Frugality a difficult goal for students
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
There’s nothing more exciting than knowing you have a Starbucks gift card burning a hole in your wallet. I was all too eager to jump in my car this morning and make a coffee run — only to find an empty parking lot.
Oh yeah...it’s game day, on a Thursday. How could I forget? After huffing and puffing and finally finding my car after eating my feelings at Starbucks, I had to take a minute to reevaluate. I was so bent out of shape over my $80 mistake because I don’t have $80 to blow on being a moron. In fact, I don’t have $80 at all. And that is where the true problem lies.
At the beginning of the semester, I had a summer’s worth of income in my checking account. All of which I have managed to spend within two months in Dallas, in addition to a substantial amount from a few kind family members. Where has all the money gone? I’m still in the process of dragging myself out of denial and into fully admitting that I have participated in a disgusting amount of consumerism. I’m not talking about Tory Burch consumerism, although I have spent a fair share on less luxurious items at NorthPark Center — I’m talking coffee mug consumerism.
I’m talking about spending $10 here and there on stupid knick-knacks found right next to the cash register because there is really no aisle dedicated to useless items. We all need that egg-shaped lip balm in every color. And let’s not forget the frozen yogurt. Of course four bucks won’t do much damage, unless you decide to go five days a week. This is a particularly scary example of wasted money, considering the fact that I have already paid for Umphrey Lee’s endless supply of fro-yo.
As the most responsible person in the world I never saw myself falling into this trap, but here I am. I do have to partially blame it on the fact that I grew up in a tiny town where antique shops were the main attraction. Now I am surrounded with constant entertainment, shopping and cute restaurants. Never a dull moment in Dallas.
While I would prefer to just silently recover without admitting my mistakes to the entire student body, I could not help but assume that there are other students making similar mistakes. After all, I am living with people who think it’s fun to steal ottomans and throw chairs out the window. They don’t strike me as fiscally responsible types. So, what can we do to escape the grips of consumerism? Attending economics is always a good idea. Even though economics professor Michael Saliba doesn’t take roll, he does have a way of making you feel like an idiot for doing something as simple as seeing a movie in the theater.
Because most of us have some type of financial aid, remembering that we are blood-sucking members of society could also help put things in perspective. We could at least try to be frugal while spending tax payers’ dollars. And when instant gratification is really sucking you in, just remember that you’re an SMU student. You may not have the cash to satisfy your shopping addiction today, but you’re bound to be making the big bucks fresh out of college.
Thrall is a sophomore majoring in journalism. She can be reached for comment at email@example.com.