it.

But I can afford to give him a boost towards the end of the year when he us running low on money.

I sent him back to uni after last weekend when he was home with a huge hold all of supplies including treats.

One minute you say I need to have a strict word about overspending in partying, the next you say I am controlling and should be funding his partying. Make your mind up.

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corythatwas · 08/03/2018 12:24

"We were given the statistic recently that in their first year on average students spend twice as much on alcohol as on food. Scary!"

Then again, even one drink costs more than a cheaply cooked home meal, so that may not constitute riotous living. For some future professions, networking, and learning how to network, is pretty essential: if you stay at home with your nose in a book that may seriously impair your future chances. I can't afford to give dd much either, but I do recognise that she needs to work on her social confidence if she is to have any chance in her future career: otherwise, I might as well stop contributing to her book-buying and interview-related costs too.

I was someone who spent all my money on books and sat at home, and my career never took off partly because I did not have the skills or confidence.

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corythatwas · 08/03/2018 12:25

Dd's compromise is to go mainly vegan, but to go out to a number of events. I think she shows good sense.

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QuestionableMouse · 08/03/2018 12:33

Budget Bytes has lots of tasty recipes and caters for small or single portions. I'm a student and I love it.

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BubblesBuddy · 08/03/2018 18:37

You seem to be taking what I have suggsted in posts based on different info out of context. It appeared that, initially, he was spending and not managing his money. Now he is managing his money but is miserable! I am asking you if he is miserable because he cannot go out and socialise. There are good reasons why he should do this now you have articulated further about the problem.

You still have not said if he’s on the full maintenance loan or not. Lots of people are expected to pay towards their children and I am asking if you should. Giving money regularly is better than waiting until there is a problem.

Clearly a middle way is advisable and I cannot understand why you didn’t talk about why he is miserable when he was home.

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Acacia123 · 08/03/2018 19:51

I'm good thanks, only came in here for ideas about Tesco gift cards. Not really up for a public discussion of my family finances.

Nobody needs to worry about my son, he's not 'miserable' just struggling a little as we all do from time to time and I wanted to perk him up a bit :-)

Thanks for all the helpful advice, some good ideas here everyone!

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blueskypink · 08/03/2018 20:00

Honestly I would give him the money and not attempt to control what he spends it on. I hope to goodness he is getting the full loan. Will be a struggle for him on even that if he's not working as well. If he's not on the full loan I'm not surprised he's down.

If you can afford to help him, trust him to manage his money sensibly. How else do you expect him to learn?

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ragged · 08/03/2018 20:02

Cool about the cooking course, Needmoresleep.
DD has not a frugal bone in her body. At least she likes PBJ sarnies.

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LinesInTheSand · 08/03/2018 20:13

I think most big supermarkets do the 'parent top up card' thing.

My ExMIL does it for my two THANK YOU STUPENDOUS GRANDMA :) with Sainsburys

My DS is also year 1 in massively expensive halls. I've sent him money occasionally, but I get you, OP.

I've done food parcels for birthdays sent for a fiver by Collect + , which go down well.

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quartermooninatencenttown · 08/03/2018 20:44

Hi Ragged. Neither has my DD. I had to look up PBJ. Awesome :)

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LinesInTheSand · 08/03/2018 20:54

I'm in my 50s and still like a bit of student food - in my case cuppa soup and bread & marg or a marmite sandwich.

I wouldn't want to be eating it though so that DC could buy vodka. It's got to be a fair exchange of money, values and expectations.

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chaplin1409 · 08/03/2018 21:01

I have started reading threads like this as my daughter has started to look at university and wants to live in halls but it's all new to us.

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quartermooninatencenttown · 08/03/2018 21:20

LinesinTheSand - absolutely. We do a big shop for Dd before she goes back at the beginning of term. Have no intention of financing pre-drinks / drinks / domino's / clubbing ;)

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AJPTaylor · 09/03/2018 06:42

it is a shame that tesco dont do the 2 part card. Theyve missed a trick. Do they do a top upable gift card instead?

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TheTab · 09/03/2018 07:00

You are doing he right thing OP. I have put two through uni and a weekly Standing Order to go into the bank account is the way to go. I used to pay it in on a Monday so the temptation to buy alcohol wasn't at the forefront of their minds as it may have been on a Thursday or Friday.

Shopping was done by both at Aldi, different cities, and it was a fair walk so they shopped well and only bought whatever they could carry which didn't include bottles!

Personally I don't see the point of the top up cards, you can still spend them on sweets, crisps and beer if you are so inclined!

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LadyPenelope68 · 09/03/2018 07:10

If he doesn’t have an Sainsbury’s near him, does he have an Asda, as they do the student/parent card as well.

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LadyPenelope68 · 09/03/2018 07:11

Or buy a Tesco gift card and send him that.

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ElenaBothari · 09/03/2018 07:15

@Needmoresleep do you mind saying where the course is? Sounds like it could be ideal for my niece (she’s been at international boarding school for years and has no idea about cooking etc!).

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