For the last two years The Royal Bank of Scotland has conducted a survey to discover how students spend their money. They report that the ‘average’ student spends £51.48 purely on entertainment, during every single week of term. That doesn’t include the £15.82 spent on clothes and cigarettes. Isn’t it staggering that a student can afford to spend hundreds of pounds every month simply on keeping themselves entertained? But before you start to heap all the blame on students, take a look at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s report:
What many do not consider is the escalating cost of enjoying a student lifestyle. Not only do students have to budget for obvious costs such as rent and socialising, but there are also many hidden extras: …like food, …library fees and course books.
Now perhaps I’m just being old fashioned here, but I thought the point of going to university was to learn! Not according to the bank. Library fees and course books are thought of as a hidden extra. The obvious cost, is the cost of socialising. And who thought to put the cost of food on the list of ‘hidden extras’?
After telling us that over 25% of students fail to plan and budget The Royal Bank of Scotland offer an ‘interest-free over-draft and money-saving offers, [which] can also help to ease the financial strain.’ What money-saving vouchers would really help the student? Tesco? No. Blackwells? No. The RBS gives 10% off holidays. 20% off CDs, DVDs and video games. 25% off concert and theatre tickets. 50% off night clubs. With encouragement like that, it’s not surprising that students are investing more and more in entertainment.
Not just a young people’s problem
There’s a great tendancy to write all this off as a young people’s problem. It’s not. The middle-aged and the elderly may not often be found dancing away to Franz Ferdinand, but the lure of entertainment is just as strong.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the average adult in Britain spends more time keeping themselves entertained (twenty six hours per week) than they do working (twenty hours per week). In other words, just under one quarter of our waking hours is spent on entertainment. And that figure doesn’t even include what the survey called ‘rest and socialising’.
Do you know people who live for the weekend? All week they work — with one aim, to get to the end of the week so they can spend their hard-earned cash in the pubs and nightclubs or sports venues of the city. They are no longer driven by anything purposeful. That’s not the way it is supposed to be.
God’s desire is that we might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). So what is God’s great plan for you and I to find fulfilment? Not television or concerts or the weekend. God wants us to be fulfilled, and He’s given us a wonderful gift to ensure that happens — the gift of work.
I’ll have more on the glorious gift of work in a few days time.
*An earlier version of this post has been hiding on this website (outside of the blog) for some time, and I thought it would be good bring it out for another airing.