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What do you think is appropriate for a monthly allowance for a college student? This student has an adequate meal plan and all housing costs are covered. He/she uses the money for laundry, eating out occasionally, and other personal expenses.

 

Full disclosure: I thought $75 would be adequate and my child is wanting/spending more than that. Unexpected expenses: Uber to get to a film festival that was extra credit for Spanish class, a fish and supplies for said fish, an electric kettle (which I had offered to buy but was refused during college purchasing/packing season). Plus several Venmo payments which are claimed to be paying people back for pizza (I'm suspicious because it's my nature). Child has spent $150 this past month, some of which is additional funds I transferred, some of child's own money from savings.

 

What's "normal" for college spending above and beyond already-covered expenses??? I remember spending VERY little...

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Not sure.

 

The reason I am not sure is that we approached this differently. Our kids earn their own spending money. We negotiate what dd will contribute to college tuition, and then she earns above and beyond that to pay for the life she wants to live.

 

Consider asking your child to earn his own spending money?

 

That said, I do totally understand that there are different ways to approach this, and there may be completely valid reasons why a student cannot earn as they go. This is simply what has worked well for us.

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Well, I got $50 in high school (boarding school) and $65 in college from my parents way back in 90-96. In college, I had my own money to supplement my allowance. It covered snack runs, trips to the mall, eating out, gas for the couple of years I had a car on campus in college, laundry, etc. Based on that, I'm thinking $100-150 would be reasonable now. 

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I’m not surprised by the amount she spent, but I do think your dd ought to supplement her expenses. So, maybe give her 100 a month and tell her to get a small part time campus job. It’s normal to want to have pizza with friends, but she needs to have some skin in the game.

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I would go with the $75 and they can submit items for approval after that, lol. Like I would approve and pay for the Uber and the kettle, but not the fish and supplies. Any pizza and so forth above the allowance would be on them. 

 

I know costs vary, but I can't imagine forking over $150/month for spending money! We definitely have not given dd even $75/month (she's in her 3rd semester). We do pay for Uber as needed, but she's only used it a few times.  She almost always has some food and snacks  sent from home or delivered, which saves her money while being in line with my thoughts: I will buy her some real food quicker than I will buy her pizza.  

 

If he does have some of his own money, I'd be even less inclined to go up. I know some kids get a lot of graduation money as gifts, and some don't. 

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My numbers are 20 years old but I only spent what I made at my campus job.  Which was $5 an hour 8 hours a week so $160 for a month.  But that also covered the gas for the car, and everything clothing, school and personal item except my ramen noodles because my mom bought those in bulk for me at Sam's club for significantly less than the grocery store.

 

The number doesn't seem that high especially if student is having to pay transportation costs with that money but if you are funding it and it's more than you are comfortably funding, is it possible to put more of this on the student.  AKA they get a job and that's their spending money and you aren't responsible for transferring/providing funds at all.

 

 

 

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I would think $100 would be fair and anything over, the student can cover from savings or get a job. When I was in school, there were plenty of on campus jobs that didn’t require a lot of hours, so that might be worth researching.

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Well, I got $50 in high school (boarding school) and $65 in college from my parents way back in 90-96. In college, I had my own money to supplement my allowance. It covered snack runs, trips to the mall, eating out, gas for the couple of years I had a car on campus in college, laundry, etc. Based on that, I'm thinking $100-150 would be reasonable now. 

 

 

Are you saying your allowance covered snack runs, trips to the mall, etc, or that your own money did? 

 

If your allowance covered that, did it include buying needed clothes and such? 

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My parents gave me the same amount as they gave me for junior college (11th/12th) which was $200/month in the early 90s.

