By Chaz Oswald, 22, USA
I slept walked to the kitchen to cook porridge for breakfast. To my horror, there was an army of ants feasting on last night’s dinner crumbs. Living in an apartment with guys, I guess such a scene is not surprising.
Before cleaning up the mess, I watched in amazement as each ant participated in the frenzy. A few ants searched for more food, while others carried loads that are ten times their weight back to the colony.
We read in Proverbs 6:6-8, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.”
As I watched the ants carting away the food on the table, I realized no crumb was wasted. Wisely, the scavenged food was to be saved or stored away and not immediately frittered.
Students already strapped for cash need to be aware that the road through college is filled with more financial holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. Every dollar earned could be easily spent. We need to learn from the ants and be wise.
Below are five common ways in which hard-earned dollars are foolishly wasted in college:
- Dropping or Failing Classes. Needless to say college is expensive. Dropping or even failing a class can cost you major dough—often more than $500 per class. It’s much better to pass four classes than to crash seventeen. So plan wisely, and enroll yourself into a manageable number of classes while meeting the course requirements.
- Dorm Bling-Bling. Decorating your dorm makes the room feel homier. However, there’s no need to splurge on Ralph Lauren furnishings. Instead scan the classifieds, check around for used furniture, and watch for last year’s products, which are now this year’s clearance items.
- Expensive Trees. Arguably one of the costliest freshman mistakes is to buy spanking new textbooks. Your best bet is to borrow the book from a friend, rent the text online, or purchase used copies. Another tip is to search for an international edition. It may not be as colorful or pretty as the hard copy, but it usually cost 50 percent less.
- Plastic Capital. A Dunn and Bradstreet Study found that people spend 12 to 18 percent more when using credit cards than when using cash. To reduce the urge to splurge, cut up your credit cards and pay cold hard cash instead. By skipping the plastic, you will be forced to live within your means, spending only what you have.
- Unnamed Dollars. One of the biggest problems students face is sporadic income and the incessant desire to spend every dime. To fight this urge, set a budget and stick to it. This way, you will know how every dollar is spent (and hopefully saved). To get you started, the Lampo Group, Inc. has provided simple and free budgeting forms.
Like the ants, we can work out our plans and save for the winter or we will suffer the effects of being labeled the “fool” by the Teacher.
Share with us, what other dangerous money traps have you found while preparing for or attending school?