Making Your Money Last: Stretching that skimpy allowance every week

By on March 7, 2007

It’s the phone call college students dread making. In many students’ eyes this call is crucial to further advance their college experiences and overall happiness. And all this tension is caused by just a few little words: “Mom, Dad, can I have some money?”

To make this question less frequent, some students choose to stretch their money.

“I saved up a good amount before I got to college,” freshman criminal justice major Ben Greene said. “I try to ration it over the semester so that it lasts.”

Vincent Mercandetti, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, thinks that the first semester at Quinnipiac is the most dangerous.

“I would think freshmen probably overspend,” he said. “It’s the first time you’re really paying for entertainment every single weekend.”

It is a trend for students to save up during the summer so they have a larger amount of money to spend during the school year. Typically, students save up for books, spending money on the weekend and even spring break. Other just save for a rainy day.

“I rarely have a goal in regards to how much I save up for school during the summer,” junior psychology major Angel Montanez said. “If I get a job over the summer, that’s awesome. Other than that, I rely heavily on my college loans.”

There are many simple ways college students can save money, the first of which is to buy in bulk when grocery shopping. Wholesale retailers like BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco have cheaper options but discretion is called for since students sometimes get caught up in the prices and end up purchasing more supplies than necessary.

Instead of buying pre-made TV dinners, buying meat or main courses and side dishes seperately might make for more meals.

Purchasing generic Brand X merchandise can also chop a few dollars off your bill. Poland Spring water is essentially the same as the “H20″ brand from Wal-Mart.

If you can’t make it to BJ’s or Costco, browse the store aisles for specials and use coupons. Stop & Shop in Hamden Center has an aisle dedicated to such items and there are new products on sale every week. Circulars located in the front of the store can point you in the right direction as well. It not only lists the week’s specials but indicates items on which you can save with your free Stop & Shop rewards card.

If drugstore items are what you need, CVS has a similar rewards system. When you sign up for the free extra care card, you become eligible for coupons that are printed on the bottom of your receipt.

Many students also have on-campus work study jobs. There is an array of jobs ranging from facility workers and teachers aides, to security guards and admissions workers.

“I get my spending money from working in admissions,” said Mario Bencivenga, a junior health science studies major. “My paycheck comes every two weeks, so at times I stretch it a little thin, but most of the time I’m pretty good about it.”

For students who aren’t eligible for work study, many alternative job opportunities are available. The Polling Institute, the campus bookstore, the Cafe Q or Bobcat Den and even the bank all hire students for $6-8 per hour. Students who can’t find a job on campus and who have access to a car might consider a job at one of the many chain restaurants or shopping centers in town.

If you find that you’re still broke by the end of the week… pick up the phone.


About Jim Ford