Just how expensive is life for our generation?

I’m at the age whereby I’m learning to drive, thinking about universities and possible career choices as well as considering future finances. So curiosity got the better of me and I decided to work out where I’m headed.

Learning to drive is optional of course for students, but considering the price of buses and trains in London (I live 20 miles from London and it’s around £24 for me to get a train ticket unless you spend another £20 on a separate train student saver card) it is handy to be able to get yourself from A to B independently. To begin with my provisional cost £50 which considering the cost that goes into making the card, it is really a rip-off. My lessons then cost £500 for 20 and although I’ve pretty much ready for my test, you then have to consider the cost of your next two purchases (the theory test and the practical test). The theory test costs £31 and the practical about £61, without even hiring the car to take the test in and an hour of your instructors’ time so that you can practice beforehand. So without the added pressure of passing, you have already wasted about £120 attempting to take your test! If you are lucky enough to pass first time, you then have to consider insuring and purchasing a car. Buying a car is the cheaper part, with it being possible to buy  a car for around £500 but insuring your own car is another matter, with many students choosing to have one parent as the main driver in order to bypass the cost of an average insurer. The average cost for insurance in minimum £800 to £2000.

Cost of driving – £2301 (without costing of petrol).

Many would argue that students have it much better off nowadays, considering we get discounts on products and goods, however I have several experiences that confirm otherwise. Just the other day I visited an Odeon cinema with a few friends, an evening at the cinema isn’t cheap as I’m sure you know (considering how much they charge for popcorn and sweets currently) however I had planned to get a discounted cinema ‘student’ ticket which knocks a few pounds off the price. I had 4 forms of ID on me at the time, a UCAS card, my driving licence, my insurance card and a validate student card. However the stubborn man behind the till decided that I looked a lot older than I was trying to prove and despite the numerous forms of identification he aggressively told me that I was going to have to pay an adult fare – as he said that although I had photo proof of being a student, I could have dropped out of school and kept my student card. Does that even make sense? So reluctantly I paid for an adult ticket due to the fact I was holding up a large queue. To top it all off, I noticed a sign that said ‘buy popcorn and a drink and get a free kit kat chunky’ so as I was sharing with one of my friends, we could purchase the deal. After buying a drink and a popcorn I was told I wouldn’t be getting a free chocolate bar as I didn’t buy a large popcorn but a medium one (not that it told me this on the sign).

Pricing – £22 for a trip to the cinema.

I’ve also been looking at uni’s lately, as it’s coming up to the time that I will have to make a decision on which university I decide I want to apply to. I’m keen to do a course in Journalism or Production or perhaps English Literature however not only does the prospect of moving away from your family seem very daunting but so does the costing. I haven’t been to any of the student protests concerning fees as personally I think that no matter what havoc you cause, this is never going to be a match for the decisions the people in government has made and although it is going to be tricky to get ourselves through university, it is worth noting that employers will take note of the investment you have made in your own future and perhaps think more highly of you. With fees being raised up to £9,000 a year added to living costs of about £7,000 per year this doesn’t leave much money for the partying and fun you are supposed to have in your Uni years. It also adds to the troubling prospect of not  being able to afford your own home until much later due to your debts of about £60,000. I heard on the radio a few weeks ago that the average age for someone purchasing their first home in London (ie: being able to afford a home in London for the first time) is 41. What a daunting thought.

Cost of education – £60,000 +

It all sounds very negative and normally I’m not a negative person when looking to the future, but I just think it’s a real shame for those who won’t be able to afford university and won’t be able to live out their aspirations as soon as planned. However for some, it will mean they are given more motivation to work harder and strive for the career path they really want. Certainly for me, in the tough world of Journalism it will just mean I will have to work a lot harder to ‘get my foot in the door’ and get myself noticed. Who knows?

What do you think?

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  • Haze

    this is a brilliant article and i love the style you have gone for working out how much it would cost. it is certainly expensive!! i am renting my first place and it is so expensive. with rising petrol costs it is also becoming stupid to run a car. especially when the porsche gulps like a fish 🙁
    i think people need to think carefully about university now but also remember that a person on £25,000 pays back under £10 a week, that is reasonable!
    also you have got experience in journalism (this website) therefore you will have a stronger personal statement and should put it on your cv 🙂

    another brilliant story from you x x

    • scarlett_dixon

      Thank you so much for reading my articles, I really appreciate it when people comment on them too! Yeah, it is a difficult decision to make (both cars and uni) because you have to learn to budget, however it is nice to be able to afford to treat yourself. Very true about the £25,000 and paying back £10 a week. It is a little amount and isn’t the end of the world, it’s just a shame that people who have been to uni will always have something to pay back and a vast amount of debt looming over them 🙁 hopefully people will take the blog into consideration too 🙂 xx

  • le

    Hey Scarlett,

    chibi_le from twitter, i know driving lessons cost me the earth but I was working full time and my dad helped pay for a few lessons. It took me well over 20 lessons until I felt confident to book a practical test.

    I was lucky to escape the universities fee’s so thankful for free education that some people are ungrateful for.

    great blog will check back from time to time

    • scarlett_dixon

      Thank you for reading and commenting, I’m glad you like the blog. Yep – it is expensive, but I suppose driving is optional after all? I hope you log back on again soon, I post new posts up every few days or so 🙂

  • Haze

    This is my fav blog I have ever read anywhere
    You NEED to be snatched by some big magazine already
    Was showing my friends this blog and they all loved it and found it 100% useful! Xoxoxox

    • scarlett_dixon

      Awh thankyou, I’m really glad your friends liked it too 🙂 xx

  • Sean

    once again quite a talent you have. just want to pick on something you said “However for some, it will mean they are given more motivation to work harder and strive for the career path they really want” this is very true, although given the current economy and government in power, it is becoming more and more difficult not just for people of our age but also for younger generations. However saying that where there’s a will there’s a way, and determination and commitment can always lead to success. One of my favorite sayings is “if you risk nothing, you risk everything”. You should forward this to some newspapers, its really good, i would of loved to do journalism, but never followed it in the end. keep up the good work 🙂

    • scarlett_dixon

      Thanks ever so much for commenting, I really appreciate the comments! It is becoming increasingly more difficult for younger generations but in some cases I think younger generations often take a lot for granted education wise and some might need a kick into reality to make them realise they have to work REALLY hard to get into their chosen career. If you’re afraid of hard work, you won’t get very far I suppose, so it’s all well and good. I love the saying ‘if you risk nothing, you risk everything’ it’s true! Thank you – I do sometimes forward my work to newspapers however very little ever reply which is a shame, but I might just take your advice> thanks again for commenting 🙂

  • Caitlin Walls

    This is such an amazing article! I’m 16 and 17 in August and starting to plan driving but it’s so stupidly expensive, my parents will pay for a lot of it but I’m going to have to pay too but it’s still so expensive. The whole cinema thing-I feel your pain I’m never believed as being a student even with 3 student cards! So I always have to pay the adult rate it’s so annoying xx

    • scarlett_dixon

      Thank you 🙂 I’m so glad you like the post xx