The Cost of Crimson

Entering any university, one of the biggest priorities on your list is money: how you’re going to earn it, how you’re going to spend it, and how to be smart with it.

There’s a sharp contrast between living at home with your parents and living on campus on your own. You gain a new sense of independence, as you’re learning how to incorporate your needs with what you have. How different students handle this new liberty vary. While some students struggle, others quickly learn how to find a good balance.

Sheila Raghavendran is a rising junior at Indiana University, majoring in media and minoring in history and theater. Entering IU, Raghavendran had to take on the new responsibility of budgeting. “I’ve had to just do it myself. I had to know that there was no one there to watch over me. I had to be responsible,” she said. Raghavendran had a different outlook upon her spending when living with her parents. Back in her home state, Ohio, she was being constantly reminded of her spending habits by her family. Coming to IU and taking on new responsibility meant learning how to keep herself accountable.

“Keep track of how much money you’re spending each month. Maybe keep a log, writing down how much money you’ve spent to be able to compare month-to-month,” said Raghavendran. IU and Bloomington, the city that IU is located in, promotes the idea of easing the financial burden placed upon college students.

Sarah-Anne Lanman graduated from IU in 2009 and received her Masters of Education in 2012. She suggested that incoming Hoosiers should always keep a look-out for local establishments that can relieve your bank yet fill your stomach. “Aim to venture out. Aim to find those local restaurants that are really awesome,” Lanman said when asked what advice she would offer to students specifically attending IU. “For college students in general: “Wait to get a credit card. Don’t get a credit card right away. Even just charging a little bit adds up and can get so expensive.”

Outside Tracks

IU and Bloomington promotes the idea of easing the financial burden placed upon college students. Indiana University is surrounded by numerous stores, restaurants, and other places to spend leisure time, that are easily available to students and other Bloomington citizens. Many locally owned stores offer things such as student discounts, coupons being sent to student’s doorsteps, and even donating to university events. Seeking out and taking advantage of all these money-saving opportunities can make or break students and their bank accounts. “They definitely cater to student needs,” Raghavendran said.

Counter inside Pitaya

The emergence of Crimson Cards have given students the opportunity to control how much money they may be spending. Like a gift card, students can transfer a certain amount of money onto their Crimson Card.  A majority of the IU campus and its surrounding area has joined in on this, accepting it as a form of currency.

“Managing money is the thing that is hard, but it’s okay as long as you’re aware of what you’re doing and you have a good system set up,” said Lanman. “Being aware is the most important thing.”