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Food Spending & College Update

November 13th, 2021 at 04:20 pm

When I thought that MM(18) would blow through his college dining dollars too quickly, I decided to cash out the kids' high school lunch money.  I had about $250 prepaid.  MM(18) never went back to school (in person) and so I transferred his money over to DL(16).  But he's getting free lunch indefinitely.  Initially I liked the idea to have senior year just paid for (while also having big expenses like college).  But I don't even know if DL will have to pay for lunch next year.  It took me a few tries to reach someone but just got confirmation that they are mailing me a check.  Yay!

In the meantime, MM(18) has things figured out pretty well.  The max college dining plan came with coffee and soda bonuses that seemed pretty useless (MM is not a coffee or a soda drinker).  But he figured out that he could buy food at the coffee shops and it counted as "coffee".  So he has an extra $300 to spend down.  It sounds like he will probably squeak by this first quarter.  

My very rough estimate from grocery spending at home was that MM(18) was about half of our grocery spending.  How did this shake out in October?  We spent $550 of our $850 grocery/household budget, allowing me to save $300 towards college food expenses.  I am very pleased with this first month.  That $550 included some food bought for MM(18), feeding a film crew, and also a *lot* of food waste.  We are figuring it out but it will take some time to adjust to our eating habits.  Plus, we've just been in survival mode and will continue to be for a while.

I think that $500/month will be a good estimate going forward (saving $350/month to offset college food costs).  But it will take many months to average out.

MM(18) is not spending any money on campus.  He is enjoying the all-inclusive lifestyle.  He's traveling to LA some weekends to work on a joint project with another college.  So he does spend some money on food on the road.  I expect he also has to contribute some to gas.  I've seen a couple of ATM and venmo withdrawals (from his money/accounts) but haven't asked him about those in any detail.  I know he had some club dues to pay, and I just presume he is contributing gas when he gets rides to LA.  

We get him home for Thanksgiving break, so we are excited about that.  

1 Responses to “Food Spending & College Update”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    That reminds of when DS1 was in college, and he had one of my credit cards to use only at the bookstore. I checked it regularly to make sure he was following the rule, and he was. However, it turned out he was buying a lot of candy and snacks as well as school supplies. LOL. He supplemented his food budget that way, though not very nutritiously!

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