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Students on: Spending and Budgeting


Our student focus group share their views on budgeting and spending at University.

In partnership with Campus Media, The National Student held a focus group and quizzed students about their attitudes towards spending and budgeting:

Students are often represented in the media as being frivilous with money and unconcerned about future debts. Here is a recent headline that hit The Telegraph: Nearly a third of students waste their student loans on shopping sprees, drinking and gym memberships. 

But we wanted to delve deeper. What do these statistics mean? That students accidentally overspend sometimes? That students buy gym memberships and socialise? That occasionally, students need to shop and buy clothes? Well, who doesn’t? 

Now we’re not going to suggest that students have it all worked out when it comes to spending money – they openly admit that they would like more advice about it. But while there may be some students that have used their maintenance loans for extreme spending, the majority of them deserve a little more credit than they’re given by us older folks for their ability to budget and make ends meet. 

In the video above, we put some context behind those statistics that imply student spending is out of control. Find out what students are willing to spend their money on, what they class as value for money and how they find budgeting. 

What are students willing to spend their money on?

Experiences are clearly something that students do not mind splashing out on. This goes to show how much value students put on offline interactions and in creating the memories that online activities can’t always provide. 

Students are also willing to spend money on their passions. Lucy and Ryan, who are both fashion students, agreed that they felt more of a need to express their talents through what they wear. Ben, who is reading Film Studies, also explained that he is happy to spend money on cinema tickets – but not just because he had to, but because he loves it! 

What do students class as value for money?

It’s not all about a cheap price tag with students (although it definitely helps!) Students also value quality and the ethics that were involved in making a product. 

Yet their money seems to have different value in different shops. Lucy gave the example of comparing the price of a t-shirt in a cheap high street shop compared to the price she’d pay for it in a middle-priced high street top. This suggests that labels and brands play an underlying but significant factor in the purchasing decision with students. 

How do they find budgeting?

The students agreed that they have times when they struggle to keep up with expenses and make ends meet. However, they crushed the stereotype that students splurge their whole student loan within a matter of weeks. Ryan explained that the majority of his friends will treat themselves to something they want to buy, but not irresponsibly. 

This video was created by Campus Media in partnership with The National Student.