 

It covers

- lunch (not included in hostel meal plan)

- some dinners on campus when I can’t get back to hostel in time for dinner (my alma mater does not have a meal plan card)

- dinner out with friends once a week off campus at somewhere <$10/person

 

My parents paid for

- medium size rice cooker

- medium size slow cooker

- electric kettle

- electric travel cooker and pot (the kind big enough for one person meal)

- monthly bus stamps for campus bus and for public transport

 

I had a guinea pig in my single hostel room. I paid for my pet, his cage, all his bedding and food. My parents would have paid but I don’t think that’s fair since it’s a want not a need.

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My ds who is on campus with full meal plan spends very little. $75 sounds like plenty. It is enough to buy pizza and have a meal or treat out each week and pick up a tshirt or something.

 

I'd stick to what was agreed upon and then allow her to request approval for further expenditures. If she wants a fish she can skip a few pizza orders. etc. If she needs a supply (or an Uber) for a class or a nice item of clothing for an interview or something she could ask you for that.

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Are you saying your allowance covered snack runs, trips to the mall, etc, or that your own money did? 

 

If your allowance covered that, did it include buying needed clothes and such? 

 

Sorry, I wasn't clear. 

 

My allowance was meant for laundry, transportation and minimal groceries. In high school, the allowance was less because I came home every 6 weeks at least (they sent us home for a long weekend then), but I didn't have a summer/schoolyear job then, so it was meant to cover more. In college I only came home at holidays. If I stretched my allowance, there was enough for a treat once in a while, but for the most part, clothing, eating out, etc came from my own money. I never bought my own needed clothing (I bought anything above and beyond necessity) - my mother likes shopping for clothing too much for that. Allowance did cover feminine products, cold medicine and the like. 

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We recently had a discussion on my college campus about this, and one thing that was clear is that there isn't a "normal" amount.  Some kids get by on spending almost nothing and others have a huge allowance.  Our dean of students suggested $50 per month.  

 

If possible, I would think about the cost as "per semester" rather than per month.  Sometimes students spend more at the beginning of the semester getting set up in the dorm room, meeting new friends for pizza, etc.  I would not worry about things like the kettle.  It sounds as if she was trying to save you money and then realized it would be helpful; I would see that as a positive.  

 

We told our children we will pay for any medical related expenses, transportation home, any course related expenses (I would include the uber ride if it is was a reasonable way to get to the even) and $50 per month for extras.  DD is generally not a big spender; she did have more than average clothing expenses her first year because she had attended a private school and had white blouses, plaid skirts, and penny loafers in her closet without much else (she is not a big shopper).  DD has averaged well below the $50, but when we visit I have taken her grocery shopping and stocked up on supplies for her.  

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I didn't realize people got alliances at college. Maybe I have one of those "unclaimed funds" bank accounts somewhere...

 

I liked the idea for "upon approval" over a certain amount - if you won't be bothered by the possible scenarios that could involve. Otherwise, have your dc submit a budget. Maybe it would include the cost of pizza once a week, an Uber allowance, special fish good (or replacement therapy fish), etc. etc. Then everybody is clear about what is being requested and what is covered.

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We found 75-85 a month worked. That covered admission fees, a movie, haircut, pet, convenience food, socializing. After freshman year the part time job covered that, clothing, and vehicle costs. Laundry was not a seperate fee. He did use part of it for meals for very poor students, and the occasional charity fund raiser.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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I would sit down with her and make a budget - that discussion will help you discern “wants†and “needsâ€. You can then make a good decision with her input about what is reasonable for you to pay.

 

Anne

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I didn't/don't give any of my kids an allowance in college.  that's what their "JOB" is for.  

 

my girls both worked about 10 hours a week during their undergrad - that was their spending money, extraneous expenses.  they had a credit card for if they ever *needed* to make a large purchase.    that wasn't a movie or eating out somewhere unless they were paying for it.  we paid for their airline tickets back and forth.

even my sons - who live at home, earn their own spending money.   one elected to take one class entirely online so he could work more hours.  (he works in his field).  he barely spends money anyway.  the other elected to not work during the quarter - but works full time between quarters.

the boys make their own car payments, car insurance, and pay for their own cell phones.  they also buy their own movie tickets and fast food.  (they don't turn it down if I offer.)

