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Basic Budgeting

Students' Union shop

It’s never too soon to talk to your prospective student son or daughter about how they intend to look after their personal finances. Many parents or guardians have a vision of young people spending their money on unnecessary luxuries and living on beans and toast – but it doesn’t have to be like that.

The first rule is that they should keep a constant check on their bank balance.
The second is to avoid using a credit card.

The average student food bill is just under £30 per week. Sharing cooking resources with housemates and friends is a good way of varying the diet. But takeaway food is a certain way of wasting money.

Then there is light and heat. If your son or daughter is in Halls of Residence, then these bills will already have been paid. However, if they are in a rented house or flat, they should be careful about not leaving lights and appliances on when they are not in use. It will make a difference when the bill comes in.

Belfast has one of the lowest cost of living rates in the UK and Ireland. Rents are lower than most other cities. And many students supplement their income by getting a part-time job – which is also a good way of making new friends.