My 18 year old is finishing up her premier year of college. I simply cannot believe it is finals week and she is moving out of her dorm and into her first summer as a bonafide college student. She has travel plans and, thankfully, she intends to earn a little dough during her time off. What am I saying?!? My little princess always earns her dough through pageants, fitness modeling and the big bang – academic scholarships. Can we say, whoot whoot! All those years of study are at least paying for the mass majority of her $65,000 a year tuition and board bill. That number still slaps me in the face straight silly.
Even with her academic prowess, I still get a hefty bill to round out the balance, but I am not complaining. She set her mark on ivy league or 1st tier private university and she accomplished that goal. However, you soon start thinking as a parent, perhaps from your own days in college, what it actually cost to attend a university. It goes far beyond the tuition, fees, room and board. You still gotta live, right?
I was watching an old rerun of the Cosby Show, when Claire was uber upset with Sandra for dropping out of school. I remember her demanding that Sandra pay her back for the 4-years of undergrad she and Cliff had paid for… and get this, the grand total was like $79+ grand. Oh, I am truly laughing out loud. That was a lot of dough for the 80s and now my daughter’s school cost about that much for one… single… year. I shutter to think how much it will cost when my little guy heads off to school, but I digress.
I remember thinking how thrilled I was to get my $400 bi-monthly allowance from my parents back in the early 90s when all of my friends were getting like $100-$125 monthly for allowance. Fast forward nearly 25 years til today and do we do typical inflation calculations to determine our kids monthly allowance to give them something similar or better than what we received in college? According to Dollar Times, that means my daughter should receive roughly $662 bi-monthly. Not too shabby.
However, I take it a step further. One thing I notice about this generation of college students is the fact they all believe they are Warren Buffet. I mean, seriously, my first roommate in college was the daughter of an uber important person for an entire country, no name dropping here, and she had limits. She had no car our first year, but, really, who had a car on campus? Her monthly allowance was $125 month… less than my $200, if broken down monthly. She did not buy clothes or eat outside of the dorm. Neither did I. One of my besties, I remember her father being listed as one of the Top CEOs at the time in various magazines. Same situation for her as described for my roomie and I.
Then I take a look at my daughter (that’s her front and center, photo left) and her school mates. Many drive Maserati’s, Tesla’s, Porsche, BMW 7-series and the like. These kids shop… and not thrift shop, but high end shopping. Even though they have on-campus meal plans, I’ve noticed they eat off campus frequently. And no, no, not Micky D’s, but places that you must drop a few hundred bucks to sit down. And they Uber everywhere. It boggles my mind. Truly. I mean how much money are we giving these kids! Am I a guilty parent of over-indulging my child?
I did not think I was giving my daughter that kind of money to spend like a Rockefeller, but somehow these kids are living “that life”. Then I caught the episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when Kyle’s daughter went off to college this year too. She and Mauricio were sitting down discussing how much their daughter would need each month. Granted she lives off campus and needs to grocery shop, but if I recall, his grand total was somewhere around $1,800 per month she would need to survive on campus. Seriously! Some parents do not even make that much money per month, but I listen to my daughter tell me how so and so spent $500 this month on food and they thought that was a good month. Hmmm.
So I ask… how much spending money does a college student need per month? Let’s say the college student lives in a dorm on campus with a full meal plan and does not have a car with them. What say you? Inquiry minds want to know.
P.S. – Let’s be friendly. This is a no judgment or “higher than Thou” zone.