Don't be the Broke Girl

    As I’m sure we all know, college is expensive, like to the point where you question if you will ever see a cent of the money you will make in your career without putting that money back into paying off all those college loans you’ve racked up. College isn’t just about the college loans though, you need that extra spending money for spontaneous adventures with your friends, getting away from dining hall food, shopping, and going out, obviously. No one wants to be restricted from fulfilling all of the fun that these four years of our lives have to offer considering these are supposed to be the best years. 

    Some kids are lucky enough to still have their parents shoveling weekly allowances into their bank accounts, or even Uncles/Aunts that provide whatever amount of money being asked for at the time. Unfortunately, my parents are not pooling their money into my bank account weekly and neither are my grandparents, Uncles & Aunts, or any other extended family.

    Coming into college, I wish that someone had warned me how expensive living independently is. All you think about when it comes to money for college relates to the education, not the fun stuff. Instead of being able to ask my parents for $10 here and there to see a movie, it’s on me to find the cash now. A single ten dollar bill leaving my bank account is like a shot to the heart. Those ten dollar bills make it seem like you aren’t spending a ton of money, but at the end of the week it all adds up, leaving a dent in your funds and an uneasy feeling in your stomach. I have come to the point of feeling so broke that I actually keep my change. Back in High School, I would just ask who wanted it, but now it’s a different story. If I don’t have to break that twenty-dollar bill, believe me, I won’t. 

    I started working at the age of 15, and my parents encouraged me to make as much as I could, and I am glad they did. I haven’t had to get a job here on campus (or off-campus) because I have been able to rely on what I have made over the past five years, but a lot of my friends can’t say they were as lucky. In college, classes and other factors such as missing friends/family back home or needing to plan your day to fit everything in are stressful enough, so it can often be hard to add a job to the list. It isn’t easy to find a job you enjoy that fits into your schedule, and if you don’t have a car, finding a job becomes ten times harder. We all want a job to see that steady cash flow, but it is also a battle between that or bad mental health. I have some money and I am still stressed that I am spending too much, so I can’t even imagine the people who don’t have anything.

I have seen my close friends here at school struggle immensely. My roommate alone tells me every day how she wishes she could splurge that extra $2 for a coffee from Starbucks. It actually sucks not being able to carelessly spend money on yourself when you feel that you need it to keep you going. With Christmas just around the corner, it just adds to the stress. Presents are not cheap and going out for fun winter festivities during winter break or visiting college friends is no walk through the park either. Fun costs money, and it stinks not being able to partake in the fun. It’s miserable being that friend that is constantly complaining about being broke and missing out on what makes college so riveting.

My friends and I have looked for ways to save up and have found glimpses of hope throughout the semester that keep us from thinking we are $5 from being in the hole. Here are some ways to keep your pockets not completely empty and to save money:

 

  • Return/sell books at the end of the semester

  • Rent books instead of buying them

  • Carpool to preserve gas (and save the Earth)

  • Eat in the dining hall, don’t be tempted to eat at McDonald’s or Taco Bell

  • Budget out a certain amount of spending money each week/for going out on the weekends

  • Ask yourself if you “need” something vs. just “wanting” it

  • Share resources, friends often have what you need if you don’t

  • Get a job if you have time

    

    Don’t restrict yourself from all of the fun, just keep it balanced. Know what you won’t regret spending your money on, it helps you stay sane. I know that I am not the only one who hates to pass up fun opportunities just because I don’t want to waste my money on things that I don’t need, feeling that I am just seeping further into debt. Therefore, I am telling you, if it’s not too late, save every cent you can in High School because you will be so much less stressed in college. Get that job at 15 and make that dough because it’s so much nicer to avoid the stress of balancing out your funds on top of the million other obstacles college throws your way!