Students’ parents don’t know they have credit cards – and other “truths” about student spending

How do students spend their money? Are they careful? Do they lie about it to their parents? What about the dreaded overdraft?

An infographic (shown below) created by ZenithOptimedia and Natwest has revealed how young adults spend their money during their university years. The data was taken from an online GMI survey*.

By surveying 200 full-time students aged between 18-25 and 200 parents of full-time students in first, second and third year the infographic compares parents’ and students’ attitudes toward money.

According to the data in “The truth about student spending” infographic 28% of students admit to living in their overdraft and that one in two students use credit cards to splurge – but only three in 100 parents suspect their kids have credit cards.

When times are hard parents have to help with money: around 48% of students admitted to asking their parents for extra money.

As for the parents, 52% of them said they are relied upon for hand-outs – which might be an indication that many students are not admitting to needing parental help.

Christina Hirst from ZenithOptimedia said:

“A big part of the information discovered reveals that a lot of students rely heavily on their parents for financial support.

“This also raises issues concerning those who are unable to rely on their parents for financial support and the financial choices they have to make as a result.”

Despite this 56% of parents are confident that their kids handle money well – and they might be right as 58% of students say they check their balance regularly, presumably to budget for the week or month.

But the budgeting affects students’ well-being: one in four students lose sleep over their finances. Nonetheless, eight out of ten students say they have honest conversations about finance with their parents.

More specific data reveals what students spend their monthly money on:

  • Around £140 is spent on groceries and £28 is spent on alcohol.
  • The average student rent is £271, and £11 is spent on leisurely activities.
  • Phone bills stand at £16 while some students splurge on £31 worth of clothes monthly.

On average students have around £5402 to spend each term, according to the study’s analysis of termly cash injections.

*We approached GMI for more information on the methodology behind the online survey – specifically the methods used to ensure the sample was representative. At the time of publishing they had not responded.

The truth about student spending

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