To Budget or Not to Budget

By Niyah Heaggans

During Homecoming season at Hampton University, with its week's worth of expensive parties and high-priced networking, budgeting poses a challenge for students.

The week kicks off with a carnival-style festival and ends with a football game. In between there is a fashion show, a step show, and off-campus parties. Of nine campus events, only four are free.

"My budget is tight. I'm a broke college student with no job," said Antionette Gerald, a freshman at Hampton University.

Click here for 10 Budgeting Tips

This is Gerald's first homecoming and while she appreciates her parents giving her $200 to use, that has to last the whole week. She plans to attend the football game, bonfire, concert, and one off-campus party.

That will cost $45 but she will also have transportation costs, such as Lyft or Uber to Norfolk and Portsmouth, where the parties are being held.

"I want to have a good time and live my best college life," Gerald said.

Some students actually save during the summer just for Homecoming. Ajeya Hughes saved $700 in addition to the $100 allowance her parents give her each month.

Hughes plans on attending several events on campus and off. She's spent $100 so far, which wasn't in her budget. In spite of under-budgeting, she's going to spend all she needs to have her best homecoming.

"I spent way more than I intended but, hey, it's college," Hughes said.

Despite going over budget, Hughes wants the full extent of "the authentic Hampton Homecoming experience," so the money is a minor hiccup in her plans.

Upperclassmen say they do a better job of budgeting based on their experience with previous homecomings. Junior Alexandra Howard has found ways to save money by setting priorities.

Howard lives off campus. Without a meal plan, her main priority is buying groceries and paying her rent. She plans to do her own hair and nails to save money. She will also carpool with friends.

Howard has more free time to attend events this year because she is no longer in the band. As a member of the Marching Force, her Homecoming didn't start until the Saturday after the football game.

During Howard's freshman and sophomore year, the band held practice every day from 4:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. By the time the band was released, most events were either almost over or band members were too tired to attend.

By not being in the band she has no restrictions on events, therefore, there's no restrictions on money.

"It being my first year not in the band, I want to get the full undergrad experience and enjoy the HU family," Howard said.

The men on campus typically spend less on clothing during Homecoming, and some say they don't care as much as the women on campus.

For women, Homecoming is about getting dressed to the nines and being seen. The narrative for the men is just having a good time.

"I want to make it my best one, but I'm not too pressed about it," said Reginald Baker.

Baker is a senior who has little free cash and is also saving for graduation. He doesn't have a job, but he makes money providing rides for freshman and playing piano at a local church, and his grandparents help him out here and there.

He plans on attending two parties and the football game but complained about the rise in event ticket prices since his freshman year.

"Tickets cost way too much this year. A party that would be $10 or $15 was $30 a month in advance," Baker said.

He saved money by doing his Homecoming shopping in the summer as well as going to thrift stores to score deals.

Homecoming season can be overwhelming for new students because college is a new experience and college homecomings are different from high school. Still, it's possible to have a good time on a budget, students say.

"I stayed way under my budget and just want to have a great time with my girls," said junior Ayanna Johnson

After reviewing past experiences, students say the key to homecoming budgeting is simply planning and partying within their means.

10 Budgeting Tips

1. Thrift shop for your new outfits
2. Buy your tickets when they raise the price once
3. Look for sales when online shopping
4. Mix and match clothes you already have
5. Choose two major parties to go to
6. Buy outfits you can wear more than once
7. Check group messages for ticket deals
8. Gather your friends and plan your week
9. Be reasonable
10. Party within your means

Economics theme of HU Black Family Conference

Hampton University's Black Family Conference has been a tradition since the spring of 1981.

This year's theme is "From Income to Wealth: Economic Development in the African American Community." Shawn Ricks, a graduate of Hampton University's business program, was the speaker of Wednesday night's event. She is senior adviser for minority outreach in the Black Family Conference, which consists of informational sessions and panel discussions. The first BFC was held spring of 1981 when President William R. Harvey was inaugurated into Hampton University.

This year the School of Business welcomed HU alumna Shawn Ricks as the opening speaker. Ricks is the acting director of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This year's theme is, "From Income to Wealth: Economic Development in the African American Community." The BFC is to inform and help people recognize and overcome issues that are current in our economy. Problems will be addressed and guest speakers will recommend solutions.

Ricks' stated that our economy should ensure long-term sustainable growth more than ever by the year 2014. There are currently 95 percent of the world's consumers are outside of the United States, reported the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Even though everything is getting better there are still issues to be focused on such as, needing more people for the trade policy field, more market competing, and educational services.

Over the next few days the Black Family Conference will come up with solutions to these issues so we can start improvements within the black community and our country. – Kacy Cummings

The 35th annual Conference on the Black Family kicked off Wednesday night in Ogden Hall. This year's conference is hosted by the school of business and the theme is "From Income to Wealth: Economic Development in the African American Community."

The opening ceremony started with an invocation by Rev. Dr. Travell Travis followed with a welcoming by the School of Business Dean, Sid Howard Credle. According to a New Journal and Guide account, Credle said research suggests that black families should spend less and save and invest more.

After a performance of "Wade in the Water" by the Hampton University Choir, President William R. Harvey spoke on the importance of "ensuring the university's relevance in changing society" before introducing Keynote Speaker Shawn Ricks. Ricks, a 1991 Hampton School of Business graduate, is a special adviser for minority outreach as well as an international trade administrator. Ricks spoke about her experiences as a Hamptonian and the importance of getting more minorities involved in foreign policy and international trade.

After Rick's speech, the Smith family was honored by Harvey for their outstanding involvement in the black community. The ceremony concluded with Harvey reminding the community to make sure "we do not become a statistic" and that in order to be great, you should serve others. – Simone Taylor

The writers are students at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.