Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Where did you live during university?

Where did you live while you were going to school, and if you had to do it over again, would you do it any differently?

This post was inspired by the Globe’s recent article: Want to save $45,000 in university costs? Live with Mom and Dad

When I was 17, I received a scholarship to study (and play field hockey) at a university in Michigan. The total value of that scholarship was approximately $20,600 per academic year ($11,000 tuition, $8,600 on-campus housing, $1,000 books). And that was when $1 CAN was the equivalent of $0.67 US.

Had I not gotten a full scholarship, there was no way I could have gone. Even if just my tuition was covered, coming up with $8,600 per year for housing (that’s $34,400 for a 4-year program)? Not possible unless I took out massive student loans.

When I was 22, I decided to go back to school in my hometown. I was living in a downtown apartment at the time, paying $625/month rent. As soon as I knew I was going back to school, I moved home and into my parents’ basement. In the two years I was in college, that saved me $15,000.

Sure, I missed out on some things. Bonding with my classmates (who were also roommates), and having the independence of living on my own. I really liked living on-campus when I was in Michigan. I didn’t have a commute (which meant I could roll out of bed at 10:45 for my 11am class), and all my meals were made for me at the cafeteria. But it just didn’t make financial sense to keep my apartment – or even live closer to campus. Even if I really wanted to. Living in the same town as my parents, they were happy (but maybe a little reluctant) to let me live with them again. I had moved out twice before, after all. :)

The $15,000 I saved while living with my parents likely would have been a lot more if I had lived somewhere else. It’s pretty easy to get tempted with dinners out, drinks, parties, etc. when you’re surrounded by friends … or living on campus, where there are always temptations to help you spend your money. And since I graduated over $20,000 in debt, it’s obvious I already had problems keeping my spending in check.

So, where did you live while you were going to school? Did you live with your parents, and regret not having the freedom? Or did you move out on your own (or to a different city), only to have accumulated more student loans than you thought you would?

Spending Recap: August 19-25, 2013

Monday 19th
$24 dentist
$46.93 gas

Tuesday 20th
$12.35 dinner

Wednesday 21st
No Spend Day!

Thursday 22nd
$20.78 groceries

Friday 23rd
$12.02 lunch
$58.18 BC Liquor Store

Saturday 24th
$20 PNE/Playland

Sunday 25th
$23.25 dinner

Freelance Income: $0
Expenses– $217.51

TOTAL: – $217.51

Here’s a short personal update: I apologize for the lack of posting over the last month. It’s been a fun, yet challenging summer for me. I haven’t had the motivation to do much of anything except run, hike, and be with friends. Maybe I could blame it on wanting to enjoy the great weather, but it could also be trying navigate the single life, or that after 6.5 years of writing about personal finance, I got a little bit burnt out. That being said, writing a few articles for the Star over the past month has gotten me inspired to write about money again. And now that I’m just finishing up my current article, I can find the time to write here again. :)

It’s really hard to get motivated to cook for just myself – which is why I find myself going out with friends for meals more often. That is a budget killer, and something I’m going to need to control. It also doesn’t help that after work I’m running a lot, so when I get home, I’m so exhausted that I don’t want to cook anything. But I’ve already made more of an effort to control this by meal planning. Look for these dining out expenses to go down significantly as we move into September.

The only ridiculous expense this week was spending $58.18 on two bottles of wine. Granted, the wine was very good, and I rarely ever buy alcohol. I bought one bottle to bring over to a friend’s house for dinner, and the other one I’m keeping at home for when I have company. In case you’re wondering, I purchased Miraval – which I found out is the winery owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. :) The packaging is absolutely beautiful, and the wine is a gorgeous colour.

How was your week of spending?

Spending Recap: August 12-18, 2013

Monday 12th
$16.90 dinner

Tuesday 13th
$13.05 dinner
$10 parking

Wednesday 14th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 15th
No Spend Day!

Friday 16th
$12.59 lunch
$42.47 gas
$9.55 shipping

Saturday 17th
$11.31 Pinkberry

Sunday 18th
$22.58 Britannia Mine Museum
$64.35 groceries

Freelance Income: $0
Expenses– $202.80

TOTAL: – $202.80

This was an extremely social week for me, but I’m happy that I was able to keep my expenses down to a reasonable level. Between going to the pub, watching an outdoor movie, coffee dates, patio drinks, and running errands, I’m surprised my weekly spending wasn’t at least $100 more. But the weekend was a little bit more relaxed. I spent Saturday running errands, then Sunday was my first 10km race ever. After that, Nic and I were planning on hiking Seymour with some of my work friends, but once we got up there, it was so foggy that we bailed and went to the Britannia Mine Museum instead. I’ve been wanting to check that place out for years! It was a lot of fun, although it just got me more curious to go exploring in the mountains. :)

As for the 10km race, my previous fastest time was 52:39 – and I haven’t been able to run that fast since May (instead focusing on longer, slower runs during the summer). My long-shot goal was to run at around 52-minutes. But as it turns out, running in races really makes you push yourself. I ended up with an official time of 50:43 – good enough to place first in my age category (30-34), and 15th female overall. Yep, it was a very small race (141 participants). But I’m pretty happy with my race time, and my new goal for next month’s race is to run it in under 50 minutes.

How was your week of spending?

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