It is no secret that many college students are struggling financially. I am no exception. As a Psychology and Spanish Major, most career related jobs and internships are unpaid. I know that the effort I put in will pay off in the future. For now, I do whatever I can to lessen the financial burden. This includes severe budgeting, frequenting Knights Pantry and treating scholarships like an actual job.
First off, I have to work with one lump sum of money deposited into my checking account. To make the money last throughout the year, I have had a weekly budget of fifty dollars. This is comprised of money spent on recreation, gas and food. For fun I typically allow myself ten dollars a week. The good thing about going to a University, is that there are always free activities to partake in from swing dance lessons to comedy shows. Gas can be very expensive, so I take a free shuttle for my apartment to the school. The perks are that I don’t have to pay for the schools parking pass and sometimes I don’t pay for gas within the week.
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When grocery shopping, I use both online and sales paper coupons combining them to get the most for my money. One time I was able to buy twenty Oscar Myer Bologna’s for .88 cents! That was my shining glory! Buying in bulk really helps because certain items carry over to the next week and can be subtracted from grocery expenses. Certain non-perishable items I get for free at Knights Pantry. Knights Pantry is a place on campus where food is donated. It was created by students, for other UCF students who are having financial difficulty. Usually, I go there on a Thursday in the morning when the new stocks of food come in. I’ll take 5 lbs worth of food such as canned beans, ravioli or soup. This hearty food will sustain me in times when my weekly budget has been exceeded.
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Furthermore, my mentor, Claudine told me to never take a job for the money because it will take time away from school. Jobs carry stress and responsibility in addition to the pressures of being a student. Instead I treat scholarships like jobs. The four to six hours that I would devote to employment I shorten to two to three hours. I use that time frame everyday to look and apply for scholarships. If I am at least partially eligible for a scholarship I will apply for it. This has been of great help to me. I have ample time to devote to my studies yet I still have an opportunity to gain extra money that will help. When I least expect it, a scholarship will come through and help with costs for books, supplies and other school needs.