Need to know: The damage - Melanie Clulow on the cost of being a student

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It's tough being a student. Months of rising at noon in a "Where am I?" fog, scrabbling for your trainers and gulping tea made with hot water from the tap, the occasional burst of scholastic panic ...

According to NatWest, purveyor of many an overdraft facility to underfunded scholars, even the brightest sixth-formers get their sums wrong when working out how much they'll need for education, rent, alcohol and cigarettes. About half of the seven grand a year it costs is met through government loans and grants, the rest through sophisticated negotiating tactics ("Please, Mr Bank Manager ... "). Here are some realistic living costs for a typical academic year:

Study Tuition fees pounds 1,000; books and stationery pounds 195; late library book charges (for the worthy tomes that languish unread) pounds 2.40

Digs Rent pounds 1,326; utility bills pounds 315; laundrette (once a week-ish) pounds 117; home decoration (four posters - Tarantino, Samuel L Jackson, Che Guevara, Pamela Anderson) pounds 10; amount deducted from flat deposit for subsequent Blu-Tack damage to walls pounds 50; Lavalamp pounds 30; Thai rug acquired during gap year pounds 5

Sustenance Groceries (Monday spag bol, Tuesday spag bol ... ) pounds 790; eating out pounds 292.50; take-aways pounds 187.20

Stress management Going to the pub pounds 534.30; cigarettes pounds 360; Illicit substances (additional costs for the wayward few, one tab of Ecstasy, or an eighth of marijuana a week) pounds 390; chocolate (a Kit-Kat a day, for comfort) pounds 58.50.

The look Clothes pounds 390; latest Nike trainers pounds 100; toiletries pounds 214.50

Entertainment Music (CDs and vinyl) pounds 296.40; club admission pounds 90; live music pounds 100

Miscellaneous Travel costs pounds 378.30; bank charges for unauthorised overdraft pounds 27.50

The future Lottery tickets pounds 39

Total: pounds 7,298.60