Documentation of the literature search
We want to explore what kind of information is available for students to help them plan and stay on a budget. Our main question is “How can higher education students in Norway survive on a low student budget?”
Our goal is to find easy and fun ways to save money, while still being able to enjoy life as a student. There must be a lot of information available, and we want to make sure that the students easily can access the most relevant information without issues.
The keywords we decided to use were “poor students”, “student savings”, and “student budgets”. We translated these keywords to norwegian, because we found that the literature available becomes much more relevant for norwegian students. We searched using Google and found a lot of relevant information.
The search provided accurate results based on the different keywords we used. Reading the headline and the small snippet under them provided insight as to what the search result contain before clicking it.
Based on the results it turns out there is a lot of information available, but it has different approaches and usefulness to answer our question. Most of them are blogposts and news articles, mostly distributed by companies or news media centered around finance. All of this content is usefull for our question and is helpful information for students. However, we did not find any scientific research with narrow enough relevant information.
All of the articles we found on this topic concists mostly of a sort of «to-do» approach to student budgeting. A lift of a certain amount of tips and tricks to reduce expenses. And while a lot of them are the same, they differ in being more detailed or even more personal from one another. There seems to be no final solution to how a student should save or spend their money, as every students situation is different. An example is if the student is working and earning money or not. Another example is being able to buy your own appartment while studying and cut expenses that way. Even have a room in the appartment to rent out to another student. (Dalsbø, 2017)
Most of the information we found comes from one of Norway’s biggest banks, DNB. Being a bank with a lot of customers – many of them students – makes DNB a reliable source for information and guidance regarding student economy. They provide a lot of useful tips and recommendations, though most of them are about preparing students for the life as a student and not so much actually living as a student. Following just some of these tips will help students economy, but some of them are things to do just once, and not consitently. To many people life as a student is the first real start of responsibility and adulthood, therefore the foundation for having a healthy and stable economy starts during this period. Many students can find this lifechange overwhelming and difficult. In many ways and not just financially. Being able to find information and get help with how to spend and save money should be easy. Doing so is another thing.
Because all of the articles we’ve found have insight and great tips on how to save money in general. Some more specific with examples of buying a PC needed for studies. Pointing out that you should buy it used instead of new, because the used one is probably good enough for your studies. Also dividing purchases into defined categories may help getting an image of how and when to buy necessities. (Bøe, 2017)
Another method described to provide good overview and insight into a students economy is to set up a thorough planner. Having complete control of everything. There’s a clear connection between planning and saving. Phone and electrical bills and the seemingly ‘hidden’ expenses that might be paid automatically can go under the radar for many. Also limiting use of said phone or eletricity to reduce the bills are great tips to reduce overall expenses. (Borchgrevink, 2018) It’s the general tip of save everything you can on every expense you have. Which in turn will make your overall financial situation better, but not necessarily improve quality of life. It also demands for people being disciplined and informed enough to have the time and capability to make a planner. And time or capability depends on your studies and time spent elsewhere, like having a job on the side. Which many of the articles also recommends. (Holmene, 2017) But a lot of students doesn’t find the time or strength to work while studying. And those who do doesn’t necessarily have a better budget either (need reference?)
In one of the articles we found tips on how to save money from a student, studying economics, perspective. Say she struggled to strictly follow the tips herself, but they helped her immensely anyways. It then lists ten key tips on how to save, spend or get the most out of your money as a student. (Dalland, 2014) Most of it is recognizeable from other articles as well.
From here on the information found in the articles we chose tend to be the same advices, tips and recommendations as the last. With a lot of standard information about the topic. Except one, which is refreshing and different by being more personal and specific. Made by a student, mostly for herself, but then she shared it on social media and have become popular among other students on Instagram. She posts great-looking, cheap meals every day to show that it’s possible to eat while spending a minimum amount of money. She has launched a book and inspires others to do the same as her. Her tips are food-oriented and since food is so expensive, students can come a long way by reducing that expense by a lot learning from her. (Høyskolen Kristiania, 2019)
The challenge is to get students motivated enough to do all the recommended tips written in the information we have found. Since most of it is just lists it’s not very explanatory or intuitive. It doesn’t provide any direct guidance or budget to students. It’s not visual or engaging enough for students to explore and learn by just reading them. Clearer guidelines and specific numbers as to how a student can spend and allocate their loan would have been helpful. The information of how much a student gets from Lånekassen is public, so maybe some of the articles could provide an up to date budget usable by students every year. Make videos explaining simple economics. Make it fun and engaging. Make it ‘cool’ to be financially aware. There could be interactive budgets or graphs for people to easily access and use to get insight. The approach should be more direct help and a «do this» instead of «here’s a tip».
Because a lot of the information requires a lot of work or a lot of knowledge about economics or institutions that a lot of students doesn’t know how to operate. «Learn by doing» can be hard in this matter. And that is also why economics should be taught as a subject in school, because it’s important information and it’s something everyone engages with more or less their whole life. It can also then be seen as irresponsible of a society to let students run around with a lot of money when they have very little experience with how to spend and use them in a effective and responsible way.
Luckily there are more digital tools and ways to gather information about finance economics now more than ever. Having apps for budgets, loans, credit cards, bills, expenses, savings, bank to name the most common ones, helps a lot. Many of these are intuitive and provides useful information, but there is not a single app for complete control or complete help with a students finances.
Borchgrevink, P. S. (2018, 22. februar). Slik overlever du på studentbudsjett. DNBnyheter. Hentet fra https://www.dnbnyheter.no/privatokonomi/slik-overlever-du-pa-studentbudsjett/
Bøe, T. W. (2017, 20. november). Guide til sparing som student. MatNatPrat. Hentet fra http://www.matnatprat.no/2017/11/20/guide-til-sparing-som-student/
Dalland, A. (2014, 31. juli). Her er 10 sparetips fra en erfaren student. Dagens Næringsliv. Hentet fra https://www.dn.no/studentliv/utdannelse/her-er-10-sparetips-fra-en-erfaren-student/1-1-5161261
Dalsbø, V. K. (2017, 31. juli). 20 essensielle tips til studenter. DNBnyheter. Hentet fra https://www.dnbnyheter.no/privatokonomi/20-essensielle-tips-til-studenter/
Holmene, G. (2017, 09. august). Her er budsjettet alle studenter bør få med seg. Side2. Hentet fra https://www.side2.no/aktuelt/her-er-budsjettet-alle-studenter-bor-fa-med-seg-4649548
Høyskolen Kristiania. (2019). En fattig student møter fattig student. Hentet fra https://www.kristiania.no/studentbloggen/2019/en-fattig-student-moter-fattig.student/