Want to start a firestorm? Drop this incendiary into the Facebook parent group for Pippa’s college:
We want to give our son money each month to use for entertainment or eating off campus, etc. I guess something similar to a monthly stipend. I was thinking about $120/month since most of his meals will be on campus but he thinks that is ridiculously low. Does anyone provide their kid with a monthly stipend for incidentals and if so, what have you found to be a reasonable amount to cover basic needs and entertainment?
The response was fast and furious…on all sides.
Many were on the side of “Are you kidding me?” Here’s a word-for-word sampling, and keep in mind that this is a pretty polite group (no one will tell you you’re an idiot even if you act like one – which is how I think life should be).
- If you are willing to cover $120 per month, please consider adopting me!
- OMG! $120 per month is PLENTY!! He will spend what you give him. If you give him less, he will make do.
- It’s plenty! Ours has been working since she was 15 and has more $ than us in her account. 🙂
- My student thinks $120 is “plenty plenty”. She said she spends maybe $50 at most, and it’s mostly in eating meals off campus. She has two jobs on campus plus babysits weekly for a professor, so she definitely makes more money than she needs.
- My daughter worked all summer to pay for her books and anything else she would like other than the campus meal plan.
- Wow, my son works all summer and lives on what he makes. He’s had no problems living with that. He has a credit card in case of emergency.
- Gotta learn to earn.
- Ours gets a pre-back-to-school shopping trip and a snack pack a semester. She has a job for other stuff. Too much money and it is spent on things they don’t really need (e.g. alcohol).
- I pay tuition, he pays extras from summer job and job at school.
- You are very generous. You have paid for a meal plan, he must use it. My son spent $25-$100 per month for four years. He was very conscience of spending money.
- My kid has a job over the summer to earn money for her part of her expenses. She also has a job while at school. She spends it as she sees fit. I should also clarify that when I say “as she sees fit”, it means she is frugal because it’s her money. That being said, if she wants to really splurge on a meal (practically never) or a gift for a friend (much more likely) she can do it guilt-free and within her budget.
Sugar Daddy (and Mommy)
Then there were the few brave souls who volleyed in with “$120? I can top that!”
- My daughter got $200 per month and some months it was used and others most of the balance carried over and I would not replenish the account. More in the winter months she ate out, went to movies or ice skating. She also had to cover CVS necessities such as shampoo, detergent, gas money and snacks out of that fund.
- My son is starting his second year. Last year, I put $500 in his checking account at the beginning of the semester. He did not work, and had money left over at Christmas break.
- Our boys have a credit card off our account for whatever they need and/or emergencies. They can use it to grocery shop or buy gas or incidentals like tires or broken appliances etc. and we see what they charge every month.
Many parents occupied the “I get by with a little help from my friends” middle ground:
- We plan on giving our daughter $50 to $100 month.
- Mine gets $35/month, and works a few hours for campus events. Real life is coming. They need to start learning about money management, too.
- My junior daughter gets about $100 a month ($25/week) for extras. She also has worked on campus as a research assistant the last two summers as well as during the year. We figure that should cover off campus meals, movies, and such. She finds that is plenty.
- My daughter spends way less than $120 monthly. She has had a job on campus to make most of it. We occasionally give her $50 so she can treat herself.
- My daughter earns her way for most of her needs and extras. Once in awhile she might need a little extra help but tries to manage on her own. $120 is very generous.
- My daughter spent much less than that a month. Also, no judgement from this mom about parents helping with expenses, every family has different circumstances. My daughter worked two amazing internships this summer but neither were paid; we were able to say that’s okay and are helping her out with expenses.
- My student has a summer job that pays for his entertainment, gifts to friends, and eating out. We did give him a monthly stipend as a first year because he’s an athlete and we wanted him to focus on academics and athletics rather than a job. It was much less than $120/month.
- My son is dependent on his summer jobs. At this age, we told him he has to start managing his money. Big things, he will call and we discuss them, but all food is provided and if he wants to go out for extra stuff that is on him. (We also pay for books and tuition). He also has a car; we pay for the car and insurance but gas is his responsibility.
- Set an amount you think is reasonable, and he has to learn to budget within that amount. (My daughter spent about $80/month on that type of stuff last year).
- I would put $40 in my daughter’s bank account the months she didn’t work. She has a summer job, so she’s got her own money as well. This year, she plans on getting a campus job earlier, too. She also works at home on breaks. She mostly eats on campus. She still has enough money for groceries and things for her betta fish. 🙂
Wisdom from a Veteran
Nothing speaks louder than experience. The final word this week is from a parent of an alum, who loves the school so much that she still monitors its Facebook group.
Never gave my son any money; however, I sent him gift cards for restaurants around the college for Hallmark holidays, etc. He had an on-campus job too. That was 8 years ago, still haven’t provided him any money, nor has he asked.
Next time, I’ll cover how Pippa is getting by. If you want to receive an email when it publishes, sign up on the right side of this page.
I am curious to know what parameters your parents set for you when you were at Bates. I remember we both had work study jobs on campus and worked summers (& often carpooled for the long drive down to MD / VA for many holidays).
It’s a while ago now 🙂 but the best I can recall, they paid tuition (except the loans of course) and I paid everything else. Books, transportation, social, etc. I remember working really hard to find cheap books and rides, and I probs wouldn’t have worked so hard if someone else was footing the bill.