As college students learn to manage their money, they are
burdened with the chore of balancing tuition with recreational
Students must choose where to make cuts.
“We just go to the bulk foods and eat out of those, because we
can’t afford food,” said Carissa Stastny, sophomore fashion and
Stastny says that while she spends a lot of money on gasoline,
the majority of her funds go toward clothing. She estimates that in
any given month, she spends approximately $400 on new outfits.
“I don’t prioritize,” Stastny said.
Sophomore Jesse Brooks, English and political science major also
has difficulty managing his money.
“I spend all the money at the beginning of the month, and then
I’m broke the last two weeks,” Brooks said.
Brooks spends the majority of his money on food. He estimates
that he spends a total of $270 a month on food, $120 of which is
spent on eating out.
“I eat all the time,” Brooks said. “I’m a growing boy.”
Brooks also spends a fair amount of money on going out and
“I probably buy a bottle and a 30 pack a week,” Brooks said.
Although sometimes freshmen have slightly less responsibility
due to the fact their room and board is generally paid in advance.
They still face the difficulty of balancing their expenses.
“I think it’ll be a lot harder next year, because now all my
food and stuff is paid for,” said Matt Carlson, open option
According to the CSU Web site, students are expected to spend
around $4,375 each semester excluding tuition. The budget is based
upon surveys that produce the average living expense for students
and is considered to be “modest but adequate.” It allots $1,000 for
“incidental personal expenses.”
Christie Leighton, assistant director in Student Financial
Services, said some students have difficulty budgeting. She said
that eating out could be an area where students can cut back.
“Cooking at home is a lot less expensive,’ Leighton said.
Leighton said that many students try to take out large amounts
of financial aid and others take an alternative route by trying to
cut expenses as much as possible.
“When trying to find a place to live, look around and find
something reasonable,” Leighton said.