Too much booze will drown you in debt

By Kimberly Marion

College spending is almost like a Master Card commercial:

College tuition: $5,000.

College room and board: $4,000.

Books and supplies: $500.

Weekly splurging on alcohol and things you don’t need: $60.

Waking up so hungover you are unable to go to class and waste your parents’ money: just plain stupid.

In college, one thing that needs to be learned immediately is how to budget. When it comes to budgeting, college students have this syndrome that I would like to call “I’ll just call my parents.” The symptoms of this syndrome include chronic whining and begging for $40 to $60 every two weeks. In more serious cases, it may be more than $60 and could be as frequent as every week.

It is hard for us college students to swallow the “grown-up pill” and be conservative with our money and credit cards. I’m not saying you have to become Al Bundy cheap. But frugal may be a better way to walk out of this university without much debt.

There’s some debt that you may not have a choice about, such as loans to pay for school. That is understandable because if you fall in the middle-class bracket, it is harder to receive any type of funding for your education unless you are on a scholarship. However, to alleviate some of you and your parents’ stress, I have a few tips that may help you stay out of debt.

First things first. If you live in a residence hall, use your dining dollars. You might as well because you or your parents have paid for them, and what you don’t spend you will not get back. It also saves money on dining out, which adds up after a while.

Second: You shouldn’t drink alcohol. And if you do drink, you might want to try drinking every once in a while or drink cheap alcohol – which is usually caustic and disgusting. College is known for parties and such. Most of the students’ money is spent on the weekends, and much of it is spent on alcohol. The lack of excessive drinking also might help some students academically.

This final tip plagues many people in both genders – ironic considering guys’ frequent claims that women spend a lot – too much money – on clothes and shoes. Many college students waste money on things such as clothing and still wear the same thing every week. There is a difference being in dire need of shoes or clothes. But to go shopping because you are bored or because someone else has it or some famous person has made something a trend is ridiculous. Of course you don’t have cash. So what do you do? You whip out the plastic, knowing you haven’t paid off your previous credit card bills.

Following the purchase is buyer’s remorse, but you don’t take it back. You call those lovely enablers I call parents and ask for them to pay your credit card bill. Of course, they give the “money doesn’t grow on trees” speech, but, of course, they pay your bill.

There will come a day when your parents will make you swallow that pill and say no. The look on your face then? Well … priceless.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.