College Life on a Budget

Chris Hartigan, Staff Reporter, Sophomore

After graduating from high school, many students go on to continue their education at college — a pricey investment. The high cost of tuition does not include extra expenses such as food, entertainment, school supplies, and travel. As these additional costs start to pile up, students’ wallets get thinner. However, there are many ways that college students can easily save money and even make some to finance their lives at school.

College students can earn a large bulk of their spending money for college through a summer job, like working as a counselor or a babysitter. A summer job can allow students to earn between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars. Students can also hold part-time jobs during the school year, such as tutoring or working at a campus store.

Making a budget for spending can help students graduate in an economically stable position. One very important thing is not to waste money on non-essentials. Food is a clear essential, but getting a $7 caffeine fix every morning or going out every night will add up by the end of the year. When making a budget for food, try to avoid eating at a restaurant for every meal. If there is a meal plan at the college, try to eat in the dining hall most of the time.

If one absolutely must start the day with a cup of coffee, consider purchasing a machine, like a Keurig, and bringing it to the dorm. Though these types of machines can be somewhat expensive, some cost as low as $70, and k-cup pods, which come in many different flavors, are far less expensive than a Starbucks grande. Investing in a coffee maker will save money over time.… …

Another thing to consider while budgeting is the expense of housing. Try to research if it is more or less expensive to live on or off campus. In schools that are located in or near big cities, it will most likely be less expensive to live on campus. However, in some colleges located in small towns it might be less expensive to live off campus. If off-campus housing is the best option,consider living with roommates. A roommate can split the cost of not just the apartment but supplies such as food and utilities. If you are traveling home for the holidays and do not have a car, buses and trains are a much cheaper alternative to flying. If you know someone who lives near you and is going back home for the holidays, then ask for a ride and you can split the cost of gas.

Though enjoyable, college can be stressful when financial struggles dominate your experience. To graduate in the best position, both mentally and financially, make a budget and stick to it.