On that college student budget

How are students spending their money and cutting costs with new income

When COVID-19 first shut down the state a lot of students found themselves without jobs and applying for unemployment. 

Unemployment provided about $600 a week to those eligible. Ferris also provided the emergency financial aid grant opportunities under the CARES Act to students. There were two phases of the CARES Act. Those who were eligible received $400 for each phase. So far Ferris has awarded 8,782 CARES Act grants.

Students spent these large sums of money in multiple different ways.

Pre-pharmacy freshman Kassi Kritzman received unemployment and the second phase of the CARES Act.  

“I bought a new car,” Kritzman said. “My parents totaled the car they bought me a month before I left for college. The rest is in my savings account and I use it when I need to.” 

Elizabeth Arner is a freshman in the welding program who also received the CARES Act money. She used the extra cash to buy school supplies, specifically a welding jacket for her program. 

While many students used their extra funds to pay bills or to pay for school both Arner and Kritzman agreed that some students did not use the money they received as responsibly as they could have.  

“I feel a lot of people spent it irresponsibly,” Kritzman said. “My brother got it and I know he bought quite a few pairs of shoes.” 

When going away to college and living alone for the first time, money management is an important skill to develop. In these uncertain times, it has become even more of a necessity.

“I try not to spend money when I don’t need to. I’m living in the dorms and have the meal plan, so I get free food. So, I try not to spend money on food unless I really need to,” Arner said. 

Small adjustments such as buying less Starbucks, McDonald’s and alcohol each weekend can help you save a significant amount of money.

“I stopped going out to eat as much. I really did not do anything but go to my friend’s house when I could. I never really spent a ton in the first place, besides on gas, but that was not a huge deal because I was not really going anywhere,” Kritzman said. 

If you are struggling financially during the pandemic, try some of these tips. Create a budget for specific categories each month and stick to it. Try to save for needs rather than spending on wants. If you find that you’re drawn to shopping apps, deleting them from your phone can help to eliminate the temptation for online shopping.

In addition, the second phase of the CARES Act can still be applied for through the coronavirus hub on Ferris’ website.