Friday, October 5, 2012

3 Tips for Helping the Family Through University

Teviot Row House, a students' union operated b...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The students have just gone back to University, but for many it’s their first time in the big cities, having to fend for themselves and make sure that they're up in time to make the first lectures of the day! While the early birds will have no problem with that task, others might find it a little more difficult, so anything we can do to help make their time at Uni simpler can only be a good thing right? 

Whether it’s our own children or the Grandchildren who've gone off in search of the foundations they need to build their future careers, they’re likely to realise how important it is to budget between student loan payments. 

But before they get bogged down and depressed by their poor financial situation – a factor every student, unfortunately, has to deal with – there are a number of things you can do to help them. 

Budgeting Lessons 

If they haven't gone already, or if you get the chance to sit down with them sometime soon, work out exactly how much they have in their account, how much their rent is each month, and when the next payments are due both in and out of their banks. This way you can chat clearly and easily, showing them exactly how much money they have to “play” with, and how much they're able to spend each week, helping them to stay out of the red, and in the black for as long as possible.

Shopping Tips 

Shopping is a key part of student life, popping down to the supermarket and buying trolleys full of baked beans, pizzas and drinks, but many students don’t know how to get as much as possible for as little as possible. You don't need to be one of the top accountants based in Dublin, London, Manchester or Edinburgh to know how to make savings. Own-brand products can be significantly cheaper than the brand named products, but with little or no difference in taste, something you've worked out with your experience of doing the family food shop that they might not have realized. Let’s be honest, students won't notice the difference once it’s out of the packet anyway, they'll eat anything!

Regular Communication 

Possibly the most important thing is to stay in touch while they're away. The last thing you want to find is that the reason you haven't heard from them in a few days or weeks is because they're worried about telling you they've run out of money. By staying in regular contact, you can gauge how they are. This isn't to say you should ring them every day, (they’ll soon stop answering), but maybe once a week at least if you haven't heard from them beforehand.

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