Thrifty tips to help grandkids through university

Posted in: Family Last updated: 29 Jun 2012

The last thing any grandparent wants to see is their grandchildren up to their eyeballs in student debt. With university fees sky-rocketing, more and more grandparents are giving their grandchildren a hand with every-day living costs to ease the burden.

A study by Investect Wealth & investment found that 44 % of grandparents would help towards their grandchildren’s living expenses. It’s not all about handing out wads of cash from your back pocket though; there are some thrifty and useful ways you can help your grandchildren to cope better financially. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Prepare a food parcel

Stock up with a hamper filled with essential food items – include things that will last a while like tins and jars or the basic ingredients to make a few simple meals. You could even create a scrapbook made up of easy recipes to encourage your grandchild to make the most of the supplies you’ve given them.

Rustle up home cooked freezer meals

Next time your grandchild visits for dinner, cook up an extra big batch of food and box up the leftovers so they can take them home and freeze for a later date. This way they can enjoy tasty, traditional meals without having to fork out for them down the local pub.

Keep hold of discount coupons

If you stumble across store discount vouchers in magazines or newspapers, keep hold of them and post them off to their uni address if you get chance – every little helps.

Prepare a budget

If you’re grandchild is struggling to keep their finances under control, offer some guidance by drawing a simple budget and outlining how much they can afford to spend on food, travel etc. They might not stick to it but at least you’ve tried!

Offer your washing services

Laundry can be costly at university, especially for students living in halls of residence – a load of washing can cost around £3 or more each time. Offering to take a heap of washing off their hands will definitely leave you in their good books.

Contribute towards university textbooks

University textbooks cost a fortune these days. Any contributions you can give towards learning resources will be worthwhile. Amazon is a key port of call for discounted books and they often do deals on groups of books bought together.

Link up on Skype

Instead of your grandchild using a landline, ask them to call you through Skype instead – as long as both of you connect to it from each end, it’s completely free.

Check for bursaries

Financial help and student grants are available for a whole range of students. It’s worth doing a bit of research to see if there’s anything your grandchild might be eligible for. Studentcashpoint is a good starting point.

Buy useful gifts

When birthdays come around, think about investing in a wise gift that will help your grandchild to save money in the long term. For example, you could buy a bike to help them to cut down on travel costs or kitchen equipment to encourage them to cook from scratch.

Thinking logically about the different ways in which you can support your grandchildren can help to ease the ballooning costs of their universite experience and is a much more thoughtful alternative to simply handing out cash.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.