Music, movies, events, video games, eating out with friends…entertainment.
You are a student and might not have to worry about budgeting for the real world just yet, but thinking about where and what you spend on entertainment might be a good place to start.
Entertainment is part of downtime for many college students because it helps balance out the strain of work and school.
“It helps to chill, listen to music or hang out with some friends. It takes away the stress of the whole week. If I can get through the week then by the weekend I can do something fun,” freshman Brittany Mathis said.
Mathis estimated that she spends about $200 a month on entertainment.
Understanding how entertainment fits into the student lifestyle may be similar among students, however, estimating just how much is too much to spend may vary.
Young adults come from a number of different financial situations. While some live on campus, others live off campus: with parents, roommates or on their own. Some students are invested in their academics full time, while others may juggle off-campus jobs with school.
Next time you think about your own entertainment spending habits, consider evaluating yourself.
“I don’t have a set amount [that I spend], but I don’t like to eat out that often during the week because it adds up over time,” junior Lauren Wargo said.
As a resident, Wargo has a meal plan at school. When she’s not eating in the Alumni Dining Commons, she makes meals at home.
Making home-cooked meals not only saves you money but it can also be an opportunity to invite friends over.
“With movies, if I can wait, I’ll wait until it is available through Redbox so I can get it cheaper. If I can’t wait then I try to get the movie tickets through Community Life, which is about half the regular price,” Wargo said.
The Community Life department has discounted movie tickets available for purchase for any CBU student with a valid student ID.
Time might be an important factor to consider when you budget for entertainment.
“I usually go out and watch a movie, go to Redbox or go to a restaurant or something. Usually for an hour or two. Weekly it adds up to three or four hours,” senior Joel Martinez said.
Mike Swope, visual arts major, reflected that entertainment will actually hinder his studies sometimes if, for example, he gets caught up in a movie with friends.
Balance is key when allotting time for studying, work and entertainment. Do not let too much fun cut into your study time but make sure to reward yourself for hard work.
Cut out a movie or dinner outing here and there to save a little for later on. If you can save it now, you can use it in the future.
“Just save. Save a lot. When you have money, learn how to save. You might have an emergency some day and you might need it,” Williams said.
Wargo’s parents and grandparents have saved for years to help ensure that she will be loan-free and debt-free once she graduates from college.
Entertainment is a healthy part of the student lifestyle, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to spending. Take advantage of any opportunity to evaluate how your current entertainment budget can benefit you for the future while still being able to enjoy the things you love to do right now.