Fall Term Most Expensive Term for Andover Students

Student expenditures at Phillips Academy and surrounding businesses represent an aspect of campus life that is often overlooked. This week, The Phillipian examined a wide range of information from students and local merchants to investigate patterns in student spending. Fall Term was the most expensive term for students, as its length and energized back-to-school atmosphere spurred more trips downtown than in winter or spring. Students spent their money in a variety of restaurants and stores, primarily in Andover but also in nearby Boston. New students tend to spent more money at PA than at their previous school because of their newfound independence from parents, need for supplies, downtown shopping options, and a desire for food beyond Commons. In an anonymous survey, 17 students spent an average of $345 the past fall term. A wide range of spending habits ran the gamut of thriftiness and decadence, from under $60 to more than $1000. Students such as Sophia Lee ’09 cited Fall Term as the most expensive term of the year. She said, “[Fall] is the longest term, plus the weather is really nice so you can go into town a lot more often.” Joel Camacho ‘08, a frequent patron of Andover restaurants, said, “I think it’s the excitement of being back that got me all in the festive mood; thus, I ordered out with friends all the time.” Domino’s is a popular spot for PA students to order out. Chuck Silva, the manager, has worked with the pizza chain for about ten years, though he only moved to Andover six months ago. He said that PA students spend roughly $1000 per week at Domino’s, accounting for 15 – 20 percent of overall business. He also noted that inclement weather increases the number of students’ orders. Dave Young, a manager of King’s Subs since 1991, observed that business from PA students is “not as good as it used to be.” Mr. Young theorized that the food has improved in Commons, decreasing demand for take-out over the past 15 years. He also said that ordering amounts are “unpredictable” from week to week, but that snow and sports games, like last Sunday’s Patriots – Jets game, increase orders. PA’s most frequented stores include CVS, the Andover Bookstore, Bertucci’s, the Ryley Room and other local eateries. Boston also profits from PA business as the wider spectrum of stores attracts PA students. Maxwell Meyer ’08 said that the “tempting lure of urban shopping” lies in the “brilliant marketing” of city stores. Meyer said that he looks out for “glossy photos of the latest fashions,” omnipresent in the flourishing shopping districts of Boston. Perhaps students’ main expense, however, lies in toiletries and academic supplies. With parents no longer supplying necessities, students must take it upon themselves to make the trek down to CVS. In addition to staple items, students find increased spending on more frivolous purchases, especially since parents have decreased control over their wallets. Some students have received near carte blanche from their parents when it comes to expenditures. Larry Zhou ’09 said, “[I spend more] because I can use my parent’s credit card and I don’t physically see the money leave my hand, so I don’t really consciously notice I’m spending money….A lot of it was unnecessary.” But other students also learned more responsible spending habits with their newfound freedom. Tony Zou ’09 said, “Being unsupervised and knowing that you have a limit to spend has definitely regulated my spending.” Lily Schaffer ’10 said, “My parents and I opened an account that was only for school… and once [the money in it is] gone, it’s gone.” Students spend money in large part due to a desire for better food. Jessica Cole ’08 said, “[After coming to PA] I didn’t have a pantry I could walk into and cook my own meals or grab a snack, so if I didn’t like what was in Commons or was hungry at weird hours or didn’t feel like walking all the way, I had no choice but to buy something somewhere.” Students recognize the range in spending patterns among their peers, and on the usually equal playing field at Andover, personal spending reveals much about students’ separate backgrounds. Schaffer said, “You have some kids at school who are from incredibly wealthy families and may not worry about money at all…On the other hand, you have people [who are] much more careful about what they spend, how they spend it, and it’s possible that most of their spending money is what they have earned or saved.” But, most students agree that “spending money is a part of daily life.”