Working and proud of it
Wednesday, August 31
This is the second summer I’ve stayed in Boulder and worked two jobs- one in the Bursar’s Office and another at a restaurant, and at the ripe old age of 20 I am a self-proclaimed workaholic. On average for the summer of 2011 I worked close to 60 hours per week, only about 45 of which were paid (coaching is considered volunteer work in the summer) and I can honestly say I’m completely okay with that! Since I started college I have supported myself with little help from my parents beyond a shoulder to cry on when I need one and some money to borrow if I’m really in a rut. These past few years have truly been my biggest test on being a responsible adult more than it has been to many of my peers. Obviously, it is very different from the lifestyles of other CU students, but I’ve come to appreciate the mistakes I have made and the lessons that resulted. Trust me, I have made some pretty crazy financial mistakes.
Every year around this time, I sit down with my Financial Aid award and calculate my year in dollars. I take into account how much I will be earning from Work-Study, how much of tuition will be paid for by loans and grants, and how much else needs to be taken out in order to cover expenses such as books and off-campus living. However, this year I will still be working both jobs, coaching, and taking 16 credit hours. I’m trying to not take out more in loans than I need to, and with how much I can potentially earn, I should be able to financially manage (though my sanity might run lower than my funds). The question I have been asked most once people find out about my plan for this upcoming semester: do you plan on even having a life? Well, of course. School and coaching are two things that I am incredibly passionate about and the opportunity to do both will be a challenge I am willing to accept. The restaurant and the Bursar’s Office are both jobs that I have fun doing and am learning a lot from. If I have to give up going out on the weekends in order to finish homework, well that is a sacrifice that I have to make in order to get a step closer to figuring out my dreams. Adults always tell me that I need to have fun and be a college student, but honestly I would rather work hard through school and spend a “gap year” travelling and finding myself after I earn my degree… but that can’t be done without money. So I may not drive a fancy car, buy clothes from Nordstrom or high-end boutiques, or buy all my food from Whole Foods (a girl can dream right?) but I do know that I’m on the right path. By learning the value of hard work and the ins and outs of finances at a young age, I can hopefully set myself up for a more successful future.
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Today I choose to be a Finisher
Tuesday, August 23
Coming to college is like starting a race; before you begin, you can be the fast hare who is expected to win hands down against the slow turtle or you could be the turtle who starts out slow but makes it in the end as the winning finisher. The determining factor of success will ultimately lie within your actions. What you choose to do today will affect your destiny. Many students will start out strong as valuable athletes, 4.0 GPA students, rising artists and ‘good’ boys and girls; nevertheless, many out of many will fail to finish as the stars they once were when they began their race in college simply because of the actions they decided to take.
When you come to college, start it out right. Choose to make a budget to handle your financial situation in a wise way so you aren’t struggling for money within a matter of months. Choose to go to class so you’re not the student who is failing because of neglect. Choose to be informed and use the resources available to you on campus so you know how and where to get help. Do not choose to be the hare that was overly confident and decided to take a nap during the middle of the race thinking that the turtle would be far, far behind. Rather, choose to be the turtle that persevered and kept going without stopping until the race was won. Coming to college is not about winning, it is about going on and on to reach the goal of finishing one step in your life today so that you can take another step to achieve your dreams tomorrow. You are only guaranteed today so make the choice to finish strong.
Esther, junior, business major
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Lovin’ my (cheap) bagels at C4C
Monday, August 15, 2011
Hey All! Hope you are all doing fabulous. If you’re anything like me, mornings and you don’t mix well. I am always stretching the very precious seconds before I really have to get out of bed. As I lay there waiting for my alarm to go off yet again after hitting snooze for the third time, contemplating things I will miss out on by sleeping in a few extra minutes, breakfast is always at the top of my list. At the time, it seems like sleep outweighs the necessity to eat before a long day full of class. I am usually on the run and by mid-day I’m starving! Don’t worry, I have discovered a deal! The Bakery at the new Center for Community sells fresh bagels and cream cheese for only a dollar! This is a sweet deal. Buying bagels anywhere else on campus is really overpriced. It is a quick 2 minute stop and will definitely save you some hunger pains and a few bucks later on in the day! Good luck — I hope you check it out.
Jane, junior, psychology major
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Plant a simple, inexpensive garden
August 8, 2011 (Part 2 from Clair)
If you REALLY want to get into the healthy eating and organic craze on a budget, grow your own produce! I know, it sounds daunting… but it’s a lot easier than it looks. Luckily for me, I had a little help and experience coming from a family full of avid gardeners and farmers who are all keen on sticking to a strict budget, so I’ve been able to steal many of their cheap gardening tips and tricks.
A popular option in vegetable gardening right now are raised bed gardens – basically just open wooden boxes that you plant your veggies in. I did a little research on them and if you are willing to put in the time to build your own (which would probably take less than an hour), you can plant a 3 x 6 ft. raised bed garden complete with soil and seeds for about $98. Plus, one packet of seeds costs about a dollar and can produce about 5 plants, so they can keep you stocked for multiple summers. A garden this size can fit about 15 plants which can produce A LOT of veggies and would probably pay for itself within one season.
Click here for some really helpful instructions on building a raised bed garden:
For those of you who live apartments without yards at your disposal or who just want an even cheaper option, just borrow some of your parents’ old flower pots and plant your garden in them!
Lesson learned: if you want to learn how to keep to a budget with anything from eating healthy to keeping your apartment clean, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends – they can be great resources who are more than willing to help out!
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History, Anthropology, and Second Education major
Get your fruits and veggies
August 1, 2011
I can’t even begin to recount all of the horror stories I heard coming into college about the dreaded “Freshman 15,” the terrible dorm food, and of course, the college staples of Top Ramen and tuna. As wonderful as it sounded to gain 15 pounds from eating food I didn’t even like, I moved into the dorms with an attitude completely defiant of food that could lead to any kind of jiggling. I quickly learned just how expensive healthy food can really be – going to the grocery store became a game of “What can I buy the most of with the least amount of money?” and the answer was never fruits and vegetables. Even upon moving into my own house that was dorm-food free and came with a legitimate kitchen, it was still difficult to eat healthy on my meager budget of student loans.
Talking to friends about this dilemma, I quickly became aware that this was a problem for all of us, but one friend offered a much needed ray of hope: Sprouts and Sunflower Market’s Wednesday deals. Each week, Sprouts and Sunflower (both famous for their tasty produce and emphasis on natural and organic groceries) come out with coupons and sales that change every Wednesday. Although their produce is well priced any day of the week, Wednesdays are amazing because their deals from the previous week and the upcoming week overlap. Usually when I go in on Wednesdays, I can get three or four bags of produce for $15 and it lasts for weeks!
Check out the weekly coupons for their Boulder locations and sign up for their email lists here:
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History, Anthropology, and Secondary Education major