Living in the poor house while still in the dorms

Feeling stressed out about all that empty space in your wallet? You’re not alone.

According to a Key Bank nationwide survey of 1,000 college upperclassmen, over 90 percent of university students feel stressed about their finances.

The survey also revealed several other parent-worrying statistics, such as the fact that 40 percent of college students choose to occasionally avoid eating to make ends meet.

To many students, these figures will come as no great surprise. Perhaps becoming the clichéd “poor college student” is unavoidable thanks to the rising cost of tuition, monumental book prices and everyday expenses.

Not so, said Key Bank branch manager Darlene Kohring.

“Every college student’s different,” she said. “But every college student needs to spend some time planning what to do with their money. It’s not a free-for-all, and we’re trying to help college students understand that.”

The surveyed upperclassmen reported their biggest mistakes were eating out too often (22.3 percent), shelling out too much money for entertainment (18.6 percent) and using their credit card too much (13.7 percent).

Kohring added one more to the list: not keeping a watchful eye on financial transactions.

“Students need to be able to budget their money,” she said. “Whether you have a job or not, everyone has a budget, and it’s figuring out how to manage that budget that’s important.”

It’s a lesson junior Terrah Rouse has taken to heart.

Not only does Rouse create a budget, but she also paid her rent through the next semester.

“I have a written list of what I’m going to need until December, right down to toilet paper,” she said.

Rouse’s financial efficiency might have stemmed from one of the several economics classes she has taken, a route Kohring also recommended.

“My one professor told me it’s better to budget your finances, that important things come first and stupid things come later,” Rouse remembered.

This advice has permeated Rouse’s life so heavily that she doesn’t feel the crunch of conserving cash, even though she recently lost her job at

Myle’s Pizza.

“If I thought about it all the time it would probably stress me out,” she said.

While having a job might not be appropriate for all college students, it certainly helps junior Ryan Glass get by.

“I go from paycheck to paycheck,” he said. “I’ve always made enough money to get through, so it’s not really a problem for me.”

But even a relatively high-paying job at Verizon Wireless doesn’t offer Glass complete relief from common financial pitfalls like electronics, clothes, a significant other and online poker.

“When it’s getting towards payday I get pretty stressed out,” he admitted, adding that budgeting might not be his most admirable quality.

And while creating a budget might be priority No.1 to Kohring, she also advised seeking alternative activities to avoid bankruptcy.

“I know BGSU in particular has lots of on-campus movies and intramural sports,” she said. “Spending time with friends doesn’t necessarily require money either. You just have to know to use what you have.”