Budgeting As a College Student

Rose Eney
Commentary Editor

College students are mostly always stereotyped as being “poor,” whether they’re actually poor or not. One of the biggest reasons that we tend to lack money is that, in general, we do not know how to budget; this can be a big problem during today’s economic meltdown.

Junior Fernando Gomes says that when he was studying in Budapest he learned that he was not much good at budgeting. “I went broke a few times, and since I really did have a limited amount of money, I would always be waiting for my mom to deposit more money into my account,” says Gomes. His tale is one that many college students can repeat.
As a senior, I can say that I have never worked during the school year; I work during breaks and save up money to get me through the semester. Though part of McDaniel’s population can say the same thing, some do not have the luxury of being idle during the semester.

Junior Abby Walker believes that the best advice for working college students is to set aside a certain amount of money from each paycheck for emergencies or savings. She goes on to say that if you do not have a job you should, “be mindful of what you’re spending on, or you’ll end up with no job or money.”

As for those who do not work while taking on the task of being a student, sophomore Kaitlyn Thomas has the best advice for them. She believes that using materials, such as the dining hall, the pub and Sandella’s, provided by the school is the best way to get around spending money.

“Going out to eat all the time is a quick way to waste all of the money you saved up from working over break,” says Thomas.

Regardless of working status, what are some ways that students can become more budget conscious? About.com’s financial planning section says that the basics of budgeting are relatively easy.

One must first list all the sources of their income, and then list all their sources of expense. Federal Student Aid’s website even has a budget calculator that is easily used to total up income and expenses (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/DirectLoan/BudgetCalc/budget.html).

Senior John Kelley says that another part of good budgeting is to create lists for shopping. He says that, “the only way to avoid buying a lot of stuff that you don’t need is to create lists and do your shopping at once.” Kelley adds that this aids in preventing buying unneeded items between shopping trips.

If creating lists doesn’t work for you, Gomes has one final piece of advice to offer; “what works for me in terms of budgeting is monitoring my account. I constantly check my account online.”

Though many students have good intentions of sticking to their budget at the beginning of each semester, there are always weak moments. I am no genius in the art of budgeting, and have easily failed my original plan to spend $20 a week this year.

However, some simple tips on how to stick to your budget are: don’t spend a lot of money going out to eat, always be conscious of how much money you have in your account, buy only what you need, and be a little creative when you must; hey, maybe your friend will like Glar’s cake for her birthday.