How Much Do We Really Spend with Bucs?

Written by Caitlyn Buckley
Megaphone Staff Writer

According to a chart at the bottom of SU’s Pirate Card webpage (https://piratecard.southwestern.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp), the average amount spent with Pirate Bucs is $800. This figure seems higher than one might expect, so a survey was conducted polling students about the amount they spent.

The largest grouping of respondents in the survey, 44.1 percent, said that they spent only $100-$300 a year in Pirate Bucs, as opposed to the $800 that the University’s webpage claimed.

Only 8.8 percent of those polled spent more than $800 a year in Pirate Bucs, with another 8.8 percent spending between $500 and $800. Still, the averages suggest that most people are adding money to their Pirate Cards beyond what came with their meal plans, which spells success for the Pirate Card program.

The Pirate Card website also states that the average amount spent on books with Pirate Bucs is $450. The survey also rebuts this figure, with 61.8 percent of poll takers saying that they do not pay for textbooks with Pirate Bucs. Only 2.9 percent of respondents said that they spend the amount stated on the Pirate Card website.

Still, 38.2 percent of poll respondents do spend at least some of their Pirate Bucs on textbooks. Several students in the poll said that their least favorite item to spend Pirate Bucs on was textbooks.

One said that they did not like to spend Pirate Bucs on “textbooks, just because I would rather have that money to use later on in the semester, but at the same time, it’s extremely helpful that we can use Pirate Bucs to buy textbooks.”

The statistics on Pirate Buc usage for laundry match up with those in the online survey, with 47.1 percent of respondents saying they spend $30-$50 a year on laundry with Pirate Bucs.

One poll taker said, “I like using (Pirate Bucs) for laundry so I don’t have to save and scrounge up quarters.”

Having the ability to use Pirate Bucs on laundry makes it easier for students to do their laundry at school, yet 14.7 percent of students surveyed said they do not even do laundry at school, opting to wait until they go home to do so. This choice allows those students to save some precious Pirate Bucs to spend on food.

Food is by far what the students in the survey said they spend the most money on. This is one area in which the statistics on the Pirate Card website underestimate, saying that the average student spends $100 on food in Pirate Bucs.

52.9 percent of students spend more than $100 a year on food with Pirate Bucs. Only 5.9% of poll takers spend less than $10 a year on food. Students report enjoying the ability select between the Commons, The Cove and several off-campus restaurants that accept payment through Pirate Cards.

The Pirate Card site reports that an average of $75 a year is spent on SU apparel. The survey contradicts this, with 64.7 percent of respondents reporting that they spend $0-$10 a year in Pirate Bucs on the Southwestern clothing and accessories available in the bookstore. Several students stated that while they wouldn’t spend their Pirate Bucs on SU-related apparel, they do spend cash for that snazzy black and gold sweatshirt.

According to the Pirate Card site, School supplies, photocopying and vending machines account for $125 spent per student, yet the survey suggests that the reported statistic is incorrect. Students surveyed reported to spending less than $10 on school supplies, copies and vending combined with their Pirate Cards. A further 11.8 percent reported to spending none at all on any of these.

When asked what their favorite thing to spend their Pirate Bucs on was, students had varying preferences.

One student likes “doing laundry in the HB/MS laundry room. There’s always a chance you’ll meet a cute sophomore lady in there.”

Another says “I really like spending a little money on Cove food… it’s such a nice break from commons monotony, and if you are having a rough day or study session, it can put a positive twist on it.”

Off-campus food was often mentioned as well. Least favorite Pirate Card purchases ranged from “books and school supplies” to “getting a replacement Pirate Card.”

Students also had praises and suggestions for Pirate Cards. Several want “more off-campus at stores like Wal-Mart, HEB, Kohls and Target” and “more local restaurants” to accept Pirate Bucs.

A commonly expressed sentiment among students in the survey was that they mostly seem to “think the Pirate Card is fantastic!” As more options become available for students to spend Pirate Bucs on, the statistic of $800 spent per student in Pirate Bucs will no longer seem so far-fetched.

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