WINGING IT: I Make $1200 a Month, But I Commute to School, So My $$$ Goes to Eating Out

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: 20-year-old Latina from Florida

School: University of Central Florida Class of 2020

Avg. college tuition: $6,368 for in-state

The $$$ I earn each month: $1200

The $$$ I’m given each month: $0

The $$$ I get from scholarships, etc: $0

Current Job: Collector for a bank

Dream Job: Doctor

Where I live: Off-campus with extended family

How I try to save money: I set up automatic transactions to my savings accounts.

The Breakdown

How my friends talk about money:

Very openly and down to the cents. Most of my friends are in the same financial boat as I am so no stress or resentment there. What most upsets me is seeing other college students going on trips for a break or just chilling at school because sadly that is not an option for me. I sometimes wish I could let go of all of my worries and live stress-free but part of me also appreciates my situation since it has made me an adult and become more prepared for the future.Does money give me anxiety? Yes. I worry that I’ll fall into debt and won’t be able to maintain myself anymore. Money does scare me since I wonder what will happen if I reach a point where, at the end of the day, I don’t have enough of it to survive.

Commuting and $$$:

Commuting has its ups and downs. It's good in the sense that I don't have to pay $600+ on rent every month like I might if I lived on campus, but bad in all the money I spend on gas and food outside of the home. I feel like I spend a ridiculous amount on food, so I'm trying to meal prep. So far not going well. 

My relationship with $$$:

Since I turned 16, I have always worked and tried to pay for everything myself. It just gives me that sense of independence that I have always craved and I don't like owing people money. Money is tough because it's seen as such a taboo subject in American society, but it has a huge impact on what we can and can't do, and has a big part of our daily lives. Also, it feels lonely not being able to share your worries with friends or family, fueling the anxiety we may already be experiencing.

Landing my dream job and $$$:

When it comes to my career, I do end up worrying that it'll be harder for me to get my dream job since I don't have tons of money to fund it. I work 20 hours a week and I'm a junior in college. It has gotten to the point that working has started to affect my performance in school, so, I have decided to leave my extremely well-paying job to focus in school. Also, since pre-med students are supposed to do hundreds of hours of clinical shadowing, volunteer, research and more, I do not have enough of those as a Junior and have to take a gap year to reinforce my application.

My week in terms of $$$:

I’m not home that much since I commute 25 mins to school. I eat a lot out because of this. I have more than the average person when it comes to saving accounts, and I use apps to access most of my accounts. Starbucks is also a splurge for me since coffee keeps me going for my 7am-9pm days.

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

Monday: Starbucks latte in the morning, and another coffee before work.

Tuesday: Another double-coffee day. I need it. 

Wednesday: Latte with breakfast, go out for lunch/dinner in the afternoon, probably another coffee around 7pm-8pm. This is the one weekday that I don't work 5-9pm.

Thursday: Morning latte, pre-work coffee.

Friday: Same.

Saturday & Sunday: Varies on movies, dinner dates, yoga class, shopping. 

Are you winging it? Share your story with us.