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By Lucy Perkins
Sandwiches sold per week Weekly revenue
Housing - $1,209 - $2,490/month
Transportation - $320/month.
Food - $150/month
Cable + Internet - $69.99/month
Student Loan Payments - $220/month
floor-to-ceiling American flag constructed entirely bubble withot
of red, white and blue beer cans in the window of said.
an apartment on South Forest Avenue gives pass- At some poi
ersby a visual representation of how much money its insulated by sc
occupants have spent on alcohol. The questio
At Urban Outfitters, the cash register rings up the mul- ing habits? Ho
ticolored purchases of a thin, long-haired beauty: $249.41. splurge? After
A less eye-catching college expense sits on a shelf in the independence]
pantry of a house: marijuana. While most housemates tend our parents do
to split the monthly bill when it comes to heat, electricity we spend?
and Internet, these six housemates incorporate weed into
their monthly bill, buying anywhere between $40 and $80
worth of marijuana every month for the house's enjoy-
ment. On a Tuesda
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Lindsay Podsi
Expenditure Survey, a survey that provides information table, calculati
on consumers' spending habits, people in their 20s spend "The only r
a disproportionate amount of their income on food and convenient," sr
alcohol. College-aged students spend just over 7 percent of Podsiadlik
their income on eating out and 1.5 percent of their income but that night,
on alcohol. In comparison, people aged 45 to 54 spend 3.8 stand in line at
percent of their income on eating out and .6 percent of at Buffalo Wil
their income on alcohol, according to the survey. fun weekly rit
College acts as a time to put aside adult concerns. For Podsiadliks
those of us who grew up in the middle class, our parents to eat comes fr
will give us money if we need help, whether that be in the how she spend
form of rent, utilities, cell phone bills, transportation or Last month
groceries. And because we're still dependent on our par- spent their mo
ents financially, our bank accounts are rarely empty. their daily dan
According to Rackham student Jia Tolentino, a writer money was sp
for the finance website The Billfold, in these four years of times a week b
our undergraduate studies, we're able to almost exclusive- ry of a meal pl
ly devote our time to doing well in school and having fun. out as often be
"But though that should be treasured, it is a pre-adult the weekends
People under 25 spendI.5x more of their income
on going out to eat than people 25-34.
People under 25 spend 1.7X more of their income
on alcohol than people 25-34.
ut real-world responsibilities," Tolentino
nt, that bubble will pop. We'll no longer be
holarships and constant parental support.
on is: How will that influence our spend-
w do we limit ourselves, and where do we
college is over and reality strikes, financial
kicks in. Even if we make less money than
will we shift our responsibilities in the way
We need to eat, right?
ay night at Chipotle, Engineering freshman
adlik focused on a steaming burrito at a
ng her next bite with precision.
eason I'm eating out today is because it's
loesn't usually eat out during the week,
meetings and classes made her too busy to
t the North Quad Dining Hall. She also eats
d Wings with friends every Thursday as a
said the money she uses when she goes out
om her summer job, and she's careful about
, I asked four students to tell me how they
ney every day for a week. As they reported
sage, the same trends occurred: most of the
ent on food. The two seniors ate out four
ecause of convenience, not having the luxu-
an. And though the two freshmen didn't eat
ecause they lived in the residence halls, on
they would spend between $15 and $20 on
food. Less often, but more money per meal.
Engineering freshman Gregorio Lopez depends almost
entirely on scholarships, so most of his tuition and room
and board is paid for. LSA junior Zach Weber said most
of his money came from a trust fund his parents set up
when he was born, so his tuition is also taken care of. The
only expense that these students were responsible for was
what they ate from day to day.
My situation is similar, in that the bank account I use to
pay for rent, tuition and food is partially supported by my
parents. Though I've had a job since I was 14 and I saved
most of my income for college, my parents cover what my
savings and current income don't.
Like the four students I interviewed, I also spend the
majority of my money on edibles: groceries, a lot of cof-
fee, alcohol and going out to eat with friends. On average,
I spend about $70 a week: $40 on groceries, $20 on coffee
and $10 when I go out to eat with friends.
For me, food is easy to justify as a necessary cost
because when I'm busy and don't have time to cook, I still
need to eat.
But the problem with monitoring my own spending
comes from the fact that my debit cards draw from a pool
of money thatisn'tentirely my own. If I am tight on money,
my parents will help me out.
For instance, I bought coffee four out of five weekdays
the first week of November, which equaled the amount I
spent on food when Iate out. Though I treated myself more
often than I should have, I justified the cost by saying that
this week sucked. But if I were responsible for all of the
costs associated with being financially independent - that
is, monthly rent and utilities, cell phone bills, loan repay-
ments, car insurance, gas and food - I wonder whether I
would have made the same financial decisions as I did.
The Middle Class Snack Kid
Some of the smallest things we buy end up costing us
more money than we anticipate.
Bert's Cafe in the UGLi processes more than 2,000
transactions each day, which includes 250 cups of coffee
and 130 sandwiches per day. We, as students, give Bert's a
weekly revenue of more than $21,000 a week - on coffee
and bagels and sandwiches.
Beanster's locations in Pierpont Commons and the
Michigan League each rake in between $5,500 and $8,000
Try to think of how you spent your last $100. It goes
away quickly. Over the last few weeks, I spent my last hun-
dred dollars on a ticket to the IASA show, some groceries,
a dinner out and gas.
It's easyto rationalize what we buy, excusing purchases
with phrases like, "Well, I need to eat" or, as Podsiadlik
said, she just didn't have enough time.
When I have free time, any social activity usually
involves money, too - the bars, restaurants, movies. It's
In an article in The Billfold, Lindsay Katai called this
type of thinking the "Middle Class Snack Kid" mentality.
"'Middle Class Snack Kid' is a term I made up for people
who do not spend a lot on themselves on the whole, but
are running themselves into the ground buying food and
drink," Katai wrote. "As a friend once put it, I am D.T.H.
- Down to Hang. And for me, hanging means snacking."
Lamenting her undying love for snack food, Katai
admitted that the reason she was living paycheck to pay-
check was because she was spending all her money on
Kettle Chips and packaged cookies.
See SNACKER, Page 6B
>eople under 25 spend1.7x more of their incom
on going out to eat than people 35-44.
People under 25 spend 2.4x more of their
income on alcohol than people 35-44.
People under 25 spend1.9X rorc of th
on going out to eat than pop 4554.
People under 2$ spend 2.4x more of thei
income on alcohol than people 45-54.
Total Cost of Living
$1,867 - $3,458/month
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