The Cost Of Being Social In College

By: Lizzie Letsou

We all know college is expensive. (Like, really expensive). From tuition to textbooks to transportation, the price of getting an education is pretty steep. But, have you ever thought about how expensive it is to be social in college? If not, then you’ve come to the right place!

I’m going to walk you through a breakdown of all the social costs of being a college student. And I’m going to show you how can help you spread your wings without breaking the bank. 

The Cost of Greek Life: $3,000/semester

Okay, I know that figure looks insane. But here’s the thing: Greek life is super pricey. In fact, membership fees alone can cost anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars. Crazy, right???

Now, I’m not discouraging you from joining a fraternity or sorority if that’s what you really want to do. After all, your social life in college is arguably as important as your academic one, so do what makes you happy! (You can weigh the pros and cons of joining a sorority or fraternity here.)

However, I am going to give you a rundown of all the greek life-related costs just so you know what you’re getting yourself into. That way, you won’t feel blindsided by these fees when they come up!

Image of a faux streaming audio player with money falling in the background. The text reads Marc Russell "In order to pay for school, at a certain point I was cutting hair, refereeing, and donating plasma."

Application fees: Remember when you had to pay a fee just to apply to college? Well, greek life applications work in a similar way. Obviously, the price depends on the particular institution and Greek organization, but application fees typically range from $50 to $100. 

Membership fees: In addition to the application fee, you’ll also have to pay a membership fee. Like I said earlier, these fees are pretty pricey. In fact, a student at the University of North Carolina recently revealed that new members pay between $575 and $2,500 in fees during their first semester in a frat/sorority.’s Auto-Save is FDIC insured and helps you plan ahead.

Social events: The cost of attending social functions is not included in the membership dues/fees. And, as a member of Greek life, you can’t exactly opt out of participating in social events (in fact, you may even be the one hosting). Social events can create amazing networking opportunities for students; however, this comes at a cost. For instance, social events may require you to buy your own special attire, costumes, gifts, etc. And, over the course of a semester, these extra costs can really add up and become overwhelming. 

Rule-breaking: You know how if you get caught driving without a license you may have to pay a fine? Well…if you get caught breaking your fraternity/sorority’s rules, you could have to pay a fee of upwards $100. If this sounds a little insane to you, you’re not wrong; but, remember that Greek life isn’t just about partying and socializing, and its members are expected to take their responsibilities seriously. 

Phew. That was a lot! Now that I’ve laid out all the costs of being in Greek life, I’m gonna tell you how can help. 

Obviously, downloading won’t make all these costs disappear. Buttttt downloading the app can help you manage your finances better so that you’re not thrown off course by a few hefty dues. 

The nice thing about sororities and fraternities is that you can anticipate most of the annual costs.

One feature you’ll definitely want to take advantage of is the “Auto-Saves” tool. This tool basically does what you’d expect it to do. It helps you automatically save money. This habit of saving will really come in handy when you graduate.

Dining costs in college: $2,250/semester

Unfortunately, Greek life isn’t the only social costs you’ll have to pay up in college: we all need to eat. And, unlike Greek life, dining is an essential purchase. However, you can still be smart about how much and what you spend your money on.

The price listed above ($2,250/semester) is the approximate price of a three-meal-a-day dining contract for one semester at most colleges and universities. We can consider this the “flat rate” for college dining expenses. Now, of course, there are going to be additional costs for dining, since you’ll likely want to go out to a restaurant or grab coffee with friends from time to time. 

Let’s break down how those costs can add up:

Restaurants: I love eating at fancy restaurants every once in a while. But…not all the time! Dining out frequently could be costing you over $2,000 annually. Even though it’s tempting to simply order takeout instead of cooking or going grocery shopping, it’s important to be mindful of how much you spend on fine dining each semester. Maybe minimize your dining excursions to once a week instead of twice. Or once a month instead of twice. Or try to allocate a fixed amount of money to spend on eating out (and don’t overspend). Little changes like that can add up to make a huge difference. 

Coffee: Listen, anyone who knows me knows I’m a caffeine addict. But I don’t want my morning Starbucks to be the reason I’m left without pocket change. According to an article in The Motley Fool, the average American spends over $1,000 a year on coffee. (To be honest, I think my number might be even higher.) So…maybe it’s time to cut back. One easy way to cut back on costs is to take advantage of student discounts. Check to see if your local coffee shop offers a discount for students at your university. 

Eating in and checking for local discounts will definitely help minimize your dining costs at college. But if you want to really stay on top of your finances this semester, be sure to check out’s transaction and budget tracking tool. 

With this feature, you’ll be able to track all your past transactions as well as stay on top of budgeting. And, budgeting is one of the easiest ways to organize your finances. So what are you waiting for? Download today, and boost your financial health. 

Extracurricular costs in college: $300/semester

Okay now we’re getting into the fun stuff: extracurriculars!

