It’s all about the money

(Photo by Stefan Carlson)

Are you a broke college student? Do you wonder why you constantly borrow money for food and textbooks; why you can’t afford to do fun things like attending concerts or amusement parks? Here are easy solutions to your financial troubles, some of which are available at Elmhurst College (EC):

1. Federal Work Study Pro- gram (FWSP). If you’re unable to find a job off campus, seek a job on campus. According to Kelsey Plefka, the gift-aid co-ordinator in the financial aid office, FWSP allows eligible students “to earn up to a certain amount of dollars” from paying jobs on the EC campus. In an email interview she said their eligibility is “based on income information that is pulled from the FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid].” Those who qualify have many options to choose from. Information about FWSP is available at elm- hurst.edu/finaid under the link titled, “Student Job Opportunities.”

2. Apply for Scholarships. EC’s website lists a multitude of external scholarships that students can apply for (elmhurst. edu/finaid, under the “Scholarships” link). Plefka updates them daily, so students are never in short supply. When applying for scholarships in general, however, Plefka recommends starting local. “Let’s say at home you’re involved in your park district, or you’re involved in a local community organization like a garden club or Boy Scouts. Start with your local organizations first, the people who know your name already, and then expand outward.”

3. Sell goods and services. Use Amazon and eBay to make money off items (CDs, books, clothing, etc.) you no longer use. If you’re creative, sell crafts and artwork on Etsy or translate your skills into services by working as a tutor or babysitter.

4. Avoid overspending on food. Buy generic brand food. If you’re living on campus, get the cheapest meal plan and eat out as little as possible. Students should also take advantage of on-campus events where free food is served. Sophomore Jonathon Prehn said in an email interview to “watch for free food in Founder’s.”

5. Start a savings account. Make deposits every paycheck (or allowance), and don’t take money from it. This way you have a nice financial cushion in case of emergencies.

6. Hold yourself accountable. Ask friends to keep an eye on you and call you out when they see you’re wasting money.

7. Ask for student discounts. Many stores, restaurants, and recreational places in and around Elmhurst offer student discounts. Take advantage of them!

8. Try the 52-week money challenge. In an email interview, senior Alyssa Em-Lov suggested trying the “52-week money” challenge as a way to help with tuition and out-of- pocket expenses. The challenge is to save“$1 the first week of the semester, $2 second week of the semester, $3 third week, and go up from there. At the end of the year you’ll have $1,326.” Em- Lov added, “it’s best to keep a separate savings or checking account just for this, otherwise it’s easier to spend.”