In last week’s blog, I talked about how much fees, books and supplies could cost you when going to college. If that isn’t enough to pay for, there’s also the following:
Whether you make your own lunch, pick up food at a restaurant, or hop on a college meal plan, you’ll definitely be spending money on food while you’re going to school. If you pick up lunch every day, and we’ll assume you’re spending $5 each lunch, $25 a week, $100 a month. Assume you’re going to school seven months out of the year, and that’s easily $700 a year.
Some colleges require you to have a meal plan, especially if you are a freshman living on campus. As it’s hard to find the “average” cost of a meal plan online, I figured I’d share a college’s meal plan that is near (and dear) to our hearts: Oakland University’s.
If you live at Oakland, you HAVE to have a meal plan, and it is added to your total “room and board.” Their meal plan costs $1,371.50 per semester; we’ll say you choose the plan that offers you 18 meals on average a week, going to school 15 weeks in one semester, meaning you receive 270 meals in total, each meal costing then $5.07. This isn’t necessarily bad if you typically spend $10 a meal, but if you usually spend less than $5 a meal, you’ll actually be paying more per meal JUST because you’re on a meal plan.
It’s best to choose a plan that fits you and your wallet. If your college requires you to have a meal plan, see what your choices are, and if it’s optional, figure out how much you’d be saving with or without a plan. After comparing your choices, you’ll know if you’re better off buying groceries or sticking to the school cafe.
Room & Board
If you decide to live on campus, you’ll have to pay room and board. Below are the estimated costs you’d pay for housing.
- A year of housing at a private school: $10,462*
- A year of housing at a public school: $9,205*
- A year with a roomie at an apartment with $600/mth rent, you paying $300/mth: $3,600
Each cost might be different depending on your circumstances, like the location, the school, how many roomies you have. So it’s always better to look at your own situation, compare your options and see what will work best for you.
If you don’t live on campus, you’re going to spend some gas money driving there. Let’s say your school is 20 miles away, so you’re driving a total of 40 miles round trip. Pretend you take classes four days a week. We’ll say your car gets 25 miles per gallon, and gas is $3 a gallon.. THAT MEANS YOU’RE SPENDING $537 A YEAR to drive to school! Don’t believe me? Check out the math:
- 40 miles x 4 days a week =160 miles a week, 640 miles a month.
- 640 miles x 7 months of school = 4,480 miles a school year
- 4,4480 miles/25 miles = 179.2 miles
- 179.2 miles x $3 = $537.60
Add ALL of the costs of school together, and we’ve got ourselves another hefty math problem:
Tuition + fees+ books + supplies + room and board + food + gas + fun = COLLEGE IS EXPENSIVE!
We’re young and we’re just starting out, still prepping ourselves for our future careers. We’re chasing our dreams and we shouldn’t let money hold us back from striving for our goals. So seriously guys, even if these numbers are overwhelming, don’t stress about it! You can achieve ANYTHING you put your mind to. Michigan First Credit Union wants to help us achieve those dreams, and so they’re giving out $85,000 in scholarships, and you can win $10,000 to pay for tuition. Apply here.
Until next time,