College students, are you eating your way into debt?

Intern Alex and I have been doing a podcast for IU Money Smarts called ‘How Not to Move Back in with Your Parents’ and it’s a good time. This week we tackled eating while in college. I probably spent $1,800 a year on Papa John’s when I was in college, but you don’t have to make the same mistake. Listen below to me, Alex, and our special guest Sydney discuss eating out and eating in and just a lot about eating (podcast courtesy of IU Money Smarts).

 

 

Let’s be clear this is a personal responsibility issue. You are over 18 and on our own for the first time and doing whatever you want is really tempting. But spending hundreds of dollars a month on Mexican food isn’t helping anyone. Chances are you are already paying for a meal plan. Taking full advantage of your meal plan is in you best interest. If your meal plan is a point system you can think of it as practice budgeting because you have to think ahead to how many point you have allotted per week.

In our discussion, Alex and Sydney suggested that a $30 budget per week for extra food outside of your meal plan is reasonable. That’s $120 a month so it’s not nothing! Of course you can’t get a $4 coffee every day, but remember you aren’t spending your own money anyway. Chances are you are living off of a student loan. Which means that at some point you will have to pay this money back plus interest (more on making the most of your student loans here). So stick to a budget and if you want to spend more per week, I highly recommend getting a job. Listen to our podcast about working in college here.

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