Bread, cash, moolah, paper, dollars, money.
No matter what you call it, we all know money talks but it’s also a topic that’s often avoided – until now.
Money Talks* is a Slice of Culture series where we ask real people in Hudson County not only how they make their money, but also how they spend it, specifically during a seven day period.
This Week: A Full-time College Student with a Part-time Job
Occupation: Full-time Student/Food Service Worker
Industry: Higher Education/Food Service
Location: Jersey City
Net Worth: N/A
Debt: $8,750 (student loans)
Paycheck Amount: about $240 bi-weekly
Amazon Prime: $6.92
Apple Storage Plan: $2.99
Phone Bill: $20 (my portion of a shared plan)
Did your family expect you to attend higher education? Did you attend? If so, how did you pay for it?
Yes, I was always expected to attend college but I also knew I wanted to. I’m currently financing my education through various scholarships. I’m also a Resident Assistant at my university which covers my housing costs.
Growing up did you worry about money? Were there conversations about money in your household?
Yes, money was always a big conversation in my house. We almost always worried about money. Still to this day, I sometimes worry about how long my money will last and how I/my family will be able to pay for things.
At what age did you learn how to manage your finances? Who taught you about finances?
At around 15 I learned how to manage my finances when I first got a job. My dad is the one who taught me how to manage my money.
Do you have a savings account? If so, when did you open it?
No, I do not have a savings account.
What was your first job? What prompted you to begin working?
My first job was at a pizzeria making sandwiches. I got this job because I knew my parents weren’t going to be able to give me money to do the things I wanted to do so I needed to make my own.
When did you become fully responsible for yourself? Do you worry about money?
I became fully responsible for myself when I started college. On campus, I don’t have to pay for my housing and financial aid takes care of my tuition so thankfully I don’t worry as much about money.
Do you have a financial safety net? Have you ever inherited income? If yes, explain.
I do not have a financial safety net, the only money I have is the money that is in my bank account.
Day One: Sunday
I woke up to a bill for my iCloud storage plan- thanks Apple-so I paid it ASAP. $2.99
My day was pretty quiet, didn’t do much aside from homework. Then I went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. $23
- Daily Total: $25.99
Day Two: Monday
A day spent on Zoom for classes and meetings. In the midst of the day, I took a break and decided to order lunch from a local pizzeria. $6.10
Later I got dinner at the cafeteria, meal swipes are included with my room and board.
- Daily Total: $6.10
Day Three: Tuesday
Another day in class and meetings — the usual.
Saw a friend later in the day and we watched a movie.
Both lunch and dinner were from the cafeteria so I did not spend any money today.
- Daily Total: $0
Day Four: Wednesday
In the morning my family phone bill was due, I sent my dad $20 because that’s all he asks of me. $20
Later on, after what felt like forever, I got dinner with my friends I decided to treat one of them for her birthday so I paid for both of us. $32
- Daily Total: $52
Day Five: Thursday
In between classes, I had to make a trip to the printing company poster for an RA event that I was hosting. $1
I also picked up lunch on my way back to my room. $6.99
- Daily Total: $7.99
Day Six: Friday
I woke up pretty hungry so I took a trip to the local Wonder Bagel and picked up a sandwich for breakfast. $5.99
Then I headed to work for my midday 5-hour shift.
On the way back to campus, my card was charged for an online subscription that I have for one of the classes that I take. $9.99
A little bit later I also was charged for my Amazon prime membership. $6.92
This night I also went out to get dinner with two close friends. $32.88
- Daily Total: $55.78
Day Seven: Saturday
Saturday, finally! I actually had some time to relax today so I started by getting breakfast at IHOP. $17.45
Then I did a bit of work/prep for the next week, mixed with a lot of watching tv.
Finally, my last charge on my card for the week was my Spotify subscription. $5.31
- Daily Total: $22.76
Is this what a typical week of spending looks like for you?
This is not usually what a typical week looks like for me. There wasn’t that much going on but a lot of my monthly subscriptions/payments were due this week and I went out twice this week.
*Disclaimer: This series and questions were inspired by Refinery 29’s Money Diaries.