Six in ten of 18-24 year olds budget formally
- 18-24 year olds are more than four times as likely to use a budgeting app than all other age groups combined
- Half a million young people will leave university £44,000 in debt
As around half a million  young people prepare to start university in the coming weeks, armed with the knowledge that they will graduate with more than £40k of debt on average, new research shows they will budget more carefully than their parents and grandparents.
The study, by SunLife, found almost six in ten (57%) of 18-24 year olds budget formally compared to just 39% of those aged 55-64 and less than a third (32%) of those aged 65 and over.
Furthermore, those aged 24 and under are four times as likely to use a phone app to keep an eye on their incomings and outgoings than any other age group, with one in seven using a phone app to budget, compared to just 4% of all the other age groups combined.
Dean Lamble, managing Director of SunLife said: “There could be lots of reasons why younger people are budgeting more formally than their parents and grandparents generations. But, living through seven years of recession – starting at around the time many of this generation started to become responsible for their own finances – has probably had a huge effect on how they view money. The continuing rise in the cost of attending university could also be forcing more young people to keep a very close eye on their finances.”
Grants vs. debts
More than 470,000 young adults  will be starting university next week; by the time they graduate they will be £44,000 in debt on average . This compares to their parents and grandparents, who, if they did attend university, would most likely have received a grant to cover their fees. 
Student loans weren’t brought in until 1989, and even then, poorer students still received grants of up to £2,265 (equivalent to £6,500 today) .
Mr Lamble concludes, “While today’s 50-70 years olds are likely to be the first generation to be better off than their parents and their children, today’s young people are leaving university saddled with tens of thousands of pounds of debt. Younger people are budgeting more stringently than any other age group because they have to. They are making use of the budgeting tools and technology available to them because they have no choice but to budget carefully and be savvy with their cash.”
About the research
3,985 people were surveyed by Charterhouse on behalf of SunLife as part of the Cash Happy report – a wider piece of research looking into the links between cash and happiness.
1. UCAS figures - as of midnight on 20 August 2015 - a total of 477,280 students have been placed in full time education including break down of age groups.
2. University loan data taken from Payback Time? Sutton Trust’s report into student debt.
3. Historical funding data taken from The Telegraph.
4. Relative prices/inflation data taken from Thisismoney historical inflation calculator.