Students budget money while attending college
2 mins read

Students budget money while attending college

Some students are excited to leave their hometown after graduating high school to get away from family or to have a fresh start, but junior Ali Stonebraker was excited to leave her hometown so she would stop spending her money.

She knows all too well what it’s like to struggle to keep money in the bank.

Stonebraker indulged herself with high spending at the mall during high school, but when she came to college she realized the impact of her shopping habits.

“I never had any money,” Stonebraker said. “My mom and I talked last summer about how I needed to really start saving.”

Now Stonebraker balances her time between a rigorous nursing program and working about 20 hours each week at Mexico Viejo.

She focuses her earnings toward living expenses and school.

Business professor Brent Clark said being conservative with spending and understanding you may not be able to maintain the luxurious, comfortable lifestyle you had before will be required.

“Be okay with being poor for a while,” Clark said. “Being poor now can help you be more happy later.”

Senior Lexie Madsen also knows the value of working during college and has been working on campus since freshman year.

“It helps pay the bills, and I make enough throughout the month that I can also save,” Madsen said.

Madsen did work-study for the Communication Sciences and Disorders clinic her sophomore year by helping in the front office with filing, errands and other administrative work.

She has been working for campus dining since her freshmen year and currently works at Chick-fil-A.

Both Madsen and Stonebraker said knowing how to budget is essential to managing money in college.

Clark offered some advice to students on ways to save money and how to budget during the college years and beyond.

Tips for USD students to manage and save money:

  1. Always, always, always pay off your credit card balance each month.
  2. Avoid taking out loans for things other than education.
  3. Drink more water.  It’s free, and better for you.
  4. Spend money on things that make you happy, as opposed to things that create   a lifestyle.
  5. Don’t spend all of your student loan money if you can help it.  It all has to be repaid and is not free money.
  6. Live with others so you can share rent and utilities.
  7. Track your food and entertainment expenses for one month.  You might be surprised.

(Photo: Senior Lexie Madsen has worked for campus dining since her first year at the University of South Dakota. She now works at Chick-Fil-A. File photo / The Volante)