Or maybe…not so fun? Even though it’s super important to be involved on your college campus, extracurriculars aren’t exactly cheap. 

In fact, they can actually cost you over $700 yearly and over $300 per semester. 

Now, why is that exactly? There’s a couple explanations as to why extracurriculars are so costly. Obviously, this all depends on the type of club or activity you want to get involved in. These costs also depend on how much your school allocates to funding certain extracurricular programs.

For example, a lot of schools allocate the majority of their financial resources towards academics. Which is great! But it means that students are left to their own devices when it comes to clubs and sports. 

Speaking of sports, sports-related activities tend to come along with some pretty hefty fines. Sports expenses include team enrollment fees, training camp fees, equipment, uniform costs, and travel fees. 

Once again, can’t exactly make playing a sport inexpensive. We also can’t force your school to pay the fees that come along with joining certain sports or clubs. Sorry! If we could, we would. (Pinky promise.)

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But…we can offer you some seriously great exclusive tips on handling your finances (and your extracurricular activities) in college. See, with you have the opportunity to chat with a money coach (AKA your new financial BFF). 

You can ask questions about (or any financial concerns you may have) and share feedback about the app. We love getting feedback! (Seriously, it helps us help you.)

Entertainment in College: $300/semester

I love my college but it can get a little dull sometimes. (Especially if you go to school in the middle of nowhere like I do!)

So, we, as college students, have to look for ways to entertain ourselves throughout the school year. Understandable! But let’s make sure we don’t break the bank in doing so.

I enjoy movies and concerts as much as the next bored college student, but I really try not to go overboard on entertainment splurging. Because it can add up and add up to quite a lot.

Here’s a quick breakdown of entertainment prices for you:

Movies: Going to the movies isn’t cheap. From tickets to popcorn to slushies, you can end up paying a pretty penny just to see the next Conjuring installment. In fact, many Americans will spend over $30 on the movies each month. But what’s the alternative? Okay, hear me out: there’s a reason streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are so popular. Instead of spending a huge amount of money just to see one movie per month, you can spend a small amount of money (around $9 for Netflix) to see unlimited movies per month. Sounds like a pretty good idea, right?

Concerts: The average cost of going to a concert in the US is around $100. Obviously, an alternative to seeing an artist live is to go on YouTube and search for a recording of the event. But, I’ll admit that just doesn’t sound as cool. So, when deciding whether or not to cut down on entertainment expenses, you’ll need to consider what you really want/need to be happy tries to foster holistic financial wellness, meaning we’re not simply telling you to be stingy. We want you to be mindful of your transactions and reflect on how you’re spending your money. We want to inspire you to change your money habits for the better.

One way we do this is by asking you to report your Money Mindset. As soon as you go into the app, you should see something pop up asking you to report how you’ve been feeling financially. Are you feeling stressed about student loans? Happy because you got paid today? We want to know it all! Letting us know how you feel will help us better understand and support you on your financial journey.

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Vacation: $300/semester

Spring break is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s a nice time to just relax and not worry about assignments or grades or group projects. But what’s the cost of relaxing during spring break?

According to a recent article in College Covered, spring break can cause some unforeseen money troubles for college students. One student, Colleen Barrett, reported spending $200 over budget in order to go on a spring break trip. She even had to take money out of her savings account in order to finance the vacation. 

Listen, I’m not shaming her or any college student who chooses to spend money on spring break. If that’s what you want to do, then by all means go for it! But it’s important to educate yourself beforehand to make sure you’re spending your money wisely and cutting corners when possible. After all, college comes with a bunch of other expenses too (but you probably know that by now). 

Thankfully,’s here to help. We break down a ton of smart ways to save money on travel. But we also want to encourage you to become more financially literate so that you can become more financially empowered. At, we recognize that a lot of financial mistakes stem from a lack of understanding what makes a good money habit ordecision. And we also recognize that finance is a deeply personal endeavor. Someone’s behavior and personality can and will affect the way they spend their money. 

We aim to use insights from behavioral economics and psychology to help you better understand financial wellness. And maybe even understand spring break budgeting too!

Money Mates: $0/semester

Okay, I’ve been blabbing for a while now, but I just want to mention one other great thing about Money Mates. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Money Mates is’s newly-relaunched college ambassador program. Composed of financially empowered, money motivated individuals and students, our team of ambassadors are excited to improve their financial health and help spread the word about financial wellness. 

In return for posting about financial well-being and referring friends to, Money Mates receive access to: a Money Mindset subscription (including financial educational resources), networking opportunities, and exclusive merch. It’s also a great way to build up resume experience, meet new people, and learn more about developing better financial habits. 

So, don’t sleep on this opportunitysign up and join the Money Mates today for more great tips on managing your money in college from!

Related Reads:

Pros and Cons of Greek Life: Joining a Sorority or Fraternity

Travel Saving Tips and Tricks

Money Habits: College Edition

Cost of Joining a Frat


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