 

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Our kids spend their own money for these types of things.

My main concern would be that there's already a difficulty staying within a rather generous budget.

Honestly, we were wanting to teach our kids how to live in the Real World, which doesn't provide for those extras.

Yes, it's fun to eat out, but if they're already on a meal plan, then the restaurant food is optional.

 

You may have already made an allowance commitment to your child, so honor that . . . but I would not expand it just b/c they're having money management problems.

Agreeing with others that I don't have that much "fun money". :)

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I am not there yet, but in our family, they will earn their own extras. My kids haven't grown up in a family that can eat pizza out once a week. The family certainly won't be providing that for members not living at home later, lol. But my kids kind of know that. Already as teens they buy their own clothes besides things needed for specific times like new shoes because old are outgrown or dance clothes for recitals and required gear for classes. They get new jeans if and when they don't have any that fit for the next season. There is plenty to cover their bodies in an adequate fashion available. If they want something new just becase (and who doesn't once in awhile?) they use their bday money or babysitting money. They are also required to save some of those earned monies into their savings accounts for future for college. 

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What do you think is appropriate for a monthly allowance for a college student? This student has an adequate meal plan and all housing costs are covered. He/she uses the money for laundry, eating out occasionally, and other personal expenses.

 

Full disclosure: I thought $75 would be adequate and my child is wanting/spending more than that. Unexpected expenses: Uber to get to a film festival that was extra credit for Spanish class, a fish and supplies for said fish, an electric kettle (which I had offered to buy but was refused during college purchasing/packing season). Plus several Venmo payments which are claimed to be paying people back for pizza (I'm suspicious because it's my nature). Child has spent $150 this past month, some of which is additional funds I transferred, some of child's own money from savings.

 

What's "normal" for college spending above and beyond already-covered expenses??? I remember spending VERY little...

Do you think you have a valid reason for feeling suspicious? Do you think your child may be spending the money on drugs or alcohol? Does your child have a history of being untrustworthy?

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Do you think you have a valid reason for feeling suspicious? Do you think your child may be spending the money on drugs or alcohol? Does your child have a history of being untrustworthy?

In my own experience back in the day,my brother gave these types of excuses to my parents. He always claimed to be buying school supplies/ text books on their credit card, until I informed them it was a record store, not a book store.
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In my own experience back in the day,my brother gave these types of excuses to my parents. He always claimed to be buying school supplies/ text books on their credit card, until I informed them it was a record store, not a book store.

You ratted out your own brother! :lol:

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My dd earns her own spending money (in the summers mostly), but probably spends on average $1,000/school year.  She tries to take on an extra part-time job in November/December (lots of retail stores hire extra help) to earn Christmas money.

 

We do help her with Uber/Lyft on occasion though.  She goes to an inner-city school and is great about taking public transportation and pays for that herself.  But traveling alone on public transportation at night is not always safe, especially because she sometimes has to walk several block after it lets her off to get to campus.  So her Uber/Lyft accounts are linked with our credit card, because I want her to always know she doesn't have to take a risk because she's worried about using up her money.  She's responsible about using it though and generally texts me first to make sure it's okay.

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Of course. Because he was a boy, he got a jeep during college. The car I was supposed to have inherited from them for college, he wrecked a few weeks before I left. I was waiting for the moment to rat...

Clearly, he had it coming! :)

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I worked full time every summer before/during college. Each summer's income paid for my food, clothes, and extras for the rest of the school year.

 

(Scholarships/parents took care of tuition, books, apartment, car - old and paid for, and insurance).

 

I spent the most money my first semester. I could get all those snacks my mom never bought. Snapple! Cashews! Poptarts! And a beta fish! Lots of fast/convinence food!

 

Reality set in when I realized the rate of what I had spent those first two months would deplete my entire savings before the year was done.

