Budgeting, saving and finding the right college job

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Once you’ve settled into your house in East Lansing, bought all the household items and school supplies at Target, a realization might come to mind – all of college is pretty expensive, and you may have to -be find a job.

Navigating the new world of budgeting, bills, and college jobs can be daunting. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to find a job that’s a perfect fit for you within the community.

Psychology junior Hafsa Khan started working at Foster’s Coffee Co. when she started dating MSU, shortly after the site opened.

“I met a ton of students,” Khan said. “I met people who were in my classes and stuff and I met people from the community and they became regulars, so it made me feel pretty connected to the East Lansing community.”

Khan said that while there are many cafes in the East Lansing area, working at Foster’s offers a unique experience.

“It’s such a united environment, like everyone you work with becomes your absolute best friend,” Khan said. “Working is never unpleasant as you can do the dishes for about three hours, but it’s never boring. You can play your music in the back. You have fun messing around, but like you’re still doing work.

Khan said Foster was the perfect job for a college freshman because she could easily adjust to her new schedule.

“At first it was a challenge just because I was learning how to manage my time – that’s what first year is,” Khan said. “They really sit down with you before school starts or whenever you start work and they’re like, ‘Okay, what’s your school schedule? Is that doable for you? Is that okay? for your sanity? How much can you work?’ They really help you.

Khan said the free coffee was also a plus, making it the perfect job for “coffee addicts” like her.

Education senior Paige Drob was able to find students with similar interests while working as a DJ training director at Impact 89FM, MSU’s student radio station.

“I would definitely recommend it because it’s such a cool community of people,” Drob said. “It’s an almost entirely student-run radio station, so everyone’s pretty lenient with the schedules when it comes to school. You should never miss a class or not study for your exam because you have to go to something.

If you love music, Drob said, Impact 89FM is a great place to work and learn from others around you.

Drob also worked as an undergraduate learning assistant for a physics course. She marked assignments, ran a homework help room, and facilitated small group discussions in class. Best of all, his work schedule never interfered with his schoolwork.

“What I really liked was that the schedule was really consistent,” Drob said. “It’s a very specific time when you do your thing every week.”

Besides working through school, Drob has a tip for students who want to try and save money: Take advantage of your meal plan.

“Eat in the dining room and use your combo trades as much as possible,” Drob said. “It can be very tempting to DoorDash or go for a walk on the Grand River and order food, but when you’re paying for a meal plan, it really isn’t worth it.”

MSU Federal Credit Union, or MSUFCU, offers many resources for students looking to learn how to budget, save, and practice financial literacy. MSUFCU Marketing Director Diedre Davis said one of the most important things they emphasize is the habit of “paying yourself first.”

“If you pay yourself first, you’re much more likely to save effectively for the future,” Davis said. “Whether it’s $1 each time or $100 each time the money comes in, if you pay yourself first, it’s out of sight, out of mind. If you can automate this process, again, that makes it much more efficient and helps ensure that you have money saved for that rainy day in the future.

MSUFCU also hosts “Financial 4.0» training sessions on campus and through webinars. Each session lasts 30 to 45 minutes and each covers a financial education topic.

“These topics are things like budgeting, investing basics, housing considerations, compensation and benefits review,” Davis said. “Students will learn to identify what you’re going to spend money on, what can be a motivation to spend, how you can learn to spend with intention.”

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David said each course helps students understand how to achieve their short-term and long-term financial goals.

Students can learn more about MSUFCU resources on their website.

This story is part of our print issue of Welcome Week 2022. Read full issue here.

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