Budget Case: Full-time Student Working Part-Time

 

I’m continuing on the Rich College Student Series. After yesterday’s post, Jorge made a valid observation:Under ideal circumstances (you do get financial aid as in Part 1), this is a very smart idea.

My opinion, however, is that it’s too much of an ideal situation. Quite a few college students don’t have the support from family and end up taking loans and working 20+ hours / week.

FAFSA’s great if you’re in the lower income bracket, but as a middle class college student, FAFSA has done absolutely nothing for me in terms of grants or federal aid (with loans as an exception).He’s right that it is an idealized situation to stay at home while you attend college. If you are in that situation, consider yourself fortunate. As regards to FAFSA not being the end all of financial assistance, I also agree.

As part of that post, I also included state grants, school scholarships, and scholarships that can be found on the web. The reason why FAFSA is important is that many grants that are need based do ask if you filed for FAFSA. Don’t just count on grants and scholarships, but by all means exhaust everything before you turn to loans.

If you do have to take out a loan (which is very possible), please take the minimum amount you need.As for the budget yesterday, I wanted to start off with something simple and work from there.

Today, we’re looking at someone who works part-time (30 hours) and goes to school full-time (12 credits). To complete this I had to make some assumptions:

  • Rent was calculated on national average
  • Car insurance was based on national average
  • Roommate was included
  • Pay was calculated on a part-time worker at UPS (Jobs are national and available for college students)

Within this situation I did 2 quick budgets: having a car loan and not having a car loan. As you probably know that best situation is have you car completely paid off. However many student are going back to college and already have it. (I have a car loan myself and I wished someone drilled it to me the extra costs associated with it.)While working on the budgets, here are some of my notes:

  • Rent: You really need a roommate if you’re going to school full-time and are working part-time. Roommate would also include spouse, relatives, etc. If you have more than one roommate and everyone gets along, that’s wonderful, as you save money and peace of mind. Please put the division of bills in writing. It’s a protection for both of you.
  • Transportation: Try living close to either your school or work, as it can lower insurance rates and gasoline. Public transportation is a good option if it is reliable and safe. If you have the ability to stay under your parents’ insurance, do so as it usually makes a big difference. Maintain good grades and you can save approximately 10%.
  • Utilities: Remember to keep with the necessities. Do you really need the premium package for cable? Do you even need cable? Find a roommate who shares your values. You don’t want somebody who makes a habit of wasting electricity and then expects you to help foot the bill.
  • Food: Learn to cook beyond macaroni and cheese. Cooking saves a lot of money when you go shopping at the grocery store and it makes leftovers taste better. Make sure you have a slow cooker as that can also save you time and money. Chili, lasagna, and stews are just some of the foods you can make with it.

Here’s what I came up with on the budget:Without a car loan:

Income  
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

   
EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$ 901.62

   
 

$ 185.85

 

 

With a car loan (yikes!):

Income  
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

   
EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Loan

$ 125.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$1,026.62

   
 

$ 60.85

Let me know what you think.

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4 Responses to Budget Case: Full-time Student Working Part-Time

  1. I think $125 for groceries is a little low…but I guess it’s doable. You should also consider cell phones (almost every college kid has one)….and alcohol/fun/ridiculous college nights….

  2. The car loan tally might seem a bit low, but I think that depends on the situation. A new car can run about $250-300 a month for something along the lines of a Honda, Kia, etc. I could see a used car about half that amount. Then again it depends if the college students wants to be seen in a used car!

    I agree with SavingDiva. $125 for groceries a month is near impossible unless the college student’s living on ramen and other cheap foods, which will then turn into medical issues. A conservative estimate of about $60-70 per week for groceries seems a bit more reasonable. Milk close to $5 a gallon just shows how expensive things have gotten.

    Average cell phone plan plus taxes will cost about $50 per month as well. College kids do have to call home every so often (even if it’s just to ask for more money!)

  3. Groceries are a relative expense due to geographic location. Over here milk is approximately $3 . My husband and I spend about $125 a month and we don’t run the shelves empty. JD at Get Rich Slowly found it can vary from $120/month to approximately $300/month.

    My husband and I try to have varied meals. Some dinners that we’ve had recently are: chili (sour cream, shredded cheddar, and chips included), hamburger helper, breaded tipalia with stir fry vegetables, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, and pork chops with rice and beans.

    Cell phones I believe are a very convenient luxury. If someone was making the income I had in a budget, I’m not feeling that a cell phone should be included. Over here in the Mid- Atlantic, there is a cable, phone, internet deal for a little less than $100/month. A landline is necessary if you can’t afford a cell phone.

    Again, having a car loan definitely cuts your budget too tight in my opinion. The first budget without a car loan could accommodate it, but the second is too much. It’s a matter of priorities,. If someone could get a raise or lower their expenses then its doable. Please any suggestions about affordable cell phone plans are welcomed. It’s not easy being a working student.

    Your thoughts do give me an idea about Monday’s topic. I’ll share some shopping tips that we use that save us some money. Could you let me know what grocery stores are near you? I’ll try and look up their average prices.

  4. 60 to 70 dollars of grocery’s a week?! That’s insane, you must eat a lot.(Or shop at a store like Whole Foods, haha) I usually do about 30 every week, complete with vegetables and all that fun stuff.

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