41% of students think Freshers Week isn’t worth the money, but agreed they'd still fork out anyway

41% of students think Freshers Week isn’t worth the money, but agreed they would still fork out anyway.

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Freshers’ Spending

As one of the most highly anticipated events in the student calendar, Student Money Saver decided to analyse the nature of, and attitudes around, student spending during Freshers Week.

Key findings

  • 41% of students don’t think Freshers is worth the money
  • 22% of students spent between £100 and £200 during Freshers week
  • 30% of students expressed a high level of concern at the cost of Freshers week
  • 61% of students don’t think Freshers has helped them to understanding budgeting
  • Students seem to be increasingly concerned by the mounting pressure to balance the spending of money on freshers events and alcohol with academic supplies and food shops.

Breakdown

In recent years, Freshers has become one of the most iconic periods of the student year. We therefore asked students from across the country a range of questions on their spending during Freshers, and whether they thought Freshers was worth the growing costs associated with it.

When asked how much they spent during Freshers week, 60% of students spent somewhere between £50 and £100, with a slightly smaller fraction of 18% spending upwards of £200.

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Taking into account that these costs are independent of other maintenance costs such as rent, it comes as no surprise that students were looking to a range of incomes to foot the bill.

Surprisingly, the largest source of disposable income was student finance, with 46% relying on their loan to fund the week. This reflects a change in student spending, given that Natwest’s 2017 Student Living Index found that the bank of mum and dad accounted for the largest supplements to student income during the academic year (perhaps to make up for students blowing their loan in the first week…)

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That being said, a job, followed by parental help came in a close second and third respectively, with 28% relying on a job income and 18% on their parents.

So where is all of this money going during Freshers week?

For a large number of students, their university arranged a ‘Freshers package’ that could be pre-bought. 69% of those surveyed went to universities that offered this package.

Over 50% said that these packages cost anywhere from £20 to over £40, suggesting that students can pre-buy club entry, potentially saving money when they actually get to university. However, if this only accounts for around £30-40, and students are spending upwards of £100, where is the rest of the money going?

We gave students a list of options, asking them to select which they spent the most money on.

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Given the reputation associated with Freshers week, it’s no shock that a great deal of students are spending the most on alcohol. A whopping 56.7% of students admitted that their biggest expenditure during the week was booze.

However, supermarket shops and food were the biggest drains on student bank accounts during the week, with 62.3% of students saying this is where they spent the most. Given this is students’ first week away from home, the large spending on food is probably to do with a lack of knowledge on how to budget.

We therefore asked students whether Freshers week had helped students understand the principles of budgeting, with 62% saying definitively that it hadn’t.

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The inability to fully comprehend the nature of budgeting and responsibly spending money may in part be due to the increasing pressure placed on students to spend an excessive amount during the week. With club events, dress up evenings, meals out and more, students often feel somewhat compelled to spend in order to be sociable and make new friends.

We asked students if these costs were of concern to them, with mixed results. Around 30% of students expressed some degree of concern, with 26.8% saying the cost of Freshers didn’t worry them all.

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That being said, when we asked students if they thought that there was too much pressure to mass spend during the week, 46.7% either agreed or strongly agreed. This suggests that students feel compelled to fork out large sums on nights out, food, and outfits to both get the full ‘freshers experience’, and avoid feeling left out or excluded by their peers.

This notion is reinforced by the results that showed 46.31% of students would not miss a Freshers’ event because of its cost. Students, however aware of events being overpriced, are still willing to pay regardless.

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It seems somewhat contradictory therefore that a large portion of students didn’t think that Freshers was worth the money. 41% believed Freshers wasn’t worth its cost, with only 30% agreeing that it was.

Conclusion

It seems that Freshers’ ultimately disappointing reality is little deterrent to mass spending amongst students. However, rather than the promise of a good time, students are more compelled to spend money not for the sake of enjoyment, but rather because they feel pressured to do so.

A large number of students expressed concern over the cost of Freshers, which was reflected in the high percentages of students spending between £50 and £200 over the course of a week. However, this concern, coupled with an overwhelming dissatisfaction with Freshers, is clearly not enough to stop students from spending and participating in what the week has to offer.


Need help with saving money during Freshers? Read our short guide here.

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