As a junior in college studying Business with a Finance concentration, and a double minor in Economics and Psychology, I’m pretty conscious of my spending habits. In fact, I prided myself on my budgeting skills and helping my friends develop conscious spending plans for themselves. That is, until my friend pointed out that my habit of skipping classes was costing me (or more accurately, my parents) hard earned money.
I go to a California State University that costs roughly $2,100 per quarter and is increasing by $70 every quarter! A full load is considered to be 4 classes, and the classes meet 20 times each throughout the quarter. That means that every class I skip or every class that’s furloughed (thank you California deficit) costs me $26.25!
Last quarter, 7 of my classes were canceled, and I skipped an additional 4 because I “just didn’t feel like going to class.” That’s $288.75 down the drain. What did I do instead? I wish I could say I used that time to study for my other classes or to get ahead of my workload, but sadly, I spent most of that time shopping or going out to coffee with my friends. Instead of using that time to add value in different areas of my life, I ended up spending more money on extraneous things.
It’s so easy to lose associations between an item, and the price paid to obtain it, when purchased in a lump sum. Especially with distance between the purchase date and the actual delivery of the item. I pay tuition 2-3 months before the quarter actually begins. The money has long since left my account and therefore is no longer a part of my mental accounting. It doesn’t feel like I ever had it, so classes start to feel less like a purchase and more like an optional activity that I could choose not to partake in with only a slight averse effect in my grades.
It’s only the beginning of a new quarter, but my perspective on classes has changed dramatically. Now, I leave $30 in cash on my nightstand for when I wake up tired and unmotivated to go to class. That way I can physically see the amount that I waste by not showing up. This act attributes a value to my education, based on how many classes I have that day. And I’m willing to bet that my attendance record this quarter is going to be much better than the last one!
Guest post by Sarah L. – a college student with immense passion for God, life, style, and personal finance. In that order. You can find her on her blog – Sarah Ming.
(Photo by smemon87)