Students are part of the new ‘Ostrich Generation’ – Gen O for short – who’ve got their heads in the sand when it comes to how they spend and save their money. Insurer Aviva recently carried out a survey on spending and saving smarter, revealing that over half of Gen O regularly treat themselves whenever they want and one in 10 live for the moment. This emphasises how little regard Gen O have for their financial future and the consequences that follow. 

During the age of social media, a culture has been created where young people feel they have to prioritise the constant advertising of life events and experiences through their social profiles to family and friends. The ‘fear of missing out’, or FOMO, takes effect when people feel socially anxious because they’re not been part of an event or activity. FOMO feeds into this constant bombardment of events, from friends and others around you on social networks. The survey uncovered how one in seven feel they need more control over their social media profiles and over a third want more control over how they look. 

FOMO is having a knock-on effect on Gen O’s ability to save and control spending. For students, going out and making new friends comes as part of the university culture, but it comes at a price – in fact, 55% of them feel they have to spend money when socialising with friends. Going down the pub, eating out, buying alcohol for parties, it all adds up. 

All of this significantly impacts students’ abilities to save money, with over a quarter admitting they don’t have any money left at the end of each month. A fifth of students even regularly dip into their overdraft or struggle to pay off their credit card debt, and over one in 10 owe money to either a friend or family member. Worrying about debt is another problem students face, especially with the recent rise in tuition fees, and the constant increases to the cost of living. 


Diagram that says fomo


Four tips to save money while on a budget

There are a few things students can do to help themselves either save money or spend less in general. 

1. Getting a part-time job, or working over the summer could help save money that would usually be spent on going out, as well as building up further funds towards the next semester. Working also helps to build up valuable experience needed when looking for work after university, whether it’s based on your field of study or not. 

2. Going out to bring your own alcohol (BYOB) restaurants and cafes can help to save money as well as alcohol can be twice as expensive in a restaurant than it is in a shop (reformulate).

3. The cinema nowadays can cost a small fortune (how much?); a series marathon is another great way to save money by not going out. 

4. Any technology lying around the home? Aviva’s recent survey highlighted that 43% of people are saving towards new technology, but many of those will not recycle or sell on their old ones. Selling off some old mobile phones, or beauty gadgets could help build a small savings pot for any future events.

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