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College student spending money....

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by westjones, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Mic

    Mic <font color=purple>They can take away my freedom b

    Sep 15, 1999
    We currently have 3 kids in college (a freshman daughter, sophomore son, and a senior daughter), so money is very tight. My freshman daughter has NEVER worked, partly because she was involved in a lot of high school activities, and partly because she is lazy like her Dad. We give her about $75-100 a month, and she has 2 store credit cards we pay for, as long as she lets us know beforehand what she is shopping for so I can set a limit on how much she spends. She surprised me when she applied for a job on campus, and now works SIX whole hours a week; I am ecstatic! Her brother (15 months older than her), never worked either, until his second year of college, when he was 19. His second semester of freshman year was awful...his grades dropped sharply from his first semester. We accepted that some of the problem was his age(he had just turned 18), and some of the problem was not having high school teachers and parents there to prod him to finish things. Mostly, though, he had no time-management skills. We had three kids in college his freshman year as well--our oldest graduated from UNC that year--and it made me sick to think of the money we were wasting on his private dorm, high-end laptop, and pepsi and pizza habit. Our rule for all the kids is that they will maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better, or we stop paying for anything. My husband was hesitant to enforce the rule, but I felt we should for our son. We compromised: he came home for a semester, GOT A JOB (gasp), and went to the local Community College. If the grades improved A LOT, we would send him back to NC State. Well guess what...the grades came WAY up, he made some money, and learned how to better manage his time. He went back to NC State the next semester, and is now almost a junior. He worked last summer and contributed $1400 toward college (basically his meal plan), and comes home every other weekend to work. So far this school year, we have given him a little money and bought his books. Our oldest daughters both worked all through high school and college, was just as active in high school as our youngest, and still managed to bring home good grades. Both graduated in the top 10% of their high school class, got scholarships and class awards, and second daughter actually made the Dean's list the first 3 years of college (until she was elected to the exec board of her sosority...BIG money and time consumer). Oldest daughter managed being a sorority officer, working, and making good grades as well...that juggling has helped in the "real world". Second daughter (the senior) works and lives off-campus, and sometimes needs us to help with rent, food, etc., averaged out to be about $300 a month. Her tuition is mostly paid with financial aid and loans, so we buy books and pay whatever gap exists between the loans/aid and what she owes (usually @$1000). We also provide her car, insurance, and pay her cell phone bill, which we pay for all 3 kids. My son and freshman daughter do not have a car on campus, though, because of the high cost of parking. I'm sure they will have a car if/when they move off-campus. I guess what I am trying to say (not very well), is that we give varying amounts of money to each child, based on their situation. But we (or I) hold all of them to a similar standard for grades. Finding the right balance between work and school is different for each child, and even changes each semester. And I don't have to think about how much more I do for the younger two children...my older two daughters remind me all the time!;)
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  3. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    My school had a similar system set up. Once you got your food in the door, it became easier to get other jobs. I started out working in the dining hall, then switched to the front desk at the dorm I lived in (cushiest part time job EVER, I pretty much got to sit there and do my homework the whole time, and we weren't supposed to get on the internet or use our personal cell phones so VERY few distractions) then for my last year and a half I worked as a parking nazi. Since my first two jobs were both with Housing and Dining, I got to keep the "raises" I got the first year for the second.

    Those first two jobs, I only worked at most 12 hours a week when I worked the weekend, which we alternated. I could also take/trade other people's shifts for whatever reason.
    The parking nazi job I worked closer to 20 or more, but I had the college thing down at that point.

    I had several conversations with my grandma who told me I should take more classes a semester, because it cost the same once you hit full time. Apparently, it didn't occur to her that it might not be the same thing 50 years later at a completely different university.

    Ultimately, the actual amount of money needed boils down to the individual student and what they'll be spending it on. Even after I moved out of the dorms, my expenses were very low. Other than rent/utilities & tuition I probably spent less than $200/month on everything else. When I lived in the dorms, I MAYBE spent $50/month most of the time. That may have maxed out at $100 for the months when I had to buy a lot of architecture supplies. I didn't have a lot of time for "fun" activities though. Most of the money I earned during the semester, I saved to pay for tuition and housing the next semester.
    I didn't have a car until my senior year, and I hardly drove it when I did have one.
    If you're just planning on money for incidentals - the occasional pizza, and/or ticket to the movies, then $50/month would probably be fine. If their extra money needs to cover regular food expenses, gas money, clothing (I hardly bought any clothes while in college, but some people do) and entertainment, then I think $300-400 would cover it.

    It may be a good idea to start with the bare minimum, then up it when necessary. I got $100/month in the mail from my grandparents, while I was in college, and the only time I had to ask my parents for money was when the semester turned over and I needed to pay for tuition and housing. My brother, on the other hand, calls my Mom pretty much every month to ask for money. He has a car payment, and only works during the summer, so he "runs out" of money quickly.
    Be clear about your expectations, and keep communication lines open. I always knew I could call my parents to ask for money, but I tried to keep the instances where I needed it at a minimum. I didn't feel as if I was missing out on anything by not having unlimited funds at my disposal, but I also chose where I spent my money carefully.
  4. Karenj2

    Karenj2 Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog!

    Jul 8, 2002
    Sorry - I didn't read through all of the posts, so this might have been said already, but I wanted to relay what my parents did for me. My sisters and I were not allowed to work our freshman year, per my parents. They wanted us to adjust to being away from home, etc. before taking on a job. So, they paid for our expenses, including fun money. (My expenses were minimal - I have no idea what my sisters' expenses were like...) We worked during the summers, and then sophmore - senior years we had to work to pay for texbooks and fun money.

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