Columnist expresses views on the saying “broke college student”

By: Amanda Siefken

Everyone has heard and probably used the saying, “I can’t, I’m a broke college kid” but the idea of the broke college kid, doesn’t necessarily seem to be a viable statement anymore. Coming from someone who cannot fathom spending a third of what the iPhone 6 costs on a phone, I do not understand why these things that we all already have, and now have to replace, are so important.

   I have a job working roughly 30 hours a week, as a senior in college, while studying for my LSAT; I am busy, and I love it. My idea of spending a lot of money however, might be spending $70 at Walmart for groceries that I will make last two to three weeks. Would I consider myself a broke college student? Not necessarily, however I have trained myself to only spend so much because I know that I will have to pay my college loans back at some point, and even before that, life can happen, and cost quite a bit of money.  

  While some people pay out of state tuition, and scholarships are different for everyone, I am not trying to focus on the actual money being spent, but more on the mentality behind it. I have a newish phone, I will admit to that. It is a 5c, and after having the iPhone 4 for over 3 years and it dying, was the only reason I got it replaced. Most people know this, but for those of you that don’t know, the ‘C’ next to the iPhone 5c, stands for cheap. It is a plastic version of the 5s with 98 percent of the same capabilities.

   I am in college, the last thing I need is a $800 plus phone. I know that some people have the money to buy whatever they want, and I have nothing against that. If you are complaining to me however about how you don’t have any money right now and you are simultaneously snapping your bestie on your new iPhone 6, I’m not going to feel bad for your current lack of money. I am sure some people think that I am a terrible person now, but honestly? We are in college, and always having the newest everything, in my opinion of course, shouldn’t be that important.

  Going from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6 just seems redundant. “Oh we have a bigger screen now, higher resolution and something called ‘dual domain pixels’ for wider viewing angles … I have to have it now.” Not only is this what all the phone companies want you to think, but they also try to cut you “deals” so consumers don’t feel like they are being tricked into buying the next big thing. 

 The newest ad I saw said something to the effect of, trade in your old iPhone and get the iPhone 6 for free… Please tell me that no one reading this fell for that, or is convinced that they are coming up on the best deal ever! All they do is restore your old phone, sell it again for way more than what you would have gotten it back for in the first place, you then have to pay the early upgrade fee, transfer fees, right handed fees, they nickel and dime you until it would have just been easier and cheaper to wait, and keep the phone you still have that works perfectly fine, but now just isn’t good enough, or fast enough. I will admit that there is not right handed fee, but the amount of fees that there really are still seem ridiculous, especially as a college student who already has to deal with the nickel and dining of the university.

  What is the trick to having nice things, but staying in a poor college kid’s budget? Using the brains that we are paying a lot to have filled with information, and deciding if this is something that we really need, and if so, what is the cheapest/easiest way to get it. I will fill you in on one of my many secrets … Are you ready? 

  The secret is Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club has a little phone station in it, and that is where I have been getting my phones for about eight plus years now. Why? Because I pay less than a dollar for them. When my EnV 1 broke way back when, I got the ‘new’ EnV 3 for 94 cents, then when that broke two and a half years later, I got the iPhone 4 for, yep, 94 cents, and three years after that, when it finally breathed its last breath, I replaced it with my current iPhone 5c, which I got for, you guessed it, 94 cents.

  We all claim to be broke college students, but if you are going to say it, you can’t have a phone that costs more than a full computer would. Find the deals, save some money and come to terms with the fact that we are only in college. When I look back on my years at SDSU I do not want to think about what phone I had, I want to be able to think about the memories I made when I wasn’t even on my phone. These devices were made simply for contacting other people, and while they can do a million and ten other things now too, that doesn’t mean we need to spend a million and ten dollars on them. 

  Embrace the broke college kid lifestyle, even for just a few years, because after we all graduate, knowing how to save the little money we have, will be a way bigger asset than knowing how to spend money with just your fingerprint ever could.


Amanda is a political science major. She can be reached at [email protected]