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parents of college students not living at home

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authenticnow posted 8/25/2013 14:57 PM

If your student lives off campus, how do you handle groceries? Do you pay for them? How is it budgeted, etc.?

DD pays for part of her college costs and we help her with the rest. This is her first year living off campus and we got her a small food plan for when she has classes all day and we're trying to figure out who pays for what as far as her groceries, etc.

She applied for a part time job where, if she gets it she will make about $50/week. She also applied for a paid internship but it's pretty competitive so I'm not sure if she'll get that.

She has some money in the bank that she uses for clothing and other things she needs/wants (and we help her with that when we can so she doesn't drain it completely).

Just not sure how to navigate this and would like some feedback on how others handle it.

MyTurnATL posted 8/25/2013 15:26 PM

When DS decided to move off campus, x and I told him we would pay as much as we were paying for dorm/food plan on campus (we split it 50/50) and he would have to make that work. DS has had no trouble with that for 3 years.

authenticnow posted 8/25/2013 15:34 PM


That sounds about right with what we are paying for the modified meal plan and the amount we plan to give her for groceries.

hexed posted 8/25/2013 16:05 PM

DS lives at home but since I'm home so little there isn't much in the way of groceries around here a lot of time.

He has a part time job to pay for his incidentals. I give him a set amount each month. Between his job and the amount I give him he has to cover his food, car ins, gas, clothes, misc stuff.

His tuition is relatively inexpensive. That is split up between several generous family members and me. He got a scholarship that covered books.

LosferWords posted 8/25/2013 16:25 PM


When my coworker's son went out of state for college he cosigned on a credit card with him. The credit card had a $500 limit. It helped him out several times when he was in a pinch for books, food, clothing, and at one point in time toilet paper.

Just an idea I thought I'd throw out there. Good luck.

Kajem posted 8/25/2013 17:53 PM

I am fortunate that my kids cover their own expenses. DD3 found that the expense of food was about the same price as the food plan.

One of her roommates parents gave their DD a prepaid credit/debit card. They would put $500 month on it. She had to pay food, incidentals, gas, and insurance with that.

If she has a roommate they can split food costs.



Kajem posted 8/25/2013 17:55 PM

My kids have all gotten jobs working in the food industry. You eat for free on your shift and sometimes at a discount other times .

purplejacket4 posted 8/25/2013 17:57 PM

My mom paid for my GROCERIES with the same amount of money my meal plan was. If I wanted to go out to eat I had to pay for that myself.

copout posted 8/25/2013 19:04 PM

I pay my son's tuition,food,rent and utilities.
School to me is his job.

Amazonia posted 8/25/2013 20:02 PM

Wow, you all are such generous parents! I hope your kids appreciate you.

When I was in undergrad, my parents told me to get a job. My student loans covered a meal plan, so I wouldn't starve either way, but I did get a job and worked about 20 hours a week while carrying a full course load and still graduated magna cum laude in four years flat. It IS possible to support yourself and still do well in school.

authenticnow posted 8/25/2013 20:24 PM

I paid for everything when I was in school, including tuition. It was a lot of pressure. We are able to help our daughter and I want to do that for her, as long as she keeps up her grades (which she does ). We also want to teach her that she has to work for what is given to her, so we try to find the balance.

Your responses really helped and it was interesting to read the different approaches, so thanks!

philly172 posted 8/26/2013 12:39 PM

One thing we did for DS1 was up his meal plan.. but we also made the agreement last year that as long as he kept up his grades & didn't spend foolishly, I would sell stuff on his Ebay account & allow it to stay in his pay pal for him to use during school ... it worked out great last year so hopefully it continues for this year. He uses that $$ for the occasional meals he likes to make (dorm parties) & for the food essentials ( milk, snacks etc)

FWIW, DS did work on getting me items for Ebay all Summer & has turned into quite the American picker...

DS2 lives at home & goes to the community college at the end of my street ( literally) but he probably costs me more in food than DS1

jjsr posted 8/26/2013 16:52 PM

My son is an RA and his room and board are free. He did that last year, this year and hopefully next year. It takes off over $8000 a year that it costs to go to college

ajsmom posted 8/26/2013 17:16 PM

I pay my son's tuition,food,rent and utilities.
School to me is his job.


Their job was getting in.

Mine/ours was paying for it.


GabyBaby posted 8/26/2013 17:21 PM

I pay my son's tuition,food,rent and utilities.
School to me is his job.
Ditto this.
With the massive amount of student loan debt I've accumulated in getting my education, I do not want my kids starting off under that same mountain.

XWH and I split DD's (and in another year DS's) costs that are not covered by her scholarships/grants. This is actually an area that we both agreed on from day one and I'm happy that he's keeping his end of the bargain.

IRN2006 posted 8/26/2013 21:54 PM

I used savings for tuition. They helped with living expenses. I presented my parents with a fairly detailed budget for the year. I figured if they were going to give me that kind of money, I should show them how I was intending to spend it.

I did not have a food plan. I brown bagged lunch. Sandwich, apple, carrots. I found that to be much cheaper than a lunch in a school cafeteria.

I don't remember exactly how much I spent in groceries-but I always asked my parents for under 5K for the year. That included rent, phone, cable ( We had extended basic and we each paid $6. I thought I was living large lol), energy, food, and a few wants.

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