Living away from home can be an exciting experience, but when it
comes to managing expenses, many students find themselves getting
Being responsible for paying for rent, bills, food and
entertainment can be overwhelming for students who have not yet
developed a method of budgeting. Many times students spend before
thinking, turning this journey into a nightmare.
Kelly Shoemaker, student manager at Off-Campus Student
Services/Resources for Adult Learners, said few students ask for
Shoemaker, a senior business major, recommends students needing
assistance in managing their finances come in and pick up a budget
workbook. This workbook is designed to “help you develop a simple
and practical guide for managing your money,” as it states on the
According to the budget workbook, a key to money management is
having a plan that requires students to think before spending and
identify their financial goals and spending habits. It also
suggests setting aside money for saving before spending, something
Shoemaker agrees with.
“Students should not forget the importance of saving,” Shoemaker
said. “Often students won’t save for the summer rent and come May
there’s no money to pay for it.”
Shoemaker said students often waste money on expenses such as
alcohol, fast food and going out to dance clubs every week. While
these purchases may not be too expensive, she pointed out that they
could add up.
Misty Gillette, the branch manager at First National Bank in the
Lory Student Center, said that while a large amount of their
customers are students, the majority of them do well when it comes
to their accounts.
Gillette said some students get into trouble with their Visa
Check Card, which allows them to make purchases like a credit card,
but the money they are spending comes directly from their checking
“(Many students) don’t write their transactions down which can
allow them to make a purchase one day and overdraw the next day,”
Gillette said. “It doesn’t come through right away, which is not
anything we have control over.”
When students find themselves lost in their finances, Gillette
said talking with a representative from their bank might help put
them back on track.
“The first step is to come in and let a banker know of the
problem so we can talk it through,” Gillette said. “Let us help
them balance their checkbook or sometimes it’s easier to just start
Gillette said there are resources available at First National
Bank to prevent students from overdrawing from an account.
“We do have things to utilize so you don’t overdraw,” she said.
“We can link a checking and savings account together or we have a
First Credit Line with overdraft protection.”
While Gillette said she doesn’t see many students getting in
trouble with credit cards, Meghan Martin, a sophomore business
open-option major, said she thinks it is one of the biggest
mistakes college students make.
“(One mistake is) getting credit cards and not realizing how
much you’re spending until you get the bill and freak out,” Martin
said. “Bouncing checks is a big one too.”
Martin and Shoemaker agree that eating out instead of cooking
food at home can deplete finances quickly.
“It’s hard with school – lots of students don’t want to cook,
but it’s cheaper to make food than buy it,” Martin said.
For students that are having money problems, there are lots of
ways to cut back on spending.
“Basically a lot of students are used to luxuries their parents
have where as living by themselves they have to adjust,” Shoemaker
said. “You don’t have to have cable TV and Internet.”
Shoemaker also recommends riding a bike to campus to save on gas
money and using a fireplace if you have one for heat in the
Martin said from her experiences it is important to remember to
put money away for when you need it.
“Some advice is that you should watch what you’re spending and
be more conscious,” Martin said.
* Live within your income
* Realize personal goals more effectively
* Develop economic competence and financial goals
* Maintain a good credit history
* Spend Wisely
Identify your Spending Habits
Q’s and facts about your spending personality
I often prepare a list and don’t add items at the store.
I don’t shop to lift my spirits or fulfill an emotional
Salespeople usually don’t sway me.
I am not extravagant on gift expenditures.
I never run out of money before the end of the month.
I read labels carefully before I make a purchase
I use the phone directory and advertising to comparative
When comparing prices, I always figure the cost of delivery,
I always send the enclosed warranty to the manufacturer.
I keep written record of all my expenditures.
I can be entertained without spending money
If your score is:
* 5 or more YES: Responsible shopper
* 1 to 2 YES: Reassess your spending habits
* 0 YES: Careless Shopper
Source: Budget Workbook, Off-Campus Student Services