WINGING IT: My College Friends Use Their Parents' Credit Cards. I Get $0 A Month From Mine.

For a long time, women have been afraid to talk about money. It’s been seen as taboo, tacky, and straight up awk. But not anymore. As a part of our 10th anniversary, we’re launching Winging It, an anonymous series where we ask college women how they spend their money, make their money, and think about money. Sometimes, we’re planning our finances well in advance; other times, we’re straight up winging it. Either way, we’re getting real.

The Basics

Who I am: 19-year-old white woman from Pennsylvania

School: Drexel University Class of 2022

Avg. college tuition: $48,791

The $$$ I earn each month: $1000

The $$$ I’m given each month: $0

The $$$ I get from scholarships, etc: $40,000

Current Job: Waitress

Dream Job: Public Defender

Where I live: On-campus dorm

The Breakdown

How I try to save money:

To save money, I try to not eat out, and when I shop, I thrift shop or shop sales in general instead of paying full-price. I love going home for breaks to be with my family, and to earn a couple extra bucks at the job I had in high school. I thrift shop a lot, so I still think I have good style on a good budget. I find ways to make it work.

How my friends talk about money:

“I’m broke.” “Me too.” A lot of my friends have a credit card on their parents accounts. While they do feel bad about spending a ton of money on it, they still have the money to eat out, go out, and shop. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do those things because I don’t have that kind of money. A lot of my money anxiety is a social thing. People go out to eat on the weekends to hang out, and I don’t want to be left out, so I go and spend money I don't necessarily have. I can't frivolously spend money on food and activities like my friends can, but I don't want them to feel guilty or like they can't invite me to things or should feel bad about it because I can't afford it. It can be kind of frustrating at times not coming from a lot of money. 

My relationship with money:

Money gives me extreme anxiety, especially when thinking about the future. I think a lot about going into debt and having bad credit. Money has definitely impacted my job search even though I, obviously, don't want it to. I truly want my future career to be morally fulfilling, but money is constantly in the back of my mind. I want something with the best of both worlds. I think that working as a public defender will supply me with money to live a comfortable life with work that I enjoy and that helps others. From here I can possibly move to other jobs with higher salaries, but that is not my main goal. 

Asking for money:

I definitely do not feel comfortable asking my relatives for money. I hate even asking my parents for money for a bus to visit home, even though I know they would gladly pay for it. I feel bad asking for money because I feel like in the time I take asking I could be working for it. Also, I know a lot of the time that the people I would ask don't even have that kind of disposable money to spend, and they have their own necessities. 

My week in terms of $$$:

I spend on food and coffee, save on clothing and transportation, and splurge on concert tickets/other events on occassion. 

Here is an example of my spending from a week earlier this month:

Monday: I do not usually spend money because I am on my campus dining plan.

Tuesday: I save by going to dining halls.

Wednesday: More dining halls. I avoid going out to eat during the week.

Thursday: Yet again, more dining halls.

Friday: On Friday, I will usually go out to dinner with my friends.

Saturday: I buy iced coffee as a treat. It's really my only "splurge," tbh. 

Sunday: I usually buy another meal because one of the dining halls is closed. Then, back to dining halls Monday-Thursday.

Are you winging it? Share your story with us.