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MM(20) College Stuff

September 6th, 2023 at 02:16 pm

I discussed with MM(20) and we are just going to send him a $1K monthly allowance for rent and groceries.  Just for simplicity, as we switch to monthly housing costs.  I was just paying quarterly (with tuition) when he lived in the dorms.  

MM(20) only spent ~$80/month on food last school year.  🙄  & he looks starved.  So I am leaning on him to spend more.  I don't know that he will spend more, but I am trying.  I will be sending him a flat $150/month for groceries. 

Why $150?  Because it makes it an even $1,000 per month, with rent.  & I presume that about doubling his grocery budget should be more than ample.

I saw a conversation in the parent group recently, about what to expect to pay for food (for kids living in apartments with kitchens).  $400 - $600 was pretty much all that anyone recommended.  😲  I just presumed that included eating out costs, but there were comments about how "this can be done if you meal plan" and stuff like that.  Still, clearly has to be some eating out costs.  MM(20) never eats out, and I expect that is most of why he keeps food costs down so low.  

There was even a comment how if you don't give your kids at least $500/month, it's not fair to roommates because obviously your kid would have to steal their roommates' food.

I often feel like I live on a different planet, and this is one of those moments.  The only relateable comment was someone who has a $250/budget for their kid who shops at Costco.  If I can get MM(20) to actually spend $150.  & I know a lot of it is that he gets a lot of free food from the girlfriend, and some free food from clubs and so one.  I expect $250/month would be a decent grocery budget for MM(20) if he didn't have the 'free food' factor. (They aren't eating ramen.  They are eating 4-course meals.  The girlfriend is quite a chef.)  Not only that, but they also take turns cooking for 2 (or more), which clearly helps to reduce their food costs.  

It will be interesting to see how this year goes.  With less roommates and me pushing him to spend more on groceries, he may spend a little more.  He doesn't have to share a kitchen and fridge with 4 other people.  That should allow for more cooking and leftovers.  More room for leftovers, if nothing else.

The question mark this year is utilities and other expenses.  Moving from an "absolutely everything is covered with rent" situation to a "nothing is covered with rent" situation.  But the utilities should be so minimal that I think I may just reimburse him twice during the school year.  & once I have a year of utility data, might just roll that into a flat monthly allowance for future years.

The school had even covered cleaning supplies, so that will be a new expense this year.   I don't know how much MM(20) will pay for laundry this year and how much he will just do laundry at the girlfriend's house.  (Laundry was always free in the dorms).  I am sure there's things we have not thought of.

I did give MM(20) his $1K college gift this year, to use towards furnishing his apartment.  Seemed the best use of this money for this school year.  In the end, he's found everything for free.  He even had a free bed/mattress at some point (that fell through).  & he found a free bike.  As of this moment, he still needs a mattress.  & he might need some kitchen stuff, depending on what the roommate brings.

5 Responses to “MM(20) College Stuff”

  1. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    How is food costs so cheap? I'd struggle to feed a family of 4 on $150 pp a month so $600 a month with food costs so high.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    Well, like I said it's more like $250/month and he looks starved. The free food thing and not eating enough. (Certainly would not recommend the 'not eating enough.')

    Cooking meals in bulk and happy to eat leftovers. Never eating out. Not buying processed foods. Sticking to cheaper food like rice, beans, chicken, hamburger. Eggs & potatoes. I am sure he's just going with how he grew up. We've only added more expensive meats in recent years (to our household).

    Shopping around sales. MM told me the GF always cooks fancy meals. But she keeps it very frugal. MM keeps it more simple re: kitchen/spice/cooking tool limitations. Lord knows we have more interesting frugal meals we eat at home, that MM hasn't been able to translate to college.

    The other thing that just popped into my mind is that MM(20) literally drinks nothing but water. No soda, coffee, juice. There's probably stuff like that I am just not thinking about. Our "normal" that is not so normal.

  3. Lots of ideas Says:

    Maybe you need to send $$$ to the girlfriend!

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    @LOI - Lord knows I have tried.

  5. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I thought it was $80 a month? Do you guys realy only spend $250 for a family of four? Impressive either way.

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