For many of you, this September will bring the day you let your baby go in to the big wide world of student living. The thought horrifies and excites, fills you with dread whilst making you beam with proud at the same time. Before all that happens, it might be a good idea to equip your offspring with some general life lessons that could help them take to independent living easier (and could prevent them bankrupting you with constant calls begging for cash).
Getting a part-time job prior to university is a good idea in any case. It encourages your teen to think about ways to balance time between a job and studies, gives them a practical lesson in the worth of money and sets them up for the working world once they have left home.
Also, studies have shown that limited part time work actually has a positive effect on studying in terms of time management and focus.
It’s time to start prepping for the world of contracts. This isn’t the same as borrowing a little brother’s speakers and vaguely promising to pay him a fiver in return.
Get them to sign up to their own mobile contract as soon as possible. It’s absolutely vital to put aside enough money each month for this, which is a valuable lesson.
The student-to-be should be doing their own research in to which bank account suits them. Bank accounts come with lots of various perks, so these need to be considered in order to decide which suits best. A (limited) overdraft can sometimes be useful, although parents often think the idea of borrowing further cash is obscene (till the calls asking for rent money start coming in).
Paying the Bills
The TV license is an example of something students will have to get familiar with, often with no experience of before. It’s great practice to sign up to a license themselves, get to grips with understanding energy bills and get used to setting up direct debits.
Suggest they research some money saving tips. The NUS card and 16-25 Railcard are good examples of stuff to get signed up to straight away – the savings can be pretty significant in the long run.
It’s probably a good idea to go through some food shopping/cooking scenarios. We posted an article on food shopping on a budget, which you may find useful.
Teach them a few recipes that you couldn’t have lived without when you left home for the first time. Pasta dishes and stir fries are cheap solutions and may save resorting to a year of pizza and baked beans.