Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Spending money in college
Old 01-04-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: chicago burbs
Posts: 559
Spending money in college

Just curious what it might cost for college students per month to pay for incidentals i.e. spending money (excluding tuition and room/board). Our son will be starting college in September and we are trying to budget this item. We figure we will let him slide his freshman year iro working so he concentrate on his grades (hopefully this is not wish full thinking) !

Thanks,
Golfnut
__________________

__________________
golfnut is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-04-2011, 03:33 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,812
We had the same attitude - better to not have a job on campus, at least for the first semester of the first year. But I can't recall the money amount we figured. We did a little clothes shopping in August, told them to send us any book and medical bills, would have set up a cell phone plan (if cell phones had been common then), and said no car on campus.

That squeezed spending down to laundry, snacks, movies, etc.
__________________

__________________
Independent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
ronocnikral's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 852
i disagree, i enjoyed my job on campus. i worked at the financial aid office. i also worked at the desk in one of the dorms on a friday night. i did homework for a couple of hours and then went out. both jobs allowed me to do homework while getting paid. in fact, i probably did my homework because i was just sitting around at the jobs. of course, I would have to file from time to time. and if something came up, everyone was understanding. i made my own schedule.

my discretionary budget in college:
- $300 for ski pass
- $200 for gas money to give roommate for driving (I didn't have a vehicle)
- $0 for hot water, ketchup packets, butter and saltines to eat at ski resort
- $50 for funyans

in all seriousness, if room and board is included, there should be very little extra spending. I would say $100 per month would get them by with a couple extra meals out (my school only had one cafeteria and it was a drag) and a movie or two. let's be honest, i didn't do a whole lot of laundry.

but it's all a matter of opinion.
__________________
ronocnikral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 05:41 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
A job keeps you focussed on the prize. No job does not mean more studying. It means more Facebook, more AngryBirds, more pizza after 3 am, more beer.

We don't give our daughter in college any allowance at all. She is flat broke and has to use her Christmas money to pay back her loans to go to concerts with her friends. She is even taking back to her dorm toothpaste, soap, and shampoo stolen from our home.

Or she could get a job.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 05:56 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,382
IMO it depends on the social makeup and homogeneity of the student body. If it is a lot of rich kids and not many scrabblers, he is going to need some pocket money, or be lonely, or transfer to another type school asap.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 05:57 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
I did 15-20 hours per week as a Physics Lab Assistant under the College W*rk Study Program. The job was part of my financial aid package.

I gained skills that came in really handy later in my c*reer. At graduation, I already knew how to operate lab equipment, do inventory, order equipment, and was well versed in lab safety. I also graded papers and supervised the students solo after the professor did the opening spiel. I knew all of the department professors and was given tremendous recommendation letters.

I also learned how to budget my money based on when my weekly paycheck came. No pitchers or pool until all my bills were paid.
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Nodak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cavalier
Posts: 2,317
I also did the work study program in both chemistry and physics labs. It was a great experience.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent." Pogo Possum (Walt Kelly)
Nodak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 06:42 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
KM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 391
As others have said, it really depends. I didn't want either of my kids working while in school either, as I wanted them to focus on their studies and get involved with activities. DD, in particular, had to spend a lot of time studying - school was not easy for her. She graduated with Honors, so in my mind, it was worth it.

We paid for their cell phone, and covered their car insurance and maintenence (no car on campus until they moved off campus). But we didn't give them spending money - they worked during the summer and during school breaks to earn their own spending money. They knew how much they earned during that time, so they knew how much they had to spend while at school. When the car went to school, they paid for their own gas. The first time we went to visit, we left them with extra some money ($100) tucked in their hands as we left. After that, we left them with food from shopping trips.

I don't remember how much DS spent, but I think DD started out trying to keep it to $25/week. But some weeks were less, some more. It really does depend on the school your son is at, as well as the friends and activities he chooses. Whether you give him the money or he earns it himself is really a personal choice, but I would recommend setting some kind of limit that requires him to make some decisions about where he wants to spend it - as opposed to having enough to do whatever he wants.

