By Loutchina Jacques; The Whetstone
Many students at Wesley College say they struggle to find ways to manage their money, but for others it seems to come easy.
Junior Nickolas Stewart said he struggles with saving money while living on campus.
“I spend a lot of money on food and I will admit that I am not good at budgeting my money,” he said. “I’m from Baltimore, which is kind of far from the school, so I do not go home often to work. My parent usually sends me money every Friday. I would say I spend at least $50 on food weekly.”
Unlike Stewart, senior Alexis Bynum finds ways to budget for school.
“I’m from Salisbury, Md., that’s about 45 minutes from school, so I try to go home every chance that I get to work,” she said. “I put money in my savings for groceries and personal items, and I only use money when it is needed.”
But she does have fun.
“When I do spend money on fun activities, my friends and I usually go to the movies on Tuesday, when it’s only $5,” she said. “We like to go to Applebee’s after 9 p.m. when the appetizers are half off”.
Some students said they have learned over time how to budget better.
“I would say my first few years I did not keep track on my spending while in college,” senior Ashli Moore said.
“I usually spend most of money on food. Throughout the year I’ve gotten better at managing my budget, and I try not to eat out so often anymore. I go home every break to work.”
Many students said they get their funds from their parents.
“I don’t really spend my money often unless I have too,” senior Edward Major said
“I cut down on buying food a lot, eat the school food, and use the Pod as much I can,” he said. “I had a job during break so I put money aside for school. My mother also sends me money.”
Others work an on-campus or off-campus job.
Senior Nneeka Anderson works off campus and lives on her own.
“Living off-campus for the past two years, I had to learn how to manage my budget differently than before,” she said. “The technique that works for me is I usually use one of my paychecks for fun stuff, cable and electric bill. My other checks go toward my rent, car insurance, and credit card bills.”
She said that helps her also to keep track of her bills and payments.
Senior Sidney Brokenborough says meal preps save her money.
“I was spending way too much money on eating out, and ordering food, so I started cooking my own food.”
Accounting Professor Mark Whitaker said that managing your money in college is just part of a lifelong process.
“It starts with managing, first, debit or credit card properly to planning for medical costs in retirement,” he said. “It is not about being cheap but being frugal and not wasteful. Budgeting is all about balancing the money coming in versus the money going out.”
Tips on how to manage your money from Professor Mark Whitaker, an accountant.
- Search out (digital) coupons for your favorite items or places before you go.
- Buy store brands instead of name-brand items.
- Consider second-hand shops for name brand clothes.
- Sign up for gas cards at Royal Farms or Wawa and save 10 to 25 cents a gallon on gas (may require a debit card)
- Split the cost of streaming services like Amazon, Netflix and Disney +. Most services allow you to have multiple users (or use your parents’ account if they have one).
- Take advantage of coffee shops and restaurants that have free or discounted items on your birthdays.
- Happy Hours are not all about alcohol. Most restaurants offer half price or discounted food items (you may need to purchase something, even a soda might be enough).
- When eating out (fast food or otherwise) order water with your meal. A couple sodas will significantly increase, even double your bill.
- Take advantage of visiting parents or relatives for a free meal, for both you and your roommate.
- If something breaks or needs repair, check out YouTube videos and see if you might be able to repair it yourself.
- If your parents have a Comcast account you can get free virus protection for your electronic devices. You just need them to set up a Comcast email account for you (even if you do not use it).
- Take advantage of the Microsoft Office suite available to Wesley students (on line version free, PC-based is a nominal charge).
- Avoid late fees on debit or credit cards. Set up alerts on your accounts to notify you when your account falls below a certain balance or when payments are due. These fees can really add up.
- Continually review your credit or debit account statements for recurring items you don’t use anymore (i.e. digital services, gym memberships).