As if college itself isn’t expensive enough


On average, students with jobs blow through their paychecks almost immediately for the bare essentials of living – not to mention expenses for school.

Many students have a vehicle on campus with them, which is an added expense beyond tuition and housing. Students also spend money constantly on necessity items like food, but buy unnecessary things such as extra clothes and accessories.

“I fill up my car once about every two weeks and it costs around $60,” Anissa Zagonel, sophomore in agriculture communications and journalism, said. “But my car is also an SUV.”

Zagonel is an undergraduate who lives three miles from campus, so she spends more time and money driving to class compared to someone who lives close to campus – like Shelby Hill, graduate student in agriculture economics, who lives a block from campus and rarely drives to class.

“I have a pretty fuel efficient car,” Hill said. “I probably fill it up about every three weeks and spend about $45.”

Hill said she gets paid to go to school, so she has more money to spend on her wants (like clothes and accessories). Hill, as well as other graduate students, receive a stipend for graduate school which is quite higher in comparison to a minimum-wage job. However, not all students have an income or extra money to spend on non-necessity items.

According to a Huffington Post article, “College students typically don’t have much disposable income, so it’s important for undergrads to be wise about how they spend money.”

These words of caution are not heeded by all students, however.

“I spend between $15 and $20 a month on things that I don’t really need just to kind of treat myself,” Zagonel said.

The difference is pretty clear between the extra things a graduate student with an income buys versus what an undergraduate with no income buys.

Between buying food at the grocery store and eating out, the money spent builds up pretty quickly. Even though students buy groceries, making the food is inconvenient so they spend extra to eat out.

“I go to the store around three to four times a month and probably spend a total of $40,” Zagonel said. “Then, I spend around $40 on eating out. It helps too that I can share food with my roommate.”

From an upperclassman perspective, it varies a little bit.

“I would say I spend around $200 on groceries and eating out in a months’ time,” Keelie Curran, senior in agriculture communications and journalism, said.

The income students make usually equals or falls short of what they spend, even for older students. Money tends to go out faster than it comes in, so the demand to be more money conscious rises.

When you figure it all out, spending varies from person to person. On the high end of the spectrum, students can spend upwards of $12.70 a day to – on the low end – around $5.50. Dividing expenses up day by day may keep money from seeming tight, but over time the spending adds up and can become a problem if not managed properly.