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Work and School: Will Clean for Food

How some ASU students get by with no money

 by Mani O'Brien
 published on Thursday, November 3, 2005


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Patrick Lenderman hasn't paid for his own food in two months. Instead, his roommates feed him under an agreement they made at the beginning of the fall semester. Lenderman cleans their house, and his roommates understand that whatever is in the refrigerator is up for grabs.

Lenderman, a business marketing sophomore, says his mom stopped sending him money this semester because he's not taking classes.

"I realized a couple days after I got here that I was gonna get hungry," he says.

So far, the deal with his roommates has kept his stomach full. They also pay for his food if they eat out, he says.

"If I'm lucky enough, sometimes I'll catch them on their way to McDonald's or something," he says.

Lenderman, who is the "No More Friday Nights" president of the "Work on Weekends Cause We're Poor" group on Facebook.com, also has a part-time job. He works from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday nights at the Safety Escort Services department on campus, but $7.50 an hour has not proved enough for Lenderman to survive without turning to other means.

Lenderman and his roommates also throw parties as fundraisers. Lenderman says the money they raise through admission goes to pay the rent. For his birthday party, they raised more than $800 by charging a cover fee, he says.

Lenderman says he has learned to spend his money only on things he really needs.

"You can easily drop $20 on going to the movies, but that's $20 that should probably go toward your electric bill," he says.

While Lenderman has been fortunate in his creative money-stretching schemes, Adam Eljof, a communications freshman, practices ways of saving cash that don't involve groveling. He works at Bank of America as a senior teller and suggests many steps to pinching those pennies.

Eljof says students should set up checking and savings accounts. He adds it's also important to set a savings goal so you don't keep taking money out of your account.

In addition, Eljof suggests keeping a piggy bank. He keeps a giant aluminum Coke can in his room for all of his loose change.

"Every three or four months I actually count it out, it ends up being $80 or something," he says.

Bank of America also started a "Keep the Change" program where the bank saves the change for you, he says. Every time you use your debit card, the bank rounds the total up to the next dollar and send the rest into your savings account, he says.

Finally, Eljof suggests pulling out just as much cash as you need instead of using your debit card.

"I try to figure out how much money I want to spend, and then figure out how much I have left over," he says. "If you use your debit card all the time and you don't have the money, chances are, you'll overdraw your account."

David Pheanis, an emeritus associate professor in the computer science and engineering department, is an expert in attaining personal wealth. In February he hosted a seminar entitled "How to become a Multi-Millionaire" at ASU. Pheanis has three steps that can help students save money.

1) Keep a log of your expenditures, no matter how small. If you write down every item that you buy and the price, especially for soft drinks or candy, you will soon stop buying things that you don't need, Pheanis says.

2) Look for free or inexpensive entertainment. Pheanis suggests hiking or backpacking or going to an ASU sporting event to save money.

3) Never carry a balance on a credit card.

"If you can't manage to pay off your credit card bill in full each month, you need to stop using a credit card entirely," Pheanis says.

Reach the reporter at mani.obrien@asu.edu.



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