UNIVERSITY students, especially women between 18 and 24, are heavily in debt, spending their money on alcohol, entertainment and clothes, according to a new study.

The study by Student Village, the Student Spending Report 2013, reported tertiary students spent their money on a wide array of expenses including rent, food, alcohol and—especially—clothing.

Clothing spending was the reason the most afflicted group, young women, were so heavily in debt.

Expenses and Debt through student eyes

“I was in debt for a while. I opened an Edgars account when I was in Grahamstown. I took a lot of clothing but paid little towards my account,” said Rhodes University graduate Doreen Radebe.

Radebe said it was easy for her to get an Edgars clothing account because “you just get called and get told to collect your card”.

She said she had to ask her mom to help pay off the account and close it. The report said black students spend most of their money on clothing while white students spend their money on alcohol and entertainment.

Alcohol, illicit drugs and cellphones were rated highest on student expense list.

Katie Wheeler 2nd year English said: “Most of my friends get their allowance from their parents. They spend their money on clothing, a lot of alcohol and petrol because they all have cars.”

The spending report showed students spend R3 510 per month.

It said 78% of students surveyed get this money from their parents and family. Bursaries account for 18% of income and 24% comes from part-time work.

Thato Maraisane, 1st year Music, said she knew guys who buy groceries in bulk, pooling their funds together, to save money.

“They bulk buy cereal, milk, bread and chips and then spend the rest of their money on alcohol and entertainment,” she said.

Gender and race specific spending

Student Village CEO Ronen Aires told Fin24 he found it interesting that students from different ethnic backgrounds spent money differently.

He said the report found black students spent more money on cosmetics, take-aways, tuition and gadgets while white students spent their money on entertainment, groceries, alcohol and travel.

The report revealed female students spend more than males.

In addition to clothing, female students spent more on contraceptives and music.

In contrast, male students spent more to get blinged up with jewellery and paid to have their laundry done.