A growing city like Columbus houses many restaurants, small businesses, and fun activities. There’s so much to do, it’s easy to spend all your cash here hopping through the city. However, students from all over the world with varying backgrounds go to OSU. So, with that comes concerns about budgeting while studying, partying, and drinking lots of coffee.
It’s a Balancing Act of Work and Play for this Buckeye.
College: The Ohio State University
Tuition and Fees
Fortunately, I receive a lot of financial aid which covers my tuition entirely. Which allows me to save money for future spending. My mom never lectured me too much about spending habits but did always caution me of overspending. I am super grateful for that lesson because I have found myself more money conscious than most of my peers. I learned how to value every dollar early which pushed me towards grinding out my academic work to get in and get out.
What are your monthly expenses?
I decided to live off campus towards the Worthington and Columbus area due to the high crime around the university district. My rent is $929 without utilities and $1,164.32 with utilities/fees. The $235.32 comprises of cable, internet, pet rent, garbage, and water. Additionally, another $80 for gas and electric. My cat needs to go to the vet monthly for a shot for his gut which is around $32. I mainly eat a lot of homecooked meals which I store away to have over time. My grocery bill from Giant Eagle is around $40 and my gas bill is $60. Recently, with the gas shortage, this has upped my spending for gas. Everything totals to be $1,376.32; this amount will vary depending on if I need to buy cat food, supplies, etc.
How do you pay your expenses?
My mom and I came to an agreement that she will only pay for my rent. I pay for my utilities, gas, electric, cat stuff, food, and gas. With the help of my mom (and financial aid) this is a system that works for us. Being a big saver, I always have money to last a couple months in case I don’t have a job. For most of my college life, I have had a job. The job I had was a cashier position for a local small business which paid me $15/hr with commission after I proved I understood products. When I had this job, I worked 15 to 20 hours a week which made my bi-weekly paycheck between $500 to $700. Currently, I am not working due to unfortunate circumstances, but I have set myself up to do so with my savings before and during college.
What are your budgeting plans for after graduation?
My only goal for after graduation is to find a job that pays me well enough to be fully independent. With this goal, I plan on moving in with my boyfriend which will reduce the costs by half. Currently, I do not plan to further my education until I gain experience in the workplace. However, it is still a possibility which I will unconsciously save for.
How did you spend your money last week?
Monday September 13
Monday morning, I took my cat, Fred, to the vet for his annual and picked up his special food. This vet visit was a little more costly than normal due to the large food bag I bought. I stayed at home all day because I didn’t have class. I cooked food and brewed coffee.
$236.40 for vet visit
Tuesday September 14
This Tuesday I received my final paycheck from my job along with a Covid-19 emergency grant. On Tuesdays I have class which I welcome with a cup of coffee from the café at school. I pay for food on campus with leftover dining dollars from my freshman year when I had a meal plan. Dining dollars is cash loaded into your school ID. When you use this, you get 35% off your order. After class, I went back home to cook lunch. Tuesday turned out to be a good day with cash flowing in and no spending.
Wednesday September 15
On this day, I did not do much besides going to school and the bookstore. I scrolled on TikTok aimlessly to be recommended The Love Hypothesis which released that same day. Of course I needed to rush to my independent book store to grab it while, sadly, paying for parking.
$17.20 at Prologue Bookshop
$2.00 for parking
Thursday September 16
This day was full of errands. I stopped by Kroger to shop for some ramen and stopped to pump gas. The day was very uneventful full of course work and homecooked meals. However, I did treat myself to some bubble tea to brighten up the very boring day because I didn’t get my morning coffee.
$25.45 at Kroger
$30.95 at GetGo Gas
$5.50 Bubble Tea
Friday September 17
Friday marks the real end to my week. At this point, I have finished all my course work for the week and have time to hang out with friends. This day was greeted with the usual coffee from the campus café on the way to class.
Saturday September 18
I like to start my weekend by visiting the local farmer’s market. Here I will buy any groceries I need to support small and local. On this particular day, I visited many vendors and bought apples, baked goods, honey, pasta, and coffee. I did not spend money anywhere else, but it felt good to support local businesses.
$9.00 Fruit Farm
$19.00 baked goods
Sunday September 19
Sundays for me mean getting ahead for the week and meal prepping. I spend my Sundays holed in my apartment cooking, cleaning, and working on my courses. This day really saves me money because I get ahead of meals which prevents me from eating out.
Week Total: $375.75
Personal Care: $0
Household essentials: $0
School supplies: $0
How does seeing this influence your spending habits?
This week marked a significant amount in spending. However, I find most of my purchases justifiable because they were essentials. This week I spent a lot on food to cook new meals which is different from most weeks. The vet visit was the costliest, but I love my cat and will spend what I can to keep him healthy. Overall, I am proud of the way I spend money because I don’t spend money on non-essentials that much.