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What I Spend in a Month as a Frugal UofSC Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

Life as a college student is hard — especially on the bank account. The majority of college students have to work in order to make ends meet. According to US News, about 70% of all college students work while in college. Obviously, everyone’s economic situation is different, and not everyone spends their money the same way. 

I love budgeting and keeping track of where my money is going. It’s very important for me to have control over my finances and to keep a close eye on my expenses. I am very frugal and spend probably much less than the majority of college students. This is mainly because I have no income and I’m funding my college experiences with my savings. Because of scholarships and my part-time job during high school, I am able to do this. Many are not in this kind of position, so I highly don’t recommend this and you should try to work if you can! I am part of the minority, who have the privilege to not have to work, and I received enough scholarships to not rely on student loans. I am very grateful for my economic situation and am in no shape or form trying to brag. 

As a disclaimer, this is my own personal spending and does not accurately represent other college students! Without further ado, let’s see what I spent my money on this month! 

  1. FOOD – Always my biggest category overall! 

I spend so much money on eating out each month. Campus food gets boring and repetitive at some point, and I can’t help but crave something else. Since I live in a dorm, I don’t often buy groceries, so I eat out instead. I also have an amazing boyfriend that would pick up the check most of the time, so please keep that in mind. (* = paying for two) 

*Toasty Hot Spot: $11.98 (One of the cheapest places to eat in Columbia!)

92 Chicken: $13.50

Publix: $8.44

Longhorn: $10.00 (tip only)

*McDonalds: $13.73

*Real Mexico Restaurant: $23.92 

TOTAL: $73.13 

  1. GAS and PARKING

I rarely spend money on gas or parking each month. Again, I have an incredible boyfriend that often does the driving, but I pay for parking if we ever have to. But most of the time, there’s free parking. I also only drive when I am going home, which happens about once a month. 

Spinx: $25.00

Parking: $1.00 

TOTAL: $26.00


Now you might be wondering why I have a separate category for coffee and boba — I have an addiction. Coffee and boba is my guilty pleasure. Though I can get “free” coffee with my meal plan money, whenever I go to a coffee shop to study, I like to order a nice drink. I also like to buy boba to treat myself after a long week. I just can’t help myself, but I did fairly well this month. 

Gong Cha: $6.44

*Loveland: $13.00

TOTAL: $19.44


I usually separate my expenses into more categories like entertainment, school, and clothes — but to keep it short, I combined everything. The only extra expenses I had this month included a date with my boyfriend and paying club dues. 

*Couples Sweatshirt Making Date: $49.76

Club Dues: $15.00

TOTAL: $64.76

Overall, I spent a total of $183.33! This is a fairly good month for me — I usually spend closer to $200. I do actively try to spend around $150 each month, but that rarely happens. Compared to most college students, especially those who have to pay for rent and utilities, I spend much less. This is something I am very grateful for, and why I try hard to be frugal in my decision making.

Some of my tips for saving money include buying what’s on sale, making budgets, and knowing what you do and do not need. When I say buy on sale, I don’t mean things you don’t need. I mean when you’re comparing two items you need or desperately want, choose the cheaper one. Quality isn’t worth it when you are spending half of your checking on it. 

My boyfriend and I like to have a monthly budget challenge for our dates. The challenge is to not spend more than $60 individually each month. This can be accomplished by staying in most nights or doing free activities instead. 

Growing up, I was taught from an early age of what NOT to do with my money. I have seen how bad financial habits can lead to chaos, so I work hard in order to limit my spending. I encourage other college students to consistently budget, or at least keep track of their expenses, and learn the fundamental basics of personal finance now! I hope you enjoyed seeing my spending and gained insights on life as a college student!

Avona Le

South Carolina '25

Hi! I'm the Editor in Chief at the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter. I oversee all articles published by our chapter and even write some of my own! I'm currently a junior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, majoring in Marketing and Finance with a concentration in Business Analytics. I want to pursue a career in marketing analytics or market research. In my free time, I love to try new restaurants, hang with friends and go on walks. I am always down to catch an amazing view of the sun or the stars!