Books were between $400-$900 a semester, but will vary quite a bit by class, semester, and major. It also depends on whether you can find used ones. Some professors require students to buy the most current version of the text - so finding used might be hard. Others don't care if students use older versions. In some cases, students get away with sharing books. They can be very creative when they are paying for their own books.
__________________
KM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 07:20 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 2,947
My sophomore gets $30/wk and my Senior gets $40. I don't have much justification for those amounts, but the younger one has money saved from working in the summer and the older one shares an apt so her living expenses are higher than living in the dorm. I honestly can't figure out how they don't spend more (but they would if they had more to spend, I am certain). They are really unlimited since they also have a credit card for gas, groceries ( for the senior), emergencies, and stuff they really need (books, etc.) which they do not abuse.

Edit to add...both are daughters which I think are a bit more expensive.
__________________
...with no reasonable expectation for ER, I'm just here auditing the AP class.Retired 8/1/15.
jazz4cash is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 08:47 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
MovingtotheCove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 153
We have daughter in final semester. Each semester other than when abroad in London she has had on campus w*rk study jobs for spending money and fun. We pay for tuition, room & board, books, and cover health and auto insurance. She has paid all the rest from summer job money or the on campus jobs. We set up a bank account locally for her in her name in the college location as a Freshman with some "seed money" for any expenses...it was something like $1500 and she has added to it with her jobs and managed it well and never once asked for any money and is now a senior. Again, if room and board paid outside "fun" money needs vary by person and style of living but she is very frugal and practical and has done just fine over 7 semesters....can't really give you a number of what she spends as she manages it herself.
__________________
MovingtotheCove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 08:53 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
jIMOh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Milford, OH
Posts: 2,085
$50/week maybe $100/week
depends on if weekend meals are covered (my school had no weekend meal plan). So I paid $10 for a pizza pizza deal and that got me through weekend most of the time. Need another $5 for laundry, and $10-20 for beer and alcohol.

I had a workstudy job for maybe 10-15 hours per week, and that covered all costs.

A FEW POINTS:

Having less free time is better- for time management. My best semesters academically were the ones where I carried 23 and 22 credit hours, plus worked 10-15 hours/week, plus was active on campus in fraternities and similar. Once I gave myself too much free time, and I did terrible those semesters (failed classes, etc...).

Too much time is a bad thing.
__________________
Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. One person's stupidity is another person's job security.
jIMOh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 08:59 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
Our son will be starting college in September and we are trying to budget this item. We figure we will let him slide his freshman year iro working so he concentrate on his grades (hopefully this is not wish full thinking) !

Thanks,
Golfnut
Ummm....that is what the summer after high school and the start of college in the fall is for. That is, won't your son have a job so he can save up money for spending money?

I had two sons start college this fall. The older was going to be in the dorm and we said we would pay for tuition, room and board but he had to pay books and incidentals. He needed some car repairs so even though working didn't save up the money for books. In retrospect, I wish I had told him he could start college whatever semester he had saved up that money (he had known for years that this was our expectation and shouldn't have waited until the summer to start saving).

We gave him $200 for the fall for gas and for supplies at school and incidentals. Long story short on his story is that he isn't going back in the spring and I think his failure to save for books was indicative of his overall attitude and commitment.

Our younger son is still a minor so lived at home during the fall while attending college. Because he is so young his situation is different. We didn't want him to get a job either but I'm encouraging him to get one for the spring. Yes, he did work hard and did well in his courses. But, truthfully, he had plenty of time to do his studying and to still play videogames, etc. A part time job will cut into his videogames and reading, not into his studying.
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
Delawaredave5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 606
I think our daughter's budget was about $150-$200 per month, not including tuition, room/board, or books.

Friend of mine had a "progressive responsibility" program:
1st year- kid responsible for spending money
2nd year - spending money and books
3rd year - spending money, books, and food
4th year - above plus apartment

Don't think 4th year is realistically achievable with just summer and schooltime parttime work.
__________________
Delawaredave5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2011, 05:26 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
jIMOh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Milford, OH
Posts: 2,085
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delawaredave5 View Post
I think our daughter's budget was about $150-$200 per month, not including tuition, room/board, or books.

