College Expenditures You May Not Expect

At college there are many ways to spend money in addition to the fee, tuition, and room and board.

Each college compiles a list of the “Cost of Attendance” (COA) in order to set limits for awarding financial aid.  On the list is a line for personal costs.  However, this designation for personal costs does not accurately reflect the unexpected opportunities for the student to spend money at college.

Here are some unexpected expenses you will likely incur.  These can be danger areas for your wallet.  Take these unexpected expenses into consideration when you are making your spending plan and budgeting for the college year.

  1. Academic expenses:

Professors may tell you at the last minute to pick up supplemental material or paperback novels.

Art majors should be aware that they will likely need to purchase some art supplies.

You will have some computer expenses on your school account each month for monthly printing.  You may also need to purchase a few flash drives that you will only use once.

  1. Expenses associated with the Greek Life

Just about every social event such as the pledge party or charity competition will offer a t-shirt for sale.  You want to purchase only those shirts you truly want to own.

There may be themed parties which can be fun.  However, paying for a costume can run into money.

At just about every event freelance photographers will take pictures which you can purchase.

You will want to display your letters.  You can spend a good deal of money on these items if you purchase a pair of sunglasses here, a hoodie there, etc.

  1. Food money

The cafeteria food plan has lots of options like stir fry, yogurt and burgers.  However, there will be times when you want something other than the cafeteria food – maybe a pizza delivered at midnight.

When a snack attack happens you may want to raid the vending machines.

Sometimes nothing will satisfy except some fast food.  This is a fast, easy way to get a meal and the fast food joint may be closer than walking to the cafeteria.

Having a dinner date can easily set you back $50 even if you are eating at a franchise place.

  1. Entertainment expenses

You may want to play computer games on most nights to relieve the stress of studying.

Upgrading to the latest versions of the game can be appealing.

There will be on campus plays and concerts which may or may not be free for the student.  However, visiting the concession stand will cost money.

The tickets for football and basketball games may be sold to the students in packages at discounted prices.  If it is a big rivalry game these tickets may not be discounted.

You may want to take advantage of on-demand movies and tunes which are very easy to buy.  A subscription may be the cheaper option.

  1. Clothing

The varieties of college wear such as t-shirts, caps and hoodies is staggering.  The popular items rarely go on sale.  You may also be tempted by fan wear sold by local vendors for game day such as  t-shirts and score shirts.

  1. Automobile expenses

Hopefully when developing your spending plan you have considered the cost of gas for any road trips, the cost for parking and the possibility of unanticipated car problems while on the road.

At college you may make new friends who come from a very different economic background than you.  Peer pressure can be pretty powerful, but you don’t want to get yourself into financial trouble.  Plan ahead and spend the funds you can afford in the way that makes you happy.