The Bloomington Budget



Ramen for dinner every night, classes taking up the day and studying for assessments, college students don’t have much money or time in their days to make money.

“Find as many free things as you can. There’s so many options. There’s all kinds of things at The Union to do for free. Honestly just going to a house and watching a movie with your friends, making food with things you already have saves money,” Hardy said.

Recently Bloomington has been named the most expensive city in Indiana by the business analysis website 24/7 Wall St. Hardy and Lexi Eisert are both college students who have lived on campus and learned how to budget while living in Bloomington.

At the IU bookstore, students spend a substantial amount of money on necessary textbooks. Students had jobs over breaks or over the school years to be able to afford living on campus. “I work over breaks and I work on some weekends. I work at Starbucks. I cut people’s hair sometimes they make money from that. I will go back home and do prom hair for girls and make money from that,” Hardy said.

At IU, Housing, whether on campus or off campus is usually what students find themselves spending the most money on. On campus, IU has different levels of housing that students can choose depending on their price point.

“There are three different levels of housing at IU. There’s economy, standard and enhanced. The economy is cheaper, but you have to live without air conditioning,” Eisert said.

Students at IU tend to spend the least amount of money on entertainment. The school often has free resources for entertainment such as karaoke and movies. Hardy said, “There’s just so many things to do for free here. I just think it’s silly to spend money on that type of stuff.”

Shops and restaurants around IU occasionally aim to make items more affordable for college students. Sometimes there are student promotions or even days where goods are free to appeal to college students.

“Places in Bloomington will sometimes have free days where food is free. I know everyone goes crazy when there’s free chips and guac at Chipotle and free Jimmy John’s subs,” Eisert said.

To make the most out of a tight budget, students will get jobs while living on campus. Students that have jobs at times will work over break to earn money without interfering with school.

“I work over breaks and I work on some weekends. I work at Starbucks. I cut people’s hair sometimes they make money from that. I will go back home and do prom hair for girls and make money from that,” Hardy said.

Some students on campus have different resources on budgeting. A number of students will use banking apps, but others will not make money their first priorities.

“I know a lot of people who have written out budgets that go through and excel spreadsheet and actually budget what they spend. I’m the kind of person that’s always been a saver, so I don’t necessarily have a written out budget. I just don’t spend a lot of money. If I’m saving for a trip or something, I’ll budget on excel. I also have an app. Banking apps are the new thing,” Hardy said.