As the summer months approach, freedom shines as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Or does it?
“Working during the summer stresses me out. I try to get as many hours as possible and I hardly spend at all during the summer – I wait ‘til the fall,” KSC sophomore Samantha Alexander said.
Alexander is just one example of the many college students who spend their summers working and saving.
In a recent informal survey of 38 Keene State College students, we asked students what they do with the money they make during the summer.
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58 percent of students said they use their money for spending. 24 percent said they save their money for tuition and books, and 18 percent of students said they save for housing.
KSC assistant director in the office of financial aid Amanda Foskett said the choice to work and save money is individualized to each student.
Foskett said every student makes financial decisions based on their own unique circumstances.
“Everyone’s in a different position, has a different background, and has a different set of priorities,” Foskett said.
She continued, “As a result, people have different goals for their summer.”
The assistant director advised students who rely heavily on federal loans to pay for school to be conscious of interest and pay attention to what they spend their money on.
She explained students should consider the cost of a purchase plus the interest that lingers with their unpaid loans.
“A 20 dollar purchase here and there adds up – think about it from an interest perspective,” Foskett said.
KSC senior Chris Baumgartner, commutes from Swanzey, N.H. and works year-round at Home Depot.
The senior said he cannot afford to save – he focuses on school and living costs.
“I have no room for savings. I keep a car and a motorcycle on the road and it all comes out of one account,” Baumgartner said.
Foskett suggested students create a system for saving their money.
She said, “Saving is always easier when you don’t see it first. I would encourage students, if there’s an option to save without seeing the money to take that option.”
For example, if the employer offers direct deposit, ask that a certain amount be put in savings as well.
Foskett also said to look at the total amount you’ll make in the summer months.
Then, deduct the cost of transportation to and from work.
Finally, look at what you have left and figure out what you want to spend and save.
KSC freshman Molly Helmes works as a camp counselor and lifeguard at home in Connecticut.
Helmes said she works because she enjoys it and she needs to save money.
“I have to make money. I spend and save for the future,” she said. Helmes explained she splits her income–half for spending and half for saving.
Foskett reminded students to think about the necessities. She said to ask yourself what you really need.
Foskett explained students have to change their mindset while they’re in college.
“What can you live without for four years, so when you graduate you don’t live like a college student for the next ten years,” Foskett said. “There’s a reason people joke about living like a college student.”
Foskett also added that during the summer, students are tempted to make purchases that aren’t a necessity.
“It’s easier to rationalize spending when you have work to do,” she stated. “I can sympathize, it’s more challenging without the distractions.”
Sophomore Katie Brown and senior Jen Fishman both live off-campus in Keene over the summer and work at Margarita’s.
Brown said she works to pay for school and her rent.
Fishman echoed Brown and said she works to afford living expenses.
Brown created a system for saving that she sticks to in order to keep herself financially stable.
“I make tips and those go to rent; what I don’t use for rent goes towards school,” Brown said. “My paycheck goes to my checking for spending.”
Fishman said 15 percent of what she makes goes to her own spending.
“It’s stressful with all of the different bills that come with living off campus,” Fishman said she works five to six days a week year-round.
Of course we all want to enjoy the warm weather with our friends, but the goal is to not cringe when checking our bank accounts come fall.
Kimberly Borkowski can be contacted at
Julie Conlon can be contacted at