4 tips to give your kids before they start University

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Have you got children about to start university? It’s an exciting time full of new people, new cities, and a whole new sense of independence. However, the experience can often be overshadowed by ever-growing concerns about money.

It’s easy to understand why – tuition fees have tripled and maintenance grants are being replaced with loans. That’s why we’ve got 4 top tips to help your children keep on top of their finances whilst at University.

Be careful with credit

Warn them about the consequences, it’s easy to think about the short-term result without considering the long-term implications and it’s a slippery slope to becoming reliant on credit cards or dipping too deep into their overdraft.

Credit cards definitely serve a purpose, whether that’s guaranteed insurance when booking a holida, or helping to make larger one-off purchases, but only if they can afford to pay it off in a timely manner to avoid incurring huge interest rates and starting a pattern of constant borrowing. In short, if they can’t afford it now, don’t buy it.

Ditch the daily habit

It’s easy for your children to forge new habits while they’re away. Like enjoying a daily Costa Coffee on the way to lectures, or if they're partial to a takeaway after a night out? These small purchases may not seem extravagant at the time, but can eventually add up to a large sum.

Rather than thinking about what they’re giving up – encourage them to think about the money they’re saving and what they could get instead. Take the daily coffee, for example: while it may only seem like £2 a day, that’s £60 a month - and a whopping £728 per year. That money could be used for a holiday, or even put into a savings account. It’s this type of attitude that will help turn your kids from a borrower to a saver.

Trim the cost of travel

They’ve flown the nest but they’ll always come back. An absolutely vital cost-saving method for any student is the 16 to 25 railcard which offers up to third off rail fares all year around. With rail fares continuing to rise, it’s amazing how much they can save on those essential trips home.

A few banks offer these railcards for free as an incentive for opening a student account, but they can also save up to 12 per cent if they have an NUS Totum card. National Express also offers up to a quarter off the price of coach fares.

Dine out on discounts and deals

Students are the captive market for many companies and, as a result, you would be surprised at just how many cut-price offers are available as brands battle for their business. Most high street restaurants or retail outlets offer some form of student discount.

At the other end of the spectrum, they can use their UCAS number to secure discounts on laptops and devices from well-known technology companies. Not only will this save significant upfront costs, but it helps to foster the sensible culture of shopping around for the best deal years after they graduate.

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