Friend of mine had a "progressive responsibility" program:
1st year- kid responsible for spending money
2nd year - spending money and books
3rd year - spending money, books, and food
4th year - above plus apartment

Don't think 4th year is realistically achievable with just summer and schooltime parttime work.

My fraternity dues were about $1500/semester, and that included room and board. If someone lived off campus, it would cost them about $800/ semester for a room.

In 3 months of work (12 weeks) I could pay my rent while working, food while working, and set aside the $1500 needed. Plus I made all my car payments and saved enough for the 3 car payments while at school.

The key to above success is I was not working as a lifeguard, I was co-oping in my field- so when life guards (like my brother) were making $8/hour (or less), I was making $10/hr (as a freshman) and $13/hr by time I was a senior.
__________________
Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. One person's stupidity is another person's job security.
jIMOh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2011, 11:12 AM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
ronocnikral's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 852
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delawaredave5 View Post
Don't think 4th year is realistically achievable with just summer and schooltime parttime work.
I think this depends on what your field is. In 2003 my summer internship paid $4000/month. Not bad for a student w/ 2 years of college under their belt. and the following year, I was a TA and a lab rat, I had more than ample amount of opportunities to work on campus. Combine that with taking almost 40 semester hours my first year, I had plenty time to ski, work and go to school. Of course, we all strive for different things and some things come easier to some than others.

Point is, a few bucks go a long way when you're in college. If you don't give them enough, I'm sure you'll hear about it. If you give them too much, I'm sure that will be expressed in silent appreciation. One last story. My cousin, who was given a credit card by her mother for gas and groceries during college was known to say at the gas station, "Go in and get any snacks you want, my mother is buying!"
__________________
ronocnikral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2011, 09:59 PM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 58
I had no job throughout seven of my eight semesters in college. Weekly budget could be seen as money earned during the summer divided by weeks in the school year (though high school graduation presents helped nicely)

With an on campus meal plan, I did fine spending zero some weeks
__________________
TomG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2011, 10:32 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,862
We gave our DS's control of the money we normally budgeted and spent for them (about $200/month), retaining enough to pay the cell phone bill that still comes to us. We pay for the normal dorm and full meal plan, transportation, and a book allowance. If they can find a cheaper place to stay or eat, they keep the difference. They pay us a small amount when they are back with us for food/entertainment/car costs.

Our first DS graduated with a nice portfolio and bank account. Hopefully the second can do the same. So far so good for the first semester. Hopefully they're learning some simple budgeting, investing, banking, and credit card skills. We're trying not to nag, other than to remind them to pay their credit card bill in full and on time.
__________________
Animorph is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2011, 11:00 PM   #18
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Agree with other posters about working during college. My best semesters were when I pulled 20+ hours and worked 24-32 hrs/week, left me with less time for extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities cost money, studying in the library doesn't. Guess which one is more fun?


Of course, the first rule to reduce spending is:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cheap beer.jpg (65.9 KB, 1 views)
__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustic23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lake Livingston, Tx
Posts: 3,624
We, family of 5 kids, got nothing. We worked during the summer, and were expected to use that money during the school year. DW and I did the same for both of our kids. Both took jobs while in school. Both graduated, however, it took our son twice as long. Actually it took a wife who had her degree.
__________________
If it is after 5:00 when I post I reserve the right to disavow anything I posted.
Rustic23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2011, 09:29 AM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,077
We supplemented our two daughter's summer earnings while they were in college. I don't recall the amount as it has been several years and I didn't begin recording our expenses until after they graduated. It wasn't until then (age 52) that I could visualize the possibility of actually retiring in the next 5-6 years, which caused me to really get serious about tracking spending.
__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Spending money Khan Other topics 12 11-20-2010 03:31 PM
Mad Money Spending Rustic23 FIRE and Money 34 02-08-2010 10:32 AM
Niece needs money for college kyounge1956 FIRE and Money 45 10-27-2009 04:13 PM
Monthly spending money? greg Life after FIRE 44 12-11-2006 05:21 PM
ER with Kids/College Money JWV Other topics 26 01-17-2005 03:34 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:12 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.