Students squeeze budgets
The struggling economy has affected student budgets and has made students more aware of financially friendly food and entertainment.
As the semester progresses, students are budgeting money and becoming more aware of their spending and saving.
VCU junior Lindsay Coleman has a simple technique for making a budget while at school.
“I usually take the total of what’s in my bank account and add the amount I will make at work. Then I subtract bills and gas,” Coleman said. “Half of whatever is left goes into saving while the other half is for food and fun.”
One way students are saving money is opting to cook meals and looking for the best prices for groceries.
“I try not to eat out and try to cook as much as possible,” VCU student Emmanuel Duah said. “I made Mexican lasagna with a buddy of mine, and it was 10 bucks to make, but it will last us for the week.”
Coleman says she likes to go out to places that have coupons and find the best deals when she buys groceries.
For some students, grocery shopping is limited to the essentials in order to save money.
“I never go and buy a lot of things at once. I go often and just get the essentials – generic brands of course – so I spend on average $20,” said Megan Murphy, a junior at VCU. “If I want to make a certain recipe, I’ll go and get just those things.”
There are many low-budget activities around the Richmond area for students. Bowtie Movieland off of Boulevard offers discounts on Tuesdays for $6 movies with a Criterion Club card, which is free to join, and student IDs can be used for $8 tickets any day of the week.
Duah says he uses the discounts offered at the Bowtie to save money and recently watched a movie with his student ID.
For the weekends, Coleman also enjoys finding the free and cheaper activities around campus.
“I like free ones like Belle Isle; and festivals like the Folk Festival or shows; and concerts on campus,” Coleman said. “As for the cheap ones I like renting a DVD.”
Some activities Coleman has found around campus are the Byrd Theater, which shows second-run movies for $1.99. Red Box movie rentals cost $1 a day and are located around campus at places such as 7-11 and outside of Kroger.
Budgeting money and opting for cheaper alternatives of entertainment has made students more aware of their spending. Murphy says she is very aware of how much money she is saving and spending.
“I keep in mind how much I will need for bills,” Murphy said. “And then I try and save as much as possible.”