Wednesday, January 14, 2009

oh to be a college student...

Oh my gosh a Quarter! ok...25...35....40.....$2.04 ...perfect the exact price of a bagel with cream cheese at San Francisco Bread Company. Dinner!!

I never thought that what they always said about college life was true. A life where free food is like manna from heaven. Finding a quarter notes a celebration much like I would assume the people who found the titanic celebrated. Ramen and Spaghettios are a well rounded meal. Note cards become a daily accessory (and they match any outfit). Counting the number of hours you slept in a week is quite easy because you have way more fingers than you would ever need.
Your life becomes almost a game of making it too the next paycheck. Counting quarters, signing up for biology club for the free food. I have actually withdrawn $1.50 cents from my bank account. It's a life where robbing Peter to pay Paul is tempting.

My mom always says that I should make a budget, but subtracting 0 from 0 always seems to come out the same.
I have made my fair share of bad financial choices in college, and I have learned a great deal about personal finances.

First of all, debit cards are the devil. My suggestion to any college student is to cut up and throw away debit cards. Often, checking accounts these days have bounce protection meaning you can keep withdrawing sometimes up to $500 dollars in the negative! And with each withdraw over, the bank is taking $30 as a fee. Now, do you really want to buy chapstick for 97 cents and end up paying $30 for it. Yeah me neither. I am very much ashamed to admit it, but Ive been there!! I no longer have a debit card or checks, and I have not overdrawn once!!

Second of all, credit cards are also the devil. Do not trade in good credit for a free pizza! Often credit card companies will walk around campus offering free pizzas if you sign up for a credit card. If a parent gives you a credit card, dont carry it with you all the time. If you can get away with it, don't even accept it. Credit cards are great for school books and perscription medication, and that is it.

Third, those shoes are not that cute. Although you might not believe it, I have never gone naked as a college student. Even though I have thought that I have needed a certain outfit or couldnt buy any clothes for months and months, I have never ever been naked. Credit cards from stores are also the devil.

And last but not least, if you are in financial trouble do not wait to the bitter end to tell someone. I am lucky to have a mother who helped me out with my finances when they were so far gone I was never going to be able to get back on the right foot, and I am thankful for that. There are way too many stressors that you have in your life to have that added on top of it. Be free from financial stress: live within your means.

I have a theory that if you can live your life with simplicity, you will find true happiness, no matter which way your finances take you in life. William Henry Channing once said "to live content with small means....this is my symphony" Isn't this so true? To know that the true value in life is not the value of your savings account.

So I'm gonna keep counting, because I know what really counts.....25....35...40 .....

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