 

All that us to say, figure out what YOUR budget allows as spending money for him. If it's less than what he spent, he'll have to make up the difference or adjust his lifestyle. Life lessons and all that.

 

And I'd be flexible about one time purchases if my own budget allowed for it. I like the idea of giving him a few months worth at a time. And if something big comes up you can pay for it, not pay for it, tell him to wait a few weeks to see if is a justified expense.

 

Hope that helps a little!

 

Oh, and I did get a part time job my junior and senior years. 6-10 hours a week, depending in the semester.

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My daughter is now a college graduate.

 

We paid for her college tuition, room, and board; she also took out some loans.  My daughter also did work study.  We paid for her air fare home for the winter holidays and for those summers when she came home.

 

My sister very kindly paid for my daughter's cell phone.

 

My daughter paid for her textbooks and all other incidentals (movies, pizza, snacks) with money she earned during the summer  and by tutoring during the school year.  We provided no allowance.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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We don’t have an allowance for our ds. Give him $150 or so every time I see him. A few times a year. Sometimes he asks me to buy him something on Amazon. I offer to buy all he needs. So, when he comes home, I buy him clothes, toothpaste, soap, laundry pods... etc... we even give him haircuts lol. He had a job 1st semester and he hated missing out on what friends were doing, so he quit. He said he would rather do without spending money. He’s a senior now, so I guess he was not kidding. Lol

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We give our college kids a set amount per semester. It is up to them to figure out how to use it.

 

We also give a couple of hundred for birthdays and Christmas.

 

In your situation, I'd give $75 per month and let him add a little ore income or cut expenses.

 

Our kids do also have credit cards for emergencies, but they always ask before they use it.

 

We buy them clothes and shoes for birthdays and Christmas too.

 

My kids don't order pizza once a week, or ever. Even my daughter living in a dorm cooks in the dorm kitchen or a friend's house on the weekend and then has food in her dorm when she can't stand to eat any more campus food.

 

My daughter who lives off campus doesn't even pay for food anymore. She cooks every night and her roommate appreciates it so much that she no longer will accept money for groceries.

 

We pay for their phones and plane fare home and tuition and car insurance. It isn't as though they have bills.

 

When my kids ask to use their cards, it is things like, "I just finished my exam, can I spend $2 to rent a movie on Amazon?"

 

They would feel like $75 extra a month was excessive just for fun money.

Edited by amy g.
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$75 doesn't seem like it would go very far, IMO. Granted, when I was in college, I was entirely on my own financially. It would not be unreasonable to ask your child to get a part-time job to cover their own spending money. 

 

Another rule of thumb I would use: my college student will not be given more spending money than I have, and I do not spend $150/month on "fun stuff." 

Pizza and beer qualifies as fun stuff, but a lot of the small incidentals are not "fun." Laundromat money plus money for detergent, basic toiletries, transportation, school supplies, etc. are basic necessities and they all add up quickly. My younger sister went away to school (boarding school in high school, therefore a job wasn't an option for her) and my mom would give her very little money because as far as far as Mom was concerned her daily expenses were covered. Therefore my sister felt that she had no other option than to resort to stealing shampoo, conditioner, tampons, laundry detergent, etc. from other students.  :sad:

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We've never given our college boys an allowance. They're authorized users on our credit card and they know they can use them for whatever they need and for a treasonable amount of wants. Wants might include a couple of meals out a week (or several times of splitting pizza with friends) or Uber if they need it. Needs would be school supplies or anything related to school (an Uber to/from an event related to a class), doing laundry, etc. Our commitment to them has been that we'll pay for their undergraduate degrees and that includes reasonable living expenses. So far ours haven't abused the privilege. They understood clearly before going off to college what type of extras they were expected to use their own money for (like the cell phone charges and earbuds that DS21 is continually losing or breaking!) and what we'd cover.

