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Studying in the US: How much
spending money should students budget for?
Many colleges and universities in the United States have guidelines for what
they consider reasonable budgets for personal spending.
Senem Bakar is the assistant director of International Student Services at
American University in Washington, D.C. She suggests that students budget at
least one thousand three hundred dollars for a nine-month school year. This
will help pay for things like transportation, telephone bills, supplies and
Paul Butler is the financial manager in the Office of International Services at
Indiana University Bloomington. He says the advice there is to have at least
two thousand four hundred dollars for twelve months in the United States.
Indiana and many other schools also offer advice on ways to manage spending and
save money. For example, for entertainment, look for free concerts or museums.
Want to go to a movie? Prices are usually lower in the daytime than at night.
American University advises students to check newspaper advertisements for
sales and to use money-saving coupons. If a product is "on sale,"
that means it is being offered for a limited time at a reduced price.
Bakar says students learn that in the United States you can find almost
everything on sale somewhere.
Also, many banks offer special services for students, like free checking
accounts, including a debit card. Debit cards can be used almost anywhere
credit cards are accepted.
Millions of Americans now use a debit card or credit card, instead of paper
money or checks, to make most of their purchases.
With a credit card, you are borrowing money every time you use it. Debit cards
are different. They are linked directly to a checking account so you are paying
with your own money.
Debit cards, also known as check cards, do not have interest charges. But users
are charged if they try to spend more than the amount available in their
account. These fees can be costly even if you overspend by just a few cents.