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

Age: 20

Location: Jersey City

Salary: $11/hr 

Net Worth:  N/A

Debt: $8,750 (student loans)

Paycheck Amount: about $240 bi-weekly

Pronouns: he/him/his 

Monthly Expenses/Subscriptions

Spotify: $5.31

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

Graphic by Alexis Morales
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.



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