Home for the summer means a few things. For some it means months of relaxation and alone time. For others it means working constantly to save some money. For me, it includes a little bit of both. I attended Penn State University, which is located in State College. With over 45,000 students and residents nearby, lots of restaurants and shops to spend money on. Besides the luxury spending, Penn State tuition racks up a lot of finances as well. Although I am currently on summer break, I still try to watch what I spend.
Take a look at a week-long Penn State student budget during summer vacation.
Major: Broadcast Journalism
College: Penn State University
How do you pay your tuition and monthly fees?
Lucky enough, my parents help me pay for a big majority of my tuition. Although we have already started to take out student loans, they always encourage me to not worry about finances. As time goes on, and I get a full-time job and stable income, I will start to help pay back my loans. But, for the present, they have it covered. At school, I work incredibly hard with my academics and extra curricular activities so that I can get a good job upon graduation. I put all of my focus into maintaining straight A’s, as well as obtaining leadership roles in clubs and other activities. I also received three outstanding internships, which will help to build my resume and stand out in the job application process.
What are your monthly expenses?
Renting an apartment in State College certainly turned out quite expensive. Last year my fully furnished apartment costed $745 per month, but the space itself didn’t look all that nice and I needed to share a room. This upcoming year, I upgrade to a more renovated apartment with my own room, but with that, my rent goes up to $1,075 a month. Having my own place sounds very nice compared to confining to the rules of a dorm room, but this also means that I need to pay for my own groceries. I try to buy a lot at once, so I limit the amount of trips I take, but I end up going to the supermarket once every week and a half or so. Grocery trips typically rack up to about $75.
I need to drive to get to the grocery store, and I feel lucky enough to own a car on campus. However, having a car means I need to pay for gas as well as a permanent parking space for my car. It takes $50 to fill up my tank nowadays, but luckily my car runs extremely well on gasoline. My parking space costs $75 monthly. I try my hardest to cook my meals at home, but sometimes in between classes it becomes hard to go back and forth. This typically means I will mobile order something on my phone. Sometimes I will eat a sandwich with iced tea from Starbucks, and other times I will quickly stop at a local place downtown and take the food to-go.
How do you pay these expenses?
Like I mentioned earlier, I rely on my parents a lot for money. However, I try not to ask them for much too often. When I stay at home on breaks, I also babysit a lot, which can save up good money, so I put money aside for this kind of stuff. However, I usually ask my parents for money when I run out, but I try to limit myself to a certain allowance a week. If I feel as though I spend more than usual, it most likely ends up buying for necessities like food or school supplies.
How did you spend your money last week?
Friday, July 22
My mom and I decided to take a day trip to the beach. We didn’t do it as much this summer as we would like to due to other commitments, so we wanted to take advantage of a warm day. We ate breakfast at home, but we needed something to hold us over on our ride there and throughout the day. I don’t know about you, but nothing hits better than some French fries from McDonalds.
$1.79 Medium French Fries
Saturday, July 23
My roommate came to visit for the weekend, obviously, I wanted to become a good host and take her out somewhere. Before we went anywhere, I needed to fill up my gas tank. We decided to go to a nearby town for some dinner and of course, I needed to pay for parking. During our conversation at dinner, we decided we would go to a Pitbull concert the following weekend.
$43 Concert Tickets
Sunday, July 24
On the second day of my roommate staying in town, my friends and I took her to the beach. She doesn’t live in New Jersey, so she doesn’t know the luxury of going to the beach for a day trip. But unfortunately, cheap price and the Jersey Shore don’t mix. Everything costs a lot of money. We also decided to take her to a really good restaurant for dinner, and even went to movies at night to see “Elvis,” (amazing film by the way). So, I think I can say I spent a pretty good amount this day.
$9 Beach Pass
$14 Lunch at the Beach
$10 Snacks for Movie
Monday, July 25
To make up for the expenses spent on the weekend, I did not spend anything on Monday. Instead, I ate all my meals at home and took the day to relax. I started to window shop for some new apartment stuff and attended two separate doctor appointments.
Tuesday, July 26
I spent the entire day working but packed all my food from home rather than doing take-out. That night however, I hung out with some friends, and we decided to visit our favorite frozen yogurt shop for a cool snack. My fro-yo order looks pretty basic with no toppings, so it doesn’t end up costing too much once I weigh it at check-out.
$4 Frozen Yogurt
Wednesday, July 27
On Wednesday, I actually began to purchase some stuff for my apartment that I kept looking at on Monday. I ordered a new makeup mirror, LED lights and some new clothes. I also purchased a new bed comforter, as I upgrade to a full-size bed, as well as a mattress pad. Luckily, my mom and I owned a lot of Amazon and Target gift cards from over the past few months, so our total didn’t end up too expensive. That evening, I met up with a few of my college friends who live nearby for dinner.
$100 Apartment Décor
Thursday, July 28
After a long day of work, I just wanted to go home, watch TV and relax. Given this, I didn’t spend any money on Thursday. I felt fortunate enough that my car ran really well on gas, so I still obtain enough in my tank to get to work. I made all my meals for the day as well, so I didn’t need to go out and eat.
School/Apartment Supplies: $100
Personal Care/Extras: $65
How do these breakdowns influence your spending habits?
Writing down how much I spent in this past week helped me realize one thing: I need to learn to save my money better. Seeing that one of my highest spending categories ended up on food made me realize that I don’t need to eat out as much as I do. Rather, I should eat more of what I get at home before jump to order at a restaurant. I try to forgive my spending habits this past week with the excuse of summer, because I can only enjoy the beach for a few more weeks before I go back to school. Besides, $43 for a Pitbull concert doesn’t come around very often, so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see one of my favorite artists perform live. I will definitely need to start budgeting because I will go back to school very soon.