Broadcast: News items

National Student Money Week: reflect on your financial habits

This National Student Money Week (4-8 February), take a moment to think about your financial habits and prepare for the term ahead.

Last summer, YouthSight ran a survey on the financial capability and financial position of full-time undergraduate students in the UK. The survey results defined five different student approaches and attitudes towards money.

Look at the five student types below. Which do you most identify with?

Five student types:

Supported and sensible

Confident and thrifty

Inexperienced and at risk

Anxious but spending

Disengaged and overwhelmed

They are cushioned by their family’s money, leaving them comfortably off.

They have the highest savings, and are unlikely to be in debt.

They find it easy to keep up with bills since their parents pay their bills.

They come from a less affluent background.

They budget well – their money saving skills mean that they have managed to save a lot of money.

They are comfortable, but need to stay on top of their money to keep this stability.

They are living at home, often in more expensive areas like London.

They don’t have to pay household bills but are still struggling to save, leaving them squeezed.

They are unaware of their financial situation and have no provisions for income shocks.

Although they may come from a comfortable background, their university life is likely to feel more squeezed.

Outside pressures and difficulty budgeting may leave them in debt.

They struggle to repay debts, leaving them strapped for cash.

They are struggling but think it will always be this way. They’re unlikely to have extra income.

They are deep in debt and take out payday loans and unauthorised overdrafts to get by.

They don’t see the value in saving and budgeting, or why they should do it.


Source: Student Diagnostic Tool (A YouthSight report for Money Advice Service, June 2018)


1. Supported and sensible – their finances are healthy thanks to parental support

A typical issue:

I’m not in debt and my parents deal with most of my bills. I save a bit and want to be able to afford a good life after uni, but I could plan my finances better. I want to be able to save while still having fun.


2. Confident and thrifty – they have their finances figured out

A typical issue:

I don’t come from a rich family, so I’ve had to learn the hard way to get into good financial habits. I save regularly and am reluctant to spend money. I have set financial goals and rarely get into debt. Is there anything else I can do to set myself up for the future?


3. Inexperienced and at risk – they lack financial knowledge because they don’t immediately need it

A typical issue:

I’ve just started university and realised everything is so expensive! How do my friends survive on just a student loan? I’m enjoying myself but I’m so glad I’m living at home and don’t have to think about finances yet.


4. Anxious but spending – they struggle with budgeting and outside pressure

A typical issue:

I really want to go on holiday next year but I need to pay off my debts first. I’ve been spending too much recently. Being more restrained could help me build a savings buffer.


5. Disengaged and overwhelmed – feeling like they can’t change their finances, they let their debts spiral

A typical issue:

I’m in debt and have a tendency to go into unauthorised overdrafts or use short-term loans as a way to keep myself afloat. I can’t always see the value in planning for the future, so I don’t always save. I do worry about my finances, but is there any point in trying to improve them?


Help from the Student Funding Team

Whichever type you identify with, the Student Funding Team based in the Student Life Centre can help you resolve problems or concerns relating to your finances during your studies. You’ll get information on funding sources, expert financial advice and practical support, so you can make the most of your time at Sussex.

You can book an appointment with a Student Money Adviser through Sussex Direct, by emailing or by phoning 01273 876767.

Visit our Student Budgeting pages to find tips for managing and saving money at university.

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Monday, 4 February 2019


If you'd like to leave a comment, enter your ITS username, password, and your comment. The comment may need approval before it is displayed, so don't expect your comment to appear right away.

By submitting a comment you are agreeing to the Acceptable Use Policy.