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 Pizza and beer qualifies as fun stuff, but a lot of the small incidentals are not "fun." Laundromat money plus money for detergent, basic toiletries, transportation, school supplies, etc. are basic necessities and they all add up quickly 

 

I was going by the OP, which only mentioned laundry as a necessity that came out of allowance. She may have meant "personal expenses" to cover some of the stuff you listed, but I thought it was mostly fun money plus laundry and the occasional necessity. 

 

We do buy my dd's necessities. Generally, we send them with her or have them delivered from Amazon. When she fills in at Walmart and such, she just lets us know. It's not that much money, really, maybe bc my college student really minimizes laundry and cleaning, lol. Personal hygiene would be the biggest expense, I think, but no more than it was at home. 

 

Did your mom just refuse to listen when your sister told her that the school did not supply her with tampons??  

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Ds earns his spending money in the summer. This year he's budgeted $200/mth for spending. That includes $45 for his mobile phone, gas for the car while he has it at school, gifts for family and friends and then any "fun" expenses. He's in an on-campus apartment with a meal plan that covers 2/3 of his meals. He gets another $100 per month for groceries for the rest.

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You ratted out your own brother! :lol:

 

 

1ds fell 18'  from a tree when the branch broke.  he insisted he was fine because he landed on his feet. :glare: when 2ds told me, 2dd was "___ you weren't supposed to tell!" :glare:

 

He (otherwise minor) fractured a vertebra that pinched a nerve.

 

I'm willing to pay for school stuff - I'm not willing to pay for entertainment.  I don't/didn't give allowances.  they need to learn to live within their means.  I had one who blew money nearly as fast as mil.   he's finally learned, but still could do better - which he admits.

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We give ds $300 a month but he has no meal plan so does all of his own cooking, and has to pay to do laundry. The first two weeks of school the only part he used was for laundry because groceries are cheaper here than near campus so I loaded him up. He won't use any the week of Thanksgiving. I will go pick him up, and he is welcome to bring laundry home, and then with only 3 weeks to go to Christmas having been sent back with Turkey leftovers, and more groceries from home, he will probably oh use $100.

 

He would get $100 a month if he did have the meal plan. We pay above that for things like school supplies, trips for class, etc.

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We are 75 a month for the first term of the freshmen year. We will make adjustments at the end of term. Our dd does not like the cafeteria so we will down grade her food plan so I will up her monthly allowance. I expect her to cook in her dorm not eat out often. I expect her to get a job second semester as well. She took 17 hours this first term...long story, but she has been busy and needs the extra time to keep her grades up so she can keep her scholarship. 

 

She has figured out, that if she comes home and goes shopping with me, I will pay for things. We both love a fun Target run anyways so it is a good time to chat. 

Edited by lmrich
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We gave dd $100/month.  She had a full meal plan, which included the coffee counter, but she paid for her personal care, gas money, entertainment.  I expected the first month or two to be more expensive because of unforeseen expenses, so I gave her more as needed for books/fees/etc.  She never asked for more.

 

We give our ds $400 a month, but he lives in an apartment (which we pay for), so he does his own cooking, and he drives to school.  He also pays his half of the electricity and internet out of that.  Whatever he saves, he is free to spend as he likes.  I do have access to his bank account, so I monitor his spending.  Most by far goes to the grocery store.  He eats out once a week, and uses his debit card in vending machines periodically.  If there's anything left at the end of the month, he buys electronics or materials to build stuff that he sells for profit.  He has asked for extra money for special stuff (like cello lessons) on occasion, but only rarely (and I don't always say Yes).  

 

For both of them, this amount puts them right on the edge.  They can do it if they're careful.  It teaches them to be frugal, but they know they aren't going to starve.  

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I do want to add, though, that I worked part-time in college and I'm not sure I want my dc (who are still years from that age) to do that. It definitely negatively impacted my grades. Perhaps if it had been confined to summer work, or campus jobs it would have been better. It just seemed like I couldn't make enough money to last the school year. Likely I was making a raft of bad choices and not looking for advice, but it does give me pause when I think about sending out my own. Anyway, all this to say that the basic allowance seems to be working and is likely a good idea but obviously needs some tweaking.

