Well we are about three fourths of the way through our first year here at UNC Charlotte and one topic we haven’t talked about is one of the most important, money. It’s hard to come by and once we have it it’s even harder to hold on to.

Most of us are constantly broke and are not funded by our parents.  So when we do have money, we don’t know good ways to spend it or how we should save it and how can we get it?

Meal plans on campus almost always consist of some form of declining balance (DB.) DB is useable at every food establishment here on campus and when we want to escape RDH or Crown Commons we venture into Salsaritas, Chic-Fil-A or Mama Leone’s for a bite to eat.

If you eat like most teenagers eating out is not cheap and adds up very quickly.  I thought during SOAR we were told DB is endless and after one angry confrontation in the Auxiliary office, I was very quickly corrected and shamed.

How should we budget the money we have? Keeping a balance register book (available at any banking establishment) seems to be the easiest and most effective way to keep track of what is spent and what is left.

If you keep a regular balance marking the only times you allow yourself a snack from Outtakes then you can easily control what you spend to make sure you can last throughout the semester without pizza every day for two meals a day.

When you cut down on your snacking it is going to save you a lot of money. Before you start buying daily waters buy one nice water bottle and fill it up via one of the nifty water fountains around campus that keeps track of how many plastic bottles you save each time you refill.

If you are addicted to coffee, buy your own coffee pot and start brewing it in your room. Coffee, sugar and cream are not very expensive and will save tons in the long run.

Of course a change in diet is always nice but sometimes you have to just buckle down and eat whatever is being served. I eat at Crown Commons everyday and it is nowhere near as bad as people make it out.

When it comes to money it is up to you to decide how much you spend and what you spend it on but each time the cashier runs your 49er card through the machine several times to make it read, remind yourself that there may be some time in the future when you want a treat and you are going to get to the cash register with forty-five cents looking like a fool. Spend smart and try applying for an on or off campus job for some cash flow.