Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Higher tuition fees result in less alcohol consumption

According to recent information from Save the Student, a website devoted to saving university students money, with higher tuition fees students are going out less.

Due to the recent tripling of university tuition fees along with general rising costs of living, students may be taking more care to save money this year.

According to Save the Student, there has been a significant drop in the number of nights students go out every week.

First year students this year statistically go out less than final year students – a drop to 1.23 nights every week from 1.57 nights every week.

Furthermore, students may indeed be spending less on alcohol as well. UK students across all year groups averaged spending £19 per week.

This is down from an NUS study last year that indicated that students across all years spent an average of £28 per week.

“I’m not surprised,” University College fresher Chris McCann told Palatinate. “People have less money to spend, so they budget accordingly.

“I know more people pre-drink because it’s cheaper. Or they just try to cut down in general.”

However, this shift might not necessarily indicate that students are actually drinking less. All the data means is that students spend less time and less money drinking.

Earlier this year, Palatinate reported on Durham’s increase in alcohol consumption from 16.5 units last year to 18.8 this year, according to another university advice website, studentbean.com.

Evidently, Durham’s innovative student body may have therefore managed to pull off the impossible. On statistically less money, Durham students have managed to drink statistically more alcohol.

Of course, there are a few things that are also skewing the results. The first is simply that there’s a significant time overlap between the studentbeans.com survey and Save the Student.

Additionally, the studentbeans.com survey focuses on the results from alcohol drinkers alone.

Whatever the numbers may say, however, Save the Student does recognize that these results might not mean as much as they appear to.

“This news does not necessarily mean that students are drinking less, as it may be that the typical student is simply becoming more price sensitive to pennies spent at the bar,” said Owen Burek, founder of Save the Student in a statement.

But the bottom line is that many students who may wish to follow the preceding years in sheer volume of alcohol consumed will need to be creative.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Many welcome departure of pesky penny

The penny is on the way out, and that’s good news for people tired of dealing with the nuisance coin.

The Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing pennies Monday after more than 150 years of production. But it was Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who announced the penny’s demise about a year ago, saying the cost of manufacturing a coin was actually 1.6 cents.

Some bank managers are welcoming the disappearance of the pesky coin from circulation.

“I’m not sad to see the penny go, I’ve been waiting for it to go for years,” said Dominique Vallière, a branch manager at TD Canada Trust at Billings Bridge Plaza.

She said it became too cumbersome to roll up pennies brought in by customers. On the weekend, more than a dozen customers brought in their pennies, figuring the currency was no longer legal tender, she said. In fact, the penny is still legal and will be for some time, she added.

She said an in-branch display of a big jar of pennies is “to make people aware” that the penny is still with us. But at banks, retail stores and other businesses where cash transactions occur, the landscape is changing.

Across the country now big and small merchants are beginning to round cash transactions to the nearest five-cent increment. For example, a $1.02 transaction would round down to $1, but a purchase of $1.03 would round up to $1.05.

The owner of the International News store at Billings Bridge Plaza said he started phasing in the new system a few weeks ago to familiarize customers.

So far. customers are understanding and he hasn’t had any problems with the system, said the owner. He said he doesn’t mind saying goodbye to the penny, adding it’s a “hassle” adjusting the cash register to the new rounding system.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said its outlets will continue to distribute pennies when cash is owed to customers.

“When the pennies are not available (anymore) on cash owed we will round up or down using the government recommended guideline,” said public affairs spokeswoman Louisa Girotti.

Home Depot stores are rounding down to the nearest nickel on cash purchases by customers.

“It’s going to be automatic at the point-of-sale machines and self-checkouts and it will be a very easy and smooth transition,” said spokeswoman Erika Botond.

She said the “rounding down” is the right thing to do and fairer for customers, and the feedback from store owners so far is that it’s been a positive experience. She said customers will see a new line item on their bill showing what they saved under the new system.

Ilse Mitchell remembers saving “German pennies” when she was a young girl.

“I had a big metal box and once a week my father would take me to the bank with the money I had saved during the week,” said Mitchell, sipping a coffee at Billings Bridge Plaza.

“That’s how I learned to save and I still do it.”

Mitchell said she learned the value of money as a young girl and it is important to instil that in young people today.

“I still will pick up a penny if I see one on the floor,” she said, adding that most people wouldn’t bother.

She said she feels nostalgic about the demise of the penny in today’s cashless society.

“I will keep a few pennies in an old wallet because I know today is the last day (for distribution),” she said.

Source  http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/ottawa/Many+welcome+departure+pesky+penny/7917406/story.html