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While getting the last bit of paperwork in for the refinance, I came across some old records, including a pay-stub from a job I had years ago while in college.
I was in no way rich, but I think made enough that if I had a better financial system, I could've done much better. I thought it would be fun to build a doable budget based on that paycheck I found.
Living on a College Student's Budget
While in college I worked several jobs. One of them was for a call center that was opened pretty much 24/7. I applied for work there because the had an opening for editor(forgot the title) checking advertiser's ad submissions for a search engine company.
The pay was better than many of the internships offered for students and I had some flexibility with my schedule since the call center was always open.
My take home average was $925/month (not counting any commissions or bonuses). Fortunately I was renting a room at a friend's house for $200/month (utilities included), so I had a safe and affordable roof over my head.
On the other hand, I was stupid and I had a car loan which ate up a huge amount of my pay – not only the car payment, but also the insurance I was required to have.
Breaking it down, here's what I came up with on how I could have budgeted better:
- Housing(plus utilities): $200
- Car Loan and Gas: $300
- Car Insurance: $75
- Food: $ 150
Total Monthly Expenses: $725
With the remaining money, I would first save up a small emergency fund (2 months of my expenses) and then worked on paying off my credit cards. Once that was completed I would've put $100/month into the 401(k).
I would tell my past self to go ahead and sell that car. It was simply too much for my small college student budget.
As I mention I didn't include commissions and bonuses because they varied paycheck to paycheck. That extra money would be split between long term financial goals (emergency fund, pay off debt, and invest) and the rest would be used for fun money.
Thoughts on Working While College
Man, I wish I had this advice years ago! Haha, maybe someone can use it to create a spending plan. I'm curious – how many of you worked while in college? What job did you work? How well did you do with your budget?