Happy days are here students of Sinclair. Why? Well, because it’s that joyous time of the year where everything doesn’t seem as hopeless.
There are smiles on peoples’ faces and a bounce in their steps. It’s the special time of year where anything seems possible!
It’s student refund check season! Yes, that special time of years where college students receive the money they haven’t spent from their scholarships and or loans at their respected collegiate institutions.
This sudden surge of wealth can be overwhelming and lead to certain purchases that may cause buyers remorse later on (I still haven’t found a use for my portable flamethrower).
So here are a few do’s and don’ts to help keep a couple of dollars in your pocket and bank account.
DON’T: Seeing all that money in your account may give you a true inflated sense of wealth. Do not take out all your money out of your bank account in small bills, go to your house, put on “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” and dance around while throwing money in the air and having it rain down on you! You will lose bills in the process every time (I’m still looking for that lost $20).
DO: It is great that you are able to pay off bills, debt and or any loans you may have but you need to pay the most important person first, yourself!
Just put $20 to $30 aside or whatever small percentage you can so that when you feel the pain of all that money slowly disappearing from your account to pay bills you can at least buy yourself the finest fast food meal that money can buy.
DON’T: Don’t, I repeat don’t look at shopping sites or think of making any large purchases! Trust me unless it’s absolutely needed, do not go splurge shopping.
Most likely after you’re done you’ll have a house full of stuff, an empty bank account and an empty filling that you could have done more with your sudden wealth then brought an inflatable palm tree raft with cup holders when winter is just around the corner.
DO: Invest, it is never too early or too late to try and get out of that cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, refund to refund.
Research some stocks or business you’re interested in and put some money down and invest. Over time that investment could pay off so much that every day can be like refund day!
DON’T: Trying to impress friends and romantic interests is very ill advised. Yeah, they’re going to be impressed in that moment when they learn you’re a high rolling, big spender, but what happens when you need to keep up that trend and have nothing in your pockets except a two for one coupon, some pocket lint and a stolen mint!
Skip the clubs, bars and parties; Netflix already has your back for $9.99 and they won’t judge if you wear pajamas to hang out!
DO: Take a financial inventory. This money can grant you a chance to see where you are financially and what you may have to remove from your life once you’ve paid bills and have a little room to breathe without the crushing weight of your debt.
DON’T: No one likes paying bills. But they are a reality of life so don’t put off paying a bill until it’s too late if you have the financial means from your refund.
Take care of the most important bills first. Those that are marked scary red, with the words FINAL NOTICE on them. You know the one. Take care of those and then set up payment arrangements for the rest. Payment arrangements can help stretch out your money and pay off pressing bills at the same time.
DO: Lastly, take a look at your refund check and realize that this isn’t some small lump of free money. It is a symbol and a reminder that you are in school working hard for a better future.
A future that hopefully doesn’t involve final red notices or celebrations over meager refund checks, because you’ve been eating ramen for the past three months.
This refund check is a tool to keep you on a track so that you can look back fondly one day in your house that’s paid for and with a family that will never know hunger.
Then you can sit back and say: I remember when struggle was my way of life, and this life was just a dream to help past the time.
Justin A. Baker