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Freshers’ week proves pricey for parents

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As if tuition fees and accommodation costs weren’t enough, parents spend an additional £3,662 during the course of their child’s degree.

This extra cost incorporates everything from bedding and books to groceries and gadgets to ensure their offspring have the best campus experience possible, according to research from American Express.

Most expensive is keeping fridges stocked up with food and drink, which costs an average of £1,194 over the course of a university degree, even more than the average £896 spent on electronics such as laptops and smartphones. Parents spend more on clothes and shoes for their children (£516) than books and study materials (£388), while new home essentials such as duvets, pillows and towels cost on average £236.

Jenny Cheung, director at American Express says: “September can be a costly month for all parents, particularly those with children attending university who often have many more costly items on the shopping list such as living and household expenses. As students knuckle down to their studies, parents can make sure they are equally as smart with their spending. Shopping around for offers, and using rewards and cashback are just some of the ways parents can be top of the class with their spending.”

Top tips for parents:

1)    Do your research: Make sure you look into the best bargains and offers before you hit the shops so you don’t miss out on any deals. Many shops offer student ‘bundles’ comprising bedroom or kitchen essentials.

2)    Check what they need: Your children may want everything to be brand new but this isn’t always practical. Take a quick look around at home for items that don’t have to be newly bought, such as sheets and towels or duplicate electrical items.

3)    Educational gifts: For your child’s next birthday, why not ask family members to buy educational items or give your children spending money to put towards a new laptop or other gadgets.

4)    Inspire a smart approach to money: As your child starts a new life chapter, try to inspire some ‘best practice’ behaviour by being smart about the way you spend. Set yourself a budget and try to stick to it as much as possible – and encourage your children do the same.

5)    Be a savvy spender: Using a credit card that gives you cashback or rewards is a great way to make your money work in your favour.


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