How much did you spend yesterday?
Let’s play with some numbers. These assume you’re not opposed to going out to eat, drinking occasionally, restocking the wardrobe and the cupboard, and other various college shenanigans. The asterisk (*) means I made it a weekly number – you don’t drink every day – and divided it by 7. (#) means divided by thirty days – a monthly charge.
Check out the “Daily Charts” box to this story. Oof. $50 per day, and that doesn’t include your phone bill, any car issues, your occasional big purchase, parking tickets, movie tickets, internet purchases, and other odds and ends.
A large number of college kids skate by on loans, grants, and minimum wage jobs. Most of us probably don’t come even close to making $50 a day. In the meantime, debt accumulates. Last year, MLive reported that Ferris led the state in average student debt at $35,476. How excited are you about graduating now?
Telling you to scale back on your Starbucks is probably the last thing I should do, but I urge you to spend a week or so calculating how much you spend each day. I did it for last week and, while I am loathe to share those numbers in print, it was pretty terrifying. It’s like looking at the nutrition information on a muffin – those dollar figures/grams of fat and sugar aren’t negotiable.
It feels bad, but it’s like any other habit that’s good for you. After powering through the first few weeks, it will be part of your routine. And with this good habit, you don’t end up with burning hamstrings or high grocery bills.
There are apps for that phone you drop almost three digits on a month that can help you do this. HomeBudget with Sync, Mint.com, Moneywiz – apps like these, especially those with sync capabilities, make budgeting easier and slightly less painful. Plug in a budget and your accounts, and these apps will do the dirty work of yelling at you to stop spending.
Life without comfortable loans and grants isn’t far away. Better to prepare now – most of us won’t be landing cushy jobs right after graduation. For those that do, well, continue as you were. We’ll just look on jealously in our penny-pinching corner.