Learning To Spend And Save Are Part of Being An Adult.
I quickly realized that I needed to place my daughter on a budget when she decided she needed to take her third Starbucks run of the day while at orientation. The university will bombard you with information regarding meal plans, scholarships, FASFA, and financial aid; but an orientation weekend can’t prepare you for the personal decision that is your student’s budget.
After Orientation, her father and I decided to have an honest discussion with our daughter to find the best option that would suit our family’s needs. First family rule; I will not pay for alcohol. I am not sticking my head in the sand and pretending kids won’t go out and drink, but I don’t have to pay for it either. They can use their summer earnings for that stuff. Books and school supplies were to go on my credit card (which was also there for emergencies.) Food, depending on whether your student has meal plans; lives in an apartment (even on campus) may vary.
For our daughter, the best option was to give her $50 a month in Owl bucks. She could use the Owl bucks at any dining location on campus as well as the Book Store and Outtakes stores on campus. We also decided to give her an additional $150 a month for other expenses. If our daughter chooses to use her allowance up on pedicures and sushi, then peanut butter and jelly can help to balance her budget. The point here is that we are not looking for our daughter to suffer (I assure you she has never endured any sort of agonizing hardship), but rather to learn to budget her money. It is our goal for her to gain some independence by not having to ask us for additional funds. It did take a little adjustment period for her to fully utilize her budget properly, but after her first semester, it truly was not an issue.
Mention to your student to take a look around campus for free activities. There are over 400 Student Organizations on campus. Getting involved in one or more almost guarantees things to do and ways to socialize. Often club activities are included in membership or are fairly priced. Many of these clubs even offer nights where they give members free dinners along with the night’s activities.
Maybe your student has a job while at school and won’t ask you for a thing. My student worked on campus as a tutor for a few hours per week for the four years she was at FAU. She worked about two hours per day, which didn’t interfere with her studies and gave her the extra income to do and buy whatever she needed. Since my student paid for most of her extras, I can honestly say it has taught her to really give thought to her purchases.
Consider having your student get their own credit card. It is a great way for them to start learning how to budget themselves while building their credit for when they are out on their own. Click here for some of our credit card recommendations.