How do students spend their money?

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College students face an array of expenses, but the money they receive or earn should be spent wisely. Which begs the question: How are students spending their money? Competent spending is essential to maintaining a budget and achieving financial well-being.

How students decide to allocate their resources speaks volumes about their financial literacy and ability to maintain said funding.

Budgeting is an essential factor when it comes to spending. It is important to be mindful whenever receiving or earning money. Surprise life expenses or bills could appear, so students should not spend all their money at once.

According to Federal Student Aid, budgeting helps you achieve academic and financial goals. Budgeting helps you answer these important questions: (1) Where does all my money go?, (2) Is there a way to spend less?, (3) How will I handle unexpected expenses like replacing a broken cell phone or repairing my car?, and (4) How can putting money into savings help me with some of my bigger financial goals?

Four FAMU students spoke about the effects of budgeting and how significant it is to them.

Catherine’Jolie Tabe, a second year mechanical engineering student, spoke about how budgeting is helpful and the difference it makes in her spending.

“I do not budget. Budgeting is important, but I think it makes a difference in how you spend. You are able to set aside a certain amount of money and know what you have to spend, and you’re not spending out of your means,” Tabe said.

Jaylen Mitchell, a second-year psychology student, shared his opinions on budgeting.

“I budget a little bit, I don’t budget as well as I used to. When I make money, I have to start using it immediately for gas, groceries and things of that nature. I think when someone knows how to effectively budget, they’ll be able to live a more-fulfilling life. You’ll have more longevity with your money,” Mitchell said.

Takeira Nettles, a third-year broadcast journalism student, shared her budgeting method.

“I budget, budgeting plays a difference in how much I spend. The budget system that I use is the 50, 20, 30. Broken down, 50% is for my needs, 20% is for my savings and or any debts that I need to pay off, and then 30% is for the wants, that I desire. I can’t dig into my savings or needs budget,” said Nettles.

John Stokes, a fourth year health sciences student, shares his thoughts on budgeting.

“When I don’t have a budget, it’s willy-nilly because I’m looking at one pool of money. When I budget, I have a smaller amount left, and I know I have money to cover my essentials, I am more preempt on what I spend,“ Stokes said.

Another way students can become more mindful and proactive with their financial decisions is by employment. A job offers students a firsthand understanding of their time and the financial work connected to it.

“The best way for students to be responsible for their spending money is through employment. Students can work over summer and holiday breaks. A typical college semester is 15 weeks long. A student planning on spending $50 per week will need to save $750 to cover those weeks,” said Joe Messinger from Capstone Wealth Partners.

Here are 10 budget planning tips to help college students maintain and manage their money, according to the financial institution Telnet Bank.


  1. Know your cash flow.
  2. Identify your spending categories and current amounts.
  3. Be willing to rethink all your budget categories.
  4. Use online apps to reflect on your spending.
  5. Minimize borrowing.
  6. Go easy on using credit.
  7. Look for student discounts.
  8. Separate money into fixed vs. variable expenses.
  9. Think green.
  10. Think long-term.


How students spend their money is completely up to them, but it is always essential to practice effective ways to stay financially stable. Students should focus more on their educational expenses, essentials and everyday needs rather than their leisure wants.