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Our kids earned their own spending money in college unless there was a compelling reason.  Mostly they worked campus jobs of ten hours a week and it more than covered their expenses. 

 

Sometimes there was a temporary reason not to earn spending money, such as when ds did an intensive Russian course in six weeks. He truly had no time, as the class was all day and the evenings were study sessions, private tutoring, and cultural experiences like cooking classes.  We didn't expect him to work during that time.  

 

But how much is typical is so individual. DD went to a college that had excellent free bus transportation all over town. Another dd went to a school that had no transportation and she needed a car.  Some kids have had unlimited meal plans so they could even go get snacks or a coffee whenever they wanted. Another had no meal plan. Girls need tampons and such...guys need a bottle of shampoo once a term. g

 

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I gave mine a credit card and told them to charge anything school, medical, or groceries related. They have part time jobs for discretionary income. It has worked well. If any charges pop up that are questionable, like pizza or minigolf, I mark it as theirs and they pay it out of their bank accounts.

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None,here. Depending on how much we actually pay for tuition and room and board, DD will have to earn any spending money. Of course we may send packages from time to time,and enclose a 20 in a letter. Spending money is from her own earnings for the most part.

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I do want to add, though, that I worked part-time in college and I'm not sure I want my dc (who are still years from that age) to do that. It definitely negatively impacted my grades. Perhaps if it had been confined to summer work, or campus jobs it would have been better. 

 

 

yes, I am always a bit torn, because I grew up with the idea of working from an early age, but I also know it had a definite negative impact on my school experience (high school and college).  

 

I have to remind myself that there's a range of possibilities - like you said, work can be summers or on campus. I had campus jobs plus a weekend job with lots of hours at home, I def don't want  my kids doing that! But definitely I think they can work SOME hours during the school year and still have plenty of time for study and play.

 

Even if they can't find a summer or campus job, I don't think it's a hardship to not eat out multiple times per week, etc. 

 

My kids did not work during high school. We weren't opposed to it completely, but it would have been very inconvenient for US (nothing nearby or convenient), and they were always content with an extremely meager allowance and gift money. We did not want oldest to work her first semester, and she didn't find anything second semester. She now works tutoring a few hours a week, sophomore year, and that's worked out well. Limited hours that she picks, and I think she enjoys having money to spend that mom and dad don't "see" - even though I doubt she's buying anything very private, lol. 

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Add me to those who didn't give our guys any allowance while at college (or home before college).  They all had jobs for their extras.  We paid room & board (full meal plan), books, trips home, and cell phones.  If they wanted extra, they got jobs (all did - beginning first semester).  Middle son also was able to be a guinea pig in some experiments at his college and got paid for his effort.

 

It's been great for teaching them to budget and live within their means finding low cost or free things to do on/around campus - even if others have a bottomless pit of money.  'Tis the real world.  Mine are quite good with money now, buying needs and budgeting wants.

 

This is the way I got my spending money in college too FWIW.

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$75 doesn't seem like it would go very far, IMO. Granted, when I was in college, I was entirely on my own financially. It would not be unreasonable to ask your child to get a part-time job to cover their own spending money. 

 

Pizza and beer qualifies as fun stuff, but a lot of the small incidentals are not "fun." Laundromat money plus money for detergent, basic toiletries, transportation, school supplies, etc. are basic necessities and they all add up quickly. My younger sister went away to school (boarding school in high school, therefore a job wasn't an option for her) and my mom would give her very little money because as far as far as Mom was concerned her daily expenses were covered. Therefore my sister felt that she had no other option than to resort to stealing shampoo, conditioner, tampons, laundry detergent, etc. from other students.  :sad:

 

We do not plan to get the full meal plan, so I am guessing a pizza would be cheaper than a meal on campus anyway, but the OP's situation may be different.

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