No one knows for sure exactly how much money they’ll spend in college. Being a student means being on your own for the first time in your life. Being on your own means learning how to manage your budget in a way that you never had to before. Some students work, some save, some are lucky enough to receive money from their parents. The most important way to save your money and spend responsibly is to plan accordingly. There are many expenses for students that not everyone is aware of.
I am currently a sophomore at Penn State University living in off-campus housing. I am in an apartment with three other girls all learning to live on our own for the first time. Some expenses that we have to think about include grocery shopping, toiletries, cleaning supplies, transportation, books and anything else that one might need to survive. I realized how much that can be when I started off this year. Purchasing all the things to be able to live comfortably starts to add up creating a large expense on your behalf.
I have not learned to track my spending in a smart way. I have declared it a new goal of mine to spend my money responsibly and diligently. I decided the perfect way to start this was to track how much money I spend in a day as a college student. After I track my expenses, I will then see how I can change these habits to be able to learn how to save money and spend money where it is actually necessary.
If I look at a normal day, the first thing that I like to do is walk or drive to Starbucks. It has become a daily habit to get my venti iced chai latte. This is a $5.04 charge. Next up: Target. I needed to purchase a few things that I ran out of at home, like shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste. This purchase rolled in at about $30.40. I followed this up with a trip to the gas station. Since I’m home, I am back to using my car again. It was close to $20 to get my tank back to full. Later on, I got hungry and wanted an açaí bowl from Playa Bowls, which came in around $12.40.
After learning about what’s important and what isn’t, it is clear my spending habits are very out of the ordinary. There are things that I do not need and things that I should be purchasing for myself as well. From here on out, I think by tracking each spending habit I have, I will be able to limit the amount of money I spend weekly and make smarter choices when I am spending my money.