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Average Allowance for Non-Working College Students

MSUbandgeekMSUbandgeek Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited August 2010 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
I have a question for all you experienced college students and parents!

In a few weeks I will be moving into my new college dorm as a freshman and my parents and I have been discussing my allowance. They have decided that they do not want me to work my first year so I can keep up my GPA and (since I am the oldest sibling in my family) we don't know how much money is appropriate for free spending money.

I know most parents don't pay for their students' spending money, but I was awarded a full academic scholarship for 4 years (saving my parents 75K). It would be a great help if we could get some advice on money amounts.

Thanks :)
Post edited by MSUbandgeek on

Replies to: Average Allowance for Non-Working College Students

  • endof18endof18 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Last year, I limited myself to $20 a week. This year, I'm doing the same thing. But since I live off campus now, food money is $200 a month.
  • MD MomMD Mom Registered User Posts: 6,728 Senior Member
    We put about $200 a month into our daughter's account. She usually does fine unless she needs a pair of shoes or something more expensive. She is not a big shopper or spender.
  • endaxiendaxi Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member

    I was reading a thread that was started by a parent asking they same q'.
    I don't remember the title of the thread, but maybe if you
    try the search option you might find it(if nobody else replies).

    Anyway the range was $150-300.

    Good luck; and have a wonderful time!
  • endof18endof18 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    $150-$300 sounds about right for a well off family or a family who doesn't have to pay for tuition(congrats on the full ride!). That gives you $5-10 to spend a day. Save it up and you can splurge $25-50 every weekend. Or save up longer and buy stuff you want/need.

    If from a low income family: $80-100.

    p.s. go band geeks! = P
  • MomCat2MomCat2 Registered User Posts: 961 Member
    Have you not been working this summer? If not, why not?
    To me, giving an "allowance" to a college student is pretty major spoiling. You should be able to make and save enough in the summer to *at least* cover your incidental expenses for the school year, and maybe also be able to kick in a bit for your textbooks or travel expenses.
  • MSUbandgeekMSUbandgeek Registered User Posts: 4 New Member

    I didn't work this summer because I have been out of town for most of it AND because my parents didn't want me to. Also, I wouldn't have a problem getting a job during college, but (again at the request of my parents) I will be spending my time focusing on my classes.
  • MD MomMD Mom Registered User Posts: 6,728 Senior Member
    My daughter was taking ten credits in summer school on a scholarship, so she didn't work. She earned a full tuition academic scholarship through her hard work in high school. We pay her room, board and expenses; she chose the scholarship, so we only have to cough up $10K a year versus $60K for Georgetown. We get off easy, but thanks for asking MomCat2. Wish I knew how to spell that noise that cats make. Raaaaanrrrr.
  • MommaJMommaJ Registered User Posts: 5,638 Senior Member
    This is silly. Nobody spends all their time on academics. You'll have plenty of time for class work, social life and a job, just like thousands of other students. It's a great way to learn how to manage your life, and you'll feel better about yourself if you can minimize how much you're on the dole.

    We pay for D's necessities--books, toiletries and medications, necessary clothing (i.e., needed winter boots, not another pair of "cute" shoes), travel to and from school. It all gets charged to her credit card and the bill comes home, so we can see exactly where the money goes and don't have to come up with an arbitrary allowance. (From her own earnings, she pays for everything else, such as cosmetics, entertainment, non-meal plan food, etc.) I think it might be hard to come up with a firm amount per week or month, since expenses vary over time.
  • endaxiendaxi Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member

    If you don't mind taking a part-time job you
    might want to tell your parents that kids who work less
    than 20hrs. a week do better than students with no job.
    Students who worked 20+ hrs. ...not so good.

    I am a bit older, so I am going to have to spend all of my time studying.
    Just be careful though; no job+parents dough might be a bit
    too tempting for a lot of kids away from their parents for the
    first time.

