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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Financial Aide: Save in small steps

Peyton McKenzie

In the summer of 2020, I got my first job as a maintenance worker at the local pool in my hometown. I was taking out trash, sorting recycling and checking chlorine levels every other hour. 

It was my first experience seeing real money coming into my pockets, money that I worked hard for.

I have returned to that job every year since, working about 30 shifts over the course of a summer to earn the means to support my spending needs. What I didn’t realize was how outrageous those needs were.

When I got to college, I found myself in a bubble, independent of any parental supervision for the first time in my life. I went out to eat constantly, spent lavishly at the campus bookstore and neglected any kind of financial constraint.

It wasn’t until early in my sophomore year that I broke out of that mindset. My mom, of all people, called me up one day and reprimanded me. She made me realize that the money I earned each summer grew thinner and thinner until I spent most — if not all — of it, restarting with the same number from the previous year every summer.

According to a 2016 Financial Advisor Magazine study, 52% of freshman students reported finding themselves running out of money during their first years in college. Sophomores (69%), juniors (67%) and seniors (77%) all had the same issue.

To combat this, I implemented a system to save my money — one that you can hopefully learn from to keep yourself out of the same trouble that I was.

It’s simple, really.

I started by looking into a savings account. Up to this point, all the money that I accrued went right into my checking, where it stayed stagnant, waiting to be spent. By opening up a savings account, I could hold my money in a safer space where it could simultaneously gather interest.

I also opted for a self-imposed spending limit. I began to ask myself questions like: Do I really need this? Is it responsible to spend this much money? If I found myself spending too much in a condensed period of time, I might take a hiatus until I felt it was acceptable to start again. It is not a very regimented system, but it works.

It is always smart to keep a steady flow of income streaming in. Finding a job on or around campus is the easiest way to keep money available and avoid going broke. If it doesn’t fit with your schedule one semester, a common problem that I ran into multiple times, consider leaving space open in your schedule another semester to allot time for work.

But if you’re breaking your back in the blistering sun every summer at some pool like I am, you realize what your money is worth — and I assure you, it isn’t worth burning through.

Because one day, it just might catch up to you.

DISCLAIMER: This piece is strictly based on the opinions and experiences of the writer and should not be viewed as a substitute for professional financial advice.

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Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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