I'm a 20-year-old college student financially dependent on my parents -- here are all my weekly costs

Shutterstock.com/kagemushaIt’s hard to make money as a full -time student (the author is not pictured).
  • Alexis, a college student who is studying journalism and is actively involved on campus, relies on her parents to pay her tuition and many of her expenses.
  • For Business Insider’s “Real Money” series, she shares how her parents financially support her and how she spends the money she makes babysitting.
  • Want to share a week of your spending? Email [email protected]

I’m the furthest thing from lazy – but I rely on my parents to cover most of my finances.

For me, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to go to all of my classes, study, hold student leadership positions on campus, and hold a job where I make enough money to afford all of the basic necessities of life.

Housing and tuition at my university costs $US58,775 per year, and that doesn’t even cover my books, travel costs, phone bill, and other basic necessities. I would love to contribute more to my expenses and alleviate the financial burden from my parents, but it’s just not realistic.

During a full five-day school week I spend 12.5 hours in class, 10 hours working on school assignments, 11 hours managing our Her Campus team, an online women’s magazine at my university, 10 hours a week babysitting for $US15 an hour, and (hopefully) 8 hours of sleep per night. All of these activities leave me with only about 36.5 hours left in the week. I need that time to eat, work out, call my parents, socialise with people, and act like a semi-sane human being.

Why am I telling you all of this? I’m trying to explain why my parents still fund my life at 20 years old. With 10 hours a week babysitting at $US15 an hour, I’m only making $US150 a week, which isn’t cutting it. I also don’t have time to fit more hours of work into my schedule.

Here’s a break down of what I spend in a week and where my parents help so I can focus on my education:

I barely make it through the week with any money left over from babysitting — this is where my parents come in.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On Monday this week, a $US34,000 payment was due for my spring semester tuition and I called my parents in a panic to make sure they were taking care of it. I ran out of groceries in my townhouse this week as well. Thankfully my parents live 25 minutes away and were willing to stock me back up with groceries only two hours after I called my mum.

My parents do not give me an allowance. They just pay for some necessities in my life that I currently can’t afford on my own as a full-time student. They also occasionally give me a little extra cash when they come to visit me at school. They usually visit twice a semester, at most.

I use the $US150 I make from babysitting to dine out, treat myself, and buy groceries.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

I have always held a part-time job, because I genuinely do feel terrible that my parents work so hard to fund my life. I use this “side money” for eating out with friends, buying new clothes to treat myself, eyebrow and nail appointments – all good times.

Typically, I do try to buy my own groceries as well, but sometimes it is just impossible to make ends meet with a $US150 a week salary. This week for example, I have to make that phone call to my parents. Essentially, this side money just isn’t enough.

On Monday I spent $US25.99 on food and drinks throughout the day.

Getty/Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Early morning classes on Monday call for an $US8.99 açai smoothie right after. The drink isn’t going to cut it for the full day, so I ran home afterwards to make some avocado toast. Yes, it tastes so much better when you buy it from one of those trendy restaurants, but I’m limited on money, and Mum and Dad just brought over groceries.

I had a ton to plan for my Her Campus meeting, an online women’s magazine I run on campus, so I spent the afternoon working on that. After the meeting was over at 7 p.m., I was starving and easily gave into peer pressure and went out for dinner with my friends.

My meal at Bar Taco was delicious, but $US16 tacos plus the smoothie earlier in the day already cost me one-sixth of this week’s salary.

On Tuesday I treated myself to a new denim jacket and a pair of sandals for $US35.74

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

The warm weather is approaching and I’m a sucker for spring fashion. It also was “Treat Yourself Tuesday,” and I figured why not. I didn’t have class today and my to-do list was very short. I tend to resort to online retail when I’m bored, which is not beneficial to my bank account.

I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home because I had the time to actually make meals. Plus, I was stocked with everything imaginable: pasta, steak, chicken, burgers, soups, stuffed breads, avocados, potatoes, cauliflower, the list goes on. So the variety on what to eat was limitless – like going out to eat without spending money.

On Wednesday, I decided to be somewhat responsible and put gas in my own car.

Getty/ Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

After buying $US20 worth of gas, I had spent $US81.63 for the week. More than half of my week’s salary in three days!

I ate at home again today. I feel awful my mum had to do grocery shopping for me this week, but I really appreciate her help. Of course she also went above and beyond with her purchasing. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast, mac n’ cheese for lunch, and after a night of babysitting I came home to chicken teriyaki with edamame and rice for dinner. Yum!

On Thursday, I had a full class schedule and managed to only spend money on a Starbucks run.

Getty/ Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

I desperately crave Starbucks in between classes and bought a venti strawberry açai refresher for $US3.75.

After class I had to go babysit until 6 p.m. and was starving by the time I was finished. I surprisingly had enough energy left in me to make myself a nice steak with baked cauliflower and a baked potato for dinner.

On Friday, I went out to dinner with friends because there’s no better way to end the week than with dinner.

Mecha Noodle Bar is one of my favourite places for ramen and pho noodles, but $US16 later I was down to $US48.52 in my checking account.

Like I mentioned earlier, I constantly give into my friends wanting to go out for dinner and spend money on things I probably don’t need to be spending money on. It’s just easier and more fun to go out and have dinner, but the costs add up. This is also why I feel like it’s so hard to save my babysitting money.

On Saturday, I woke up very hungry and had a craving for chocolate croissants so I made them myself. However, by dinner time I was too lazy to cook and ordered Chinese for dinner.

I spent a total of $US19.84 on Chinese takeout. Pork fried rice, wonton soup, and sesame chicken for the win.

By the end of the day I only had $US28.68 in my bank account. Not only was I extremely low on funds, it was a harrowing reminder that I’m nowhere near capable of funding my entire life.

On Sunday, I had no business spending any money so I didn’t.

Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Thankfully I had my parent’s homemade sauce and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to cook some pasta and meatballs.

I am so incredibly lucky to have parents that make being a full-time student less stressful. It’s a luxury to not have to worry about paying bills. Although I wish I could make more money, my part time job is nowhere near profitable enough to fund the life of a full-time student.

I spend the most money going out to eat with my friends. After tracking my spending, my goal for next semester is to open a savings account, eat out less, and try to be a lot smarter with my money.

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