Sad but true, budgeting comes along with the infamous adult lifestyle. Might as well get a head start managing your expenses before graduation. Living in Tallahassee, Township’s readily available Beer Cocktails and the bougie Table 23 atmosphere right around the corner make saving harder, but I’m up for the college student budget challenge.
Learn about my college student budget as a student at Florida State University.
Major: Media and Communication Studies
College: Florida State University
How do you pay for your tuition & fees?
After many sleepless nights, mental breakdowns and late night study snacks, I graduated from high school with an IB Diploma. Luckily, any student who works hard enough to achieve this honor receives the highest tier of the Florida Bright Future’s Scholarship. That meant I could attend any Florida state school for absolutely free, which also included books and room & board. I guess that 26 hours of testing followed by a mono diagnosis was worth it after all.
What are your monthly expenses?
Even with the Bright Future’s scholarship, I knew more expenses would spontaneously appear. #adultlife. My parents blessed me with smart financing (my dad has worked for a bank for 30 plus years) and put enough money away to get me through college even if I didn’t receive a scholarship. This turned into my all things rent and utilities related fund, my fixed monthly expenses. I also use it for essential items like groceries, medications, gas and any emergency services for my car, my house or my own health.
How do you pay your expenses?
All expenses from fun nights and spontaneous adventures come straight from my own pocket—by that I mean all the money I’ve earned on my own without my parents help. This fund has grown via several jobs and paid internships over the years. From serving at a bougie 5-star restaurant for two years, to Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks Barista-ing, to finally landing a professional internship at WFSU Public Media, I’ve gotten quality job experience and loved every second. And with that comes a fair amount of moola in the bank.
What are your budgeting plans after graduation?
Money has always been pretty available to me, whether it’s my own, hard-earned cash or what my parents so generously have provided me with. However, this semester, my last hurrah of college, things got real. I’ve decided to start taking note of my expenses so I know what kind of income I should work towards. And, my dad and I have gone over all adult expenses like car insurance, phone bills, taxes and so much more. By the end of the semester, I hope to have acquired the knowledge I need to sustain and support myself in my independent post-graduation life. Eek.
I have made the conscious decision to spend less money on fancy coffee each week, and I can confidently say, so far so good. I have yet to spend a penny in Tallahassee on any kind of coffee. Of course I can’t thrive during my day without a steaming cup of joe, but this semester I have more time in the morning to make my own with my little coffee maker.
Check out a rundown of my week’s expenses:
I rolled out of bed before making my own coffee and breakfast around 8 a.m. I tend to buy bulk items, especially for breakfast. Most of the time I stick to oatmeal with a piece of fruit. Oatmeal costs barely anything so I’m glad it’s my favorite breakfast choice. I didn’t have to spend a dime this morning because I already had all the supplies I needed at home.
After that, I went to the gym and instead of buying a smoothie afterwards, had a protein shake back home with ingredients I’ve already bought. Then, I hustled to class.
Living off campus, I do have to drive to and from school. I didn’t have to stop to buy gas this time, but it certainly factors into my expenses every month.
Later that day, I had to do some big shopping. I prefer to go to Trader Joe’s because they have all the healthy and yummy foods like black bean pasta and cauliflower crust pizza, for not a lot of doe. I spent $75, about $30 more than on my regular shopping excursion. The start of a new semester always requires replenishing the supplies that ran out at the end of the fall.
On my way home from the store, I happily made a deposit of $300 at the bank. Ca-ching.
No major expenses today. However, I drove back and forth to school and consciously decided to make my own coffee and protein shake without buying any overpriced concoctions.
Usually I would run to Walmart for the best prices on toiletries but since I only needed soap and didn’t have much time, I settled for Walgreens. I must have telepathic skills because I had a prescription ready and didn’t know until I got there. I spent $14.12 for soap and medicine.
Today made me want to scream into my pillow by the time I got home around 10 p.m.
Luckily, I had a two-hour window of nothing when I went home and made myself real food before heading out for three back-to-back meetings.
I prepared for craziness this semester and stocked up the freezer with homemade veggie pizza I cooked with my mom over break. I threw one of those in the oven, tossed it in a glass container and threw it in my lunch box along with a salad and a protein bar that got me through the day without paying for anything.
I filled up my car to its maximum capacity to get me back home. I didn’t plan on returning home as soon as I got back to school, but emergencies unfortunately happen at the most inconvenient times. The cost came to about $20.
Again, instead of going to a drive-through for a quick lunch or caffeine boost, I prepared my own food and massive to-go cup of coffee for the road.
As soon as I got home, I ran straight into the arms of my wonderful boyfriend and every single time it feels priceless.
We went out to the local brewery tonight, so I got a beer for $5 and then spent about $10 on some munchies later on, to power me through a late night.
Today I did some grocery shopping to get me through the following week back in Tally. I picked up some pasta, almond butter and protein shakes for about $15, and snagged some food from my parents’ pantry (they offered). The rest of the day, I relaxed at home with my family.
Stopping at the gas station before I travelled the straight and narrow road back to Tallahassee, I spent about $18 to get the half a tank of gas back up to a full tank. Again, I packed food and drink for the three-hour car ride and managed to stray from the almost unavoidable “hangry” state for the whole night.
All in all, this week went swimmingly. I didn’t spend nearly as much cash as I usually do thanks to my handy-dandy coffee maker sitting on the counter. Spending less inspires me to keep up the good work. That way maybe, just maybe, I’ll become a millionaire some day, one less Starbucks cup of coffee at a time.