Is it necessary to give a college student pocket money? If so, do you prefer to give cash, debit card, prepaid card or credit card etc? Thanks for sharing.
Well, the kid will need money. Even living on campus with a food plan, the kid will need to buy toothpaste, laundry detergent, get hair cuts, etc. If he or she doesn’t have their own from a working, it will need to come from the parents. My kids school had a card that you could put money onto. It could be used on campus and at some local businesses. I also gave both of my kids a credit card tied to my account. That was to be used for books and plane tickets home. Neither of my kids has ever abused the card but I understand not all kids are responsible enough for this.
My student earns her own pocket money. She’s expected to pay for her books and any incidentals, including study abroad costs. This summer on her co-op she’s paying her own bills and managing her budget. Good step on the path to “adulting”. ; )
Mine earned own pocket money, discretionary spending, personal necessity money. But that isn’t always possible. If the student has zero money of own, it’s a good idea to give some seed money in firms of bank account, credit/debit card and yes, pocket money.
Not a parent, but as a student, yes we will need some pocket money for some groceries or housing/clothes purchases. It was very little cash. Typically I charged it to my student credit card, with the bill mailed home; they paid groceries and necessities and I covered incidentals. Venmo is also a common way for college kids to pay each other, which can be linked to a bank account for funds, or received from others.
Happykid paid for most of her own incidentals. She opened a student account at our credit union before she started college. She is first on the account so that it is under her SSN. I am the second person on the account. She normally paid with her debit card, but could take out cash if she needed it. If she had an unexpectedly big expense come up, I could transfer money from the parental account into her account.
Kids will need SOME spending money… but whether that’s supplied by the parents or by the kiddo is an individual thing. I encouraged my daughter not to work in her first semester, and gave her a fairly small sum (she had some savings from a summer job.) After that she had a part time on campus job, and got no additional funds from the bank of mom & dad.
I also believed it was important for the student to have some skin in the game, and my daughter was expected to pay for her books as well.
Sent kid off to college with a credit card, $500 cash and ATM card 1st semester freshman year. When he graduated last year, still had the same $500 cash and never made an ATM withdrawal. Used credit card, debit card, and Venmo.
My kid gets some pocket money into her account monthly, and has a separate credit card that is to be used for college-related expenses (the statements from this also serve to itemize what we can use the 529 to pay for). Her pocket money amount is not particularly large especially for a teen with a social life living away from home, and she works to earn more.
This seems more generous than some of these above but from my own experience of having to work part time just to be able to afford to stay in college, missing out on a bunch of college experiences as a result, I’m happy to give her some leeway to enjoy a college experience that is more than just “learning stuff” and I know she appreciates it.
We opened a bank account for my son at a bank near his school, seeded half by us and half by him, so he has a debit card with that account and the ability to get cash from an ATM. I also got him a credit card on my account, which is to be used primarily by mutual agreement for emergencies. I was able to set an individual credit limit for him on that card, so I’m covered, and he will begin to build a credit rating, which should be helpful when he graduates. I wanted to give him a card on my AmEx account for the points, but they would only give him a gold card and I thought that was a bit too much, so he’s got a CapOne Visa card instead. He really doesn’t spent much. Venmo seems to be the key to college life these days.
Sent both DDs off with preloaded credit cards to start. After that both had jobs on campus to pay for incidentals. They set up local checking accounts for those funds.
For fun money I make my students earn it themselves - however they wish. Some of them had part time jobs at school, some of them worked on breaks and saved it. I supply money for necessities (like toothpaste) in addition to stocking them up in the beginning of each semester. I usually just reimburse them via Venmo.
Both kids paid/pay for most of their fun expenses. (Meals out, clothes, entertainment). If we are having a good financial month, I give them $50/month. They both have accounts that were opened when they were young. I am on those accounts and can easily transfer them $$$ for reimbursable purchases (car repairs/maintenance, school incidentals, etc.)
When older S moved off campus, I told him he could use my Walmart account/app to purchase groceries. It took him awhile to do it and he still often asks if it’s ok. I’ll let younger S do the same next year, but he is also an authorized user on one of my credit cards, so he could go that route as well. But it is funny with him. It’s like pulling teeth getting him to use my card for something that I would gladly pay for.
I told my son he was in charge of paying for his own persomal spending and books. He’s been working the past year and has over 3K set aside so it shouldn’t be an issue. I’ll send along toiletries when he goes that will probably last all semester.
My kids earned the bulk of their spending money but we would help out a bit. Both kids opened a checking account either with the bank that had an ATM on campus or a bank that allowed withdrawals from any ATM with no fee – they would use their ATM card to withdraw cash as needed. If necessary I could add money to their account (often as birthday, holiday gifts).
I also sent them with a credit card that got billed to me which they would use only with my prior approval (ex. for books, trips home, unforeseen expenses etc.). I gave them the credit card when they started driving so they were used to the rules. My D was able to get a Discover card in her own name as a junior in college to start a credit rating – she used the card sparingly and paid any balance off immediately.
DH went to college with $200 in travelers checks and that lasted him the semester…times have changed LOL.
We pay for room/board/tuition/books/medical/trips home.
What we did was to give them their accumulated birthday/christening type money when they started college to use as spending money. After that it was on them to refresh it with summer jobs.
We buy books for them online with my credit card and they pick them up at the bookstore.
For grocery money, we put an agreed amount onto a pre-paid credit card monthly for her to use.
if there is something else major she needs money for , she has to ask and we put money on the card.
Sometimes she wants to do a school sponsored activity and I will help pay as I want her to do that type of thing. For example the Student Council sponsored a trip to Boston.
Entertainment/etc is hers to pay for.
They spend differently if it is their money and not your money.
My friend has a son on the meal plan…but he would always want money to get fast food as it was more convenient for him…and my friend thought he “wouldn’t eat” otherwise. I am sure he would eventually eat. But my friend kept giving him money.
I kept telling him that you are doing your son favors by not having them learn to budget money.
I think it depends on the student. My daughter is very frugal. Her money is mostly at home in the bank. There isn’t a convenient bank on campus to use so I try to make sure she keeps some cash on her just in case of anything that may be cash only. I think it makes me feel better.
She is an authorized user on my credit card but that is only really used for say having to buy a special school supply. She also has access to my amazon prime account if needed but again it is very seldomly used. She doesn’t have a car so I did make sure she has an uber account just in case - it has been used once in 2 years. My daughter has a meal plan but I do tell her she can order out occasionally but even then it is not even close to weekly or even monthly.