Broke!: A College Student’s Guide to Getting By On Less
May 1, 2008, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Books, College, Money Basics

Written by Trent Anderson and Seppy Basili, two contributors for various Kaplan guides, Broke!: A College Student’s Guide to Getting By On Less dishes out some common sense approaches to managing your finances in college. The bulk of the book is advice real college students have on topics that affect just about every coed. Credit cards, budgeting, food, traveling, and entertainment are just a sampling of what is covered. I have mixed feelings about Broke!, but my overall impression is a positive one.

But first, let me tackle the negatives:

Because the majority of the text is quotes from college students, you get a mixed bag of advice, some of which contradicts itself. If I were a financially confused college student, this approach would cause me more confusion, not clear up my worries.

The book is quite short and only offers a few quick tips on each topic before moving on to the next. While some things can be summed up quickly, I feel that other points should have been fleshed out more in order to really seem plausible for a college student. For example, when discussing budgets, Anderson and Basili just scratch the surface and kind of throw up their hands when it comes to the details. What if a college student doesn’t have any money left over after he draws up a budget? How does he adjust his budget to make it work? “Well, kid, just figure it out,” seems to be their answer. If they’re taking such a flippant approach to explaining budgets, how do they expect their readers to take budgeting seriously?

And now the positives:

The quotes from college students keep the book light and readable. You get the sense that you’re not the only one going through a money crunch and that you can survive because others have survived before you. That in itself can alleviate some of your worries. Anderson and Basili have advice of their own mixed in, adding some authority to the book, as well as lists of helpful websites at the end of each chapter.

All the topics covered are relevant to college students and are presented in such a way that keeps your attention without taking up all of your time. College students are busy people and the last thing they want to do is spend a nice chunk of their time reading a personal finance book instead of doing their homework or partying. Even though the advice that is given isn’t life altering, it will do in a pinch and offers a helpful nudge in the right direction for students.

Broke! was a bit fluffy for me, but I can still see it’s merit for Anderson and Basili’s target audience. I would recommend this book to college students who don’t have much experience managing their money and haven’t read up on personal finance already. If you’ve previously read PF books and have a good handle on your money (not to mention if you’re post-college), I would choose a book that’s more detailed about specific areas of money management.


2 Comments so far
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My son lives at home and attends college. At the beginning of the semester he works for the college bookstore. They give him a discount on books and what he earns pays for the rest of his texts. he also has another part time job on campus that pays for gas and other expenses. A friends son negotiated a contract with his part time employer to pay for his college if he works for them all through college and two years upon completion of his degree. Research the employers in the field you are interested in. See if they offer educational benefits , and apply for an entry level job. You do not have to go into debt to get an education !!! Get a full time job at the college you want to attend, you can often then attend for the cost of books !

Comment by kelly

Very good tips, Kelly! Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Sarah

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