    But def. go out and have some fun!
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,539 Senior Member
    This is silly. Nobody spends all their time on academics.

    Exactly....I giggle a little whenever I read these kinds of comments. College kids without jobs usually have too much free time to party, play video games, etc.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,614 Senior Member
    I think parents who don't want their kids to have jobs in college often get their wish, for years to come. It's a heck of a lot easier to get a job after college if the person has a good track record of work experience, and some previous employers who will provide good references.
  • endof18endof18 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Agree with everything except the first sentence.
    I also think he/she deserve it for getting the full ride. Worked hard for the grades. The money is going towards a social life like eating out, going to movies, bowling, etc. with friends. I see nothing wrong with that if used responsibly.

    I'm really great with budgeting and I never worked for my money.(Just started my 1st job in June so now I kinda do work for it) But before that I had 7k in excess grants to my bank every year for whatever I like and I limited myself to $20 a month and didn't go wild with my social life. I payed rent also. The kid has book smart and I'm sure money smart also. Consider the allowance is for the good grades.

    I'm sure you all give your kids weekly/monthly allowance, why stop when they get into college?

    Heck, in high school, I told myself I'm worth more than minimum wage and wouldn't work until I get a degree*.(I have to now to offset loans and I didn't know college would cost me money(I'm 1st gen) but it IS above min. wage) I'm all for volunteering/intern/study abroad/stipend. At least those are what you love doing, believe in, and major related and looks better on resume because it leads somewhere unlike a job that you don't like and you go nowhere with it and doesn't benefit you.

    *That idea also spawned because my parents wouldn't let me work during hs that led me to not want to until I graduate college. I don't think they would want me to work during college either cause they think school is free.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,332 Senior Member
    If you live in the dorm and don't have a car you should be fine with aout $50 a week. That should cover your laundry, any supplies you need to pick up along the way, a meal out now and then etc. I'm just guessing based on what my kids spent. They did work part-time summers and senior year and work 8-10 hours in college for their spending money since we did not give allowances during their middle/high shcool yeras and in general do not give them pocket money in college so I only can gage this based on general knowledge as reported.

    I have no opinions on your parents no-work mandate and have no desire to comment on that but I will say that since college kids are in class only 15-20 hours a week, 10 -12 hours spent working a small job is not a hardship on the available study time or the "fun time" for kids that need or want to work.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,398 Senior Member
    Parent here...we didn't want our kids working the FIRST term they were in college. However both worked the prior summer and had their discretionary spending money (including books and clothes) saved. They both worked 10-15 hours a week after the first term and all summers. They told us that WORKING those 10-15 hours actually helped them budget their time better...they had to do the work in a timely fashion and schedule well to get everything done. The terms they didn't work, they said they just frittered the time away.

    I understand your parents' point of view. This is a family decision. The amount of money you "need" will depend on the location of your school and how much spending you do. If you are in a major metro area like NYC, your spending money will likely be more than if you are in a rural isolated college town where many of the activities are on campus at no or little charge.

    My kids were both in major metro areas...to be honest, I really don't have any idea how much they really spent (they earned it...so it was none of my buisiness...if *I* had been putting it into their accounts, I would have wanted to know where MY money was being spent). BUT I did ask them both and they said it averaged about $25 a week. Some weeks they spent almost nothing on discretionary things. Other weeks, they might spend $100 on a concert ticket or clothing item.
  • fishymomfishymom Registered User Posts: 1,849 Senior Member
    @chicknbrothel, I also agree with you, except for the first sentence. I have two kids, one worked every summer and school break, and got no allowance while in college. My second child is an athlete and top student, does not have time for a job nor do I want her to have one. Her job right now is to do well in school and her sport. She will have an allowance in college and we have budgeted $300 per month for that. My son had every opportunity to do well in school and receive the same tuition scholarship my daughter will be awarded. Had he chosen to follow that path, we would have given him an allowance in college also. He chose a different path, as did we.
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