Money is something that everyone, especially those enrolled in college, can appreciate. This is why it is so important to monitor where money goes, and how much people can afford to spend before reeling ourselves in. Although some college students may find themselves funded by parents or relatives, many others struggle to afford basic necessities on top of student loans and tuition deadlines. It is reported that around 34% of college students stated that affording adequate food is a challenge.
In order to truly appreciate how much the average student spends, the following categories are broken down into statistics: food, caffeine and materials. The average student will spend roughly $547 on food each month, whether this is from groceries, eating out or through food delivery services. This is added on by another $100 a month going to coffee all on its own. These habits add up to almost $40 billion dollars annually on food alone. This includes a covered meal plan. Unfortunately, this is just one cost of a college education. Studies have shown that students will also spend around $18 billion collectively on electronics for their college education. These are only a few of many statistics, but they only add to the fastly accumulating debt of college students.
In order to get a grasp over the spending habits on Northwestern’s campus, many students responded how college effects their spending habits. One student interviewed was a student who moved from the apartments to Stegenga this past year. She explained how her grocery bill was higher in the apartments, as she would make her own food, but now she spends more money eating out with friends due to lack of cooking in the dorms. “I enjoy buying these items because it is typically a social event so I am spending time with other people and my friends which usually revolves around food,” she stated. “It is all for the social part. Food brings people together. We also live somewhere where it’s hard to find something to do that doesn’t cost money, especially in the winter.”
Another student also stated that she spends almost $100 monthly on coffee alone. “It makes me feel good when I’m drinking it, but when I look at my bank statements and see I spent $100 on $5 coffees, I feel guilty,” she said. However, she did not feel the same way concerning food, as she did not express the same guilt because the cafeteria is “less than ideal.”
While increases in food expenses are on a steady climb, the buying of materials for college continues to decline. This can be attributed to a multitude of reasons, whether it is because of E-books, rentals or second hand buying. While this has helped many students save massive amounts of money, the amount that student’s spend on other necessities continues to grow. This could be caused by an assortment of different prospects, from food trending across social media platforms to peer pressure in social groups to adhere to social “norms.” However, college students are choosing to spend their money, it is clear that the cost of attending school on top of grocery bills, materials for school, personal items and entertainment for young people causes quite a bill to build.