Supervise an Easy Budget for Your College Student

haveuheard budget

This is a budget lesson that will serve you in the future!

Some students actually keep to a budget. Well, sort of. I admit, it was hard telling my daughter, as I watched her weekly allowance dwindle, that she better be a bit more cautious or stock up on peanut butter for her next few meals until her next allowance came. I knew though that the gift of teaching her to budget her money would be far more useful than the pain I was feeling saying no or even when she had to stay back when her friends headed out for sushi.

At orientation we were inundated with information about all sorts of things; from FAFSA forms to meal plans. No one ever really elaborated on the best way to handle finances when it came to how much to give your new student. Perhaps this is because it will vary based on need, ability, preparedness to handle the responsibility, what an allowance should cover, and so on.

First things first, what will their allowance cover? 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 a meal plan or lives in an apartment, may vary.

There are also UMD Dining Dollars which can be used in cafes, convenient shops, brand-name fast-food stores, and many university locations. If you are putting money on there, perhaps you want to give less in their allowance. To come up with a weekly dollar amount, we polled other parents whose students also didn’t have a meal plan, but had a kitchen, and $75 was right in the middle of the census. 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 to not have to support her after college and believe this may ease her into that realm.

Some Good News

The good news is that there are plenty of places around UMD’s campus that make sticking to a budget possible. There are also a few good tricks. For instance, if your students have a meal plan, encourage them to bring back a few snacks from the dining room for later. There is nothing wrong with leaving with a banana, apple, or hardboiled egg. Other great options that students can utilize are the convenient shops around campus. These stores have everything from food staples to school supplies. When students are looking for late-night snacks and necessities, they have the option of going to 24 which is open 24 hours.

Check out apps like Pocket Points, Zupp, and Stealz. They all offer discounts, alert to specials, and help students find good deals in one way or another. Tell them, too, to check out some of their favorite places to see if they give a student discount, money off if you check in on Facebook, or have weekly specials. There are many other places to eat around campus that are budget-friendly too. Some restaurants have a reward system; points can add up quickly.

When it comes to grocery stores, Lidl is a great, affordable option. Lidl is located at 601 Baltimore Avenue College Park, MD 20740, around a 10-minute drive from campus. This grocery store has many weekly deals and overall excellent prices for budget-friendly college students. Consider having your students get their own credit cards.  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. These are our credit card recommendations for students.

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2020-10-23T13:30:03-04:000 Comments

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