Adam’s Apple #3: Managing money in college


Adam Jutt ’25 is a math and economics major from Cincinnati, Ohio who writes articles sometimes. Contact him at

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

A bunch of physicists once wrote a book called “One Hundred Authors Against Einstein,” which comprised short essays arguing against the theory of relativity. Einstein’s response upon hearing about this book was, supposedly, something to the effect of:

“Why 100? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

That apocryphal story, like many apocryphal stories, comes with a clear message: quality is more important than quantity. It is better to have one good point, idea or suggestion than a slew of bad ones. 

Wrong! I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Einstein here. Quantity is way more important. Who do you think would win in a soccer match between a team of eleven pretty bad soccer players and a team of JUST legendary physicist Albert Einstein? No offense Al, but I don’t like your odds.

Actually, now that I think about it, I disagree with Einstein about a LOT. If the theory of relativity were true, would ONE HUNDRED other physicists have disagreed with him? I didn’t even know there were that many other physicists out there — that’s a ton! Statistically, about fifty of those other physicists were probably wrong to disagree with him, but that means around half of them were right! Even if ninety-nine of them were wrong, one was still correct that Einstein was misguided. 

If I ever say something and one-hundred people proceed to co-author a book explaining that I am off base, I will have the intellectual humility to admit that. Not Einstein. So full of himself. Always more focused on saying something witty than on doing real science like Hans Israel or Erich Ruckhaber. 

Anyway, today I’ll be providing a record-setting eight pieces of advice to our question-submitter of the week, who asks:

How should I manage my money while in college?

Great question! Let’s dive in.

  1. Join the new Subway MVP Rewards Program to earn points on every order. This one’s really important. I think a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that the Subway MVP Rewards Program only allows members to earn points on some orders, but that simply isn’t true.
  2. Get your Flat Hat advice columns sponsored by a major sandwich chain. That might seem implausible, but it’s crazy how much money some of these institutions have to burn. I guess it makes sense when you consider that some of them have over 37,000 locations across more than 100 different countries.
  3. Minimize eating out at expensive sub restaurants like Jersey Mike’s, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Jimmy John’s. Restaurants like these are super expensive, and the ingredients are definitely not fresh enough to merit the prices.
  4. Gas is expensive! Try to avoid long drives, especially unnecessarily long drives. As a random example, if you are considering driving to Jersey Mike’s for dinner, located 3.2 miles from campus, you should instead head to the Subway at 1430 Richmond Road, which is a mere 1.3 miles away! That’s almost two miles saved, which — at $4 a gallon for gas — adds up to $8; $16 if you consider getting there and back!
  5. Budget! Budget! Budget! Believe me, I know that there’s nothing sexy about a budget. It is never any fun to make one, and sticking to it sometimes requires missing out on fun things. However, it’s important. Without one, there’s a good chance you’ll spend an unsustainable amount of money on things you don’t need. Or, on the flip side, maybe after laying out your finances and budgeting, you’ll realize that you have more money to spend than you thought! Here is a simple budget template you can use to get started, which assumes you have $1000 to spend per month, after accounting for tuition, meal plan and rent: Groceries – $150, Car Expenses – $250, School Supplies – $50, Subway – $300, Clothing/Shopping – $100, Entertainment – $50, Other – $100
  6. A lot of times, you can get paid for participating in studies on campus. Sometimes these studies require a lot of active work, such as those being done for psychology or behavioral economics research, but if you don’t have the time to commit to a multi-day, large time commitment — don’t worry! You won’t get as much money, but often you can get paid a few bucks for spending a couple minutes filling out a quick little survey. Something like this:
  7. Read the contracts you sign with large sandwich chains VERY carefully. A lot of times, it isn’t as great a financial move as it seems initially. A lot of times, they imply you will be paid in U.S. dollars, but after you notice that no money has hit your bank account you reread the contract and realize that you are actually being paid in MVP Rewards Program points. A lot of times, they will promise you that you will meet people who have done commercials for them in the past, but instead of meeting Tom Brady, Serena Williams or Steph Curry, you head to the address they give you and end up at the house of the guy who directed one of the commercials. And he was NOT expecting you. Additionally, there are almost always “weekly meal quota” clauses in the contract, which require you to eat at the sandwich chain at least seven times a week. That might not sound that bad, because after all you have all those MVP Reward Points, but then you read further and learn that MVP Reward Points cannot be spent on purchases which go toward the weekly meal quota. In other words, you can only use the points once you go to the sandwich chain for the eighth time in a given week. And those first seven trips can’t just be to get a cup of water or something. We’re talking sub, chips, cookie and a fountain drink. Every day.
  8. Roth IRA.

Hope that is helpful! Remember, we are always in the market for new questions here at Adam’s Apple; if you need advice, please reach out! And if any of you know a lawyer who specializes in contract nullification, reach out about that too! That would actually be significantly more valuable to me at this particular moment.

See you in two weeks. Until then, eat fresh.


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Adam Jutt ’25 is an economics and math double major…potentially. Aside from serving as an opinions editor with The Flat Hat, he is a member of the club tennis team and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and enjoys playing basically every sport under the sun (except bowling– he doesn’t care for bowling one bit and he doesn’t care who knows). In his free time, Adam can normally be found watching SNL, John Mulaney, or Parks and Rec clips on YouTube.


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