Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Save Up for Something


I've been saving up for a car this summer, and I've learned some money-saving and money-earning tips and tricks from experience and from parents.
  1. The most crucial part of saving up is the mental block of not spending money. It's hard to stop spending money when you've been in the habit of it for a while. My point is, you don't NEED to spend money. You WANT to. You have to stop wanting to.
  2. Get a job. Go to some local businesses and ask for a job application. Use phrases like, "I was wondering if there were any job openings." Or simply, "Can I have a job application/how do I apply?"
  3. Once you have a job, verify that you're getting paid what you should be. Don't blindly assume they're paying you correctly, because people are disorganized and will usually make mistakes when it's in their favor, not yours. Take a picture of your time card if that helps.
  4. If you earn under $8,000 per calendar year, make sure you file for a tax return. You shouldn't be getting income taxes.
  5. Look for used stuff. Technology and clothes in particular. Go consignment or thrift shopping. Look for used technology or furniture on Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist. There's no reason you should be paying $60 for a Pink sweatshirt (or just don't buy the sweatshirt). Apple also has a lot of refurbished products on their website (mainly old models of computers).
  6. If you don't need it, don't buy it. Ask yourself that before making a purchase. No, you don't need a twentieth phone case or an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee every day. Buying coffee every day for $3.50/day adds up very quickly.
  7. Take advantage of gift cards you receive, coupons, and cash back deals from your bank. But here's the catch: don't buy those things unless you were already planning on it. If you get a coupon for "buy one get one free on Diet Coke," and you go to CVS specifically to buy Diet Coke, you've been duped by the system. You just wasted your own money on that product.
  8. If you have one, use your debit card instead of cash. It's much easier to keep track of where each dollar goes, and you never find yourself asking, "where did my last $10 go?" because you can always log in to your bank account online and find out. It's a good way to figure out where you spend most, and how to minimize that.
  9. If all else fails, get your parents to pay for stuff as much as possible. This is kind of a sneaky one, but it is a good way to keep money in your bank account.
  10. Don't lend out money. You'll never get it back.
(Side note: this is my 201st post.)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My First Job: My Experience

This summer I had my first job. I worked as a camp counselor at a local camp for 5-7 year old children. I've always loved kids, and this just happened to be the job I found. And it's been a great summer.

How I got the job.
During the last week of school before finals, I went around to some local cafes and shops asking if they had any job openings. The recreation department happened to have one, as a camp counselor. I applied and got the job. I did not have a resume at this point and they didn't expect one.

How the job turned out.
It was strange, at first, as is any new activity one partakes in. This is what I realized this summer. I momentarily considered quitting, because I felt so out of place the first week. But I'm really glad I didn't. I realized that a person always feels out of place in a new environment, but I had just as much right to be there as anyone else did. This taught me a valuable lesson about trying new things--that it might feel strange at first, but that's okay and I'll adapt. I made a friend at work, and we've hung out a few times outside of work. We bond over work issues, rude kids, and cute counselors. I was slightly lacking in the friend department, so this was pretty sweet for me. It was really nice to have someone to talk to at work, especially during the boring parts of the day. And how did I make this friend? By coming up to her and talking. I saw her sitting by herself on a field trip, and I approached her and asked her what she thought of the field trip. I guess we "clicked," and started talking more and more. I also got friendly with some other counselors which was cool too. It was nice to meet new people, especially older ones, who are more mature. In terms of campers, on my last day the kids all made cards for counselors. I got six of them. And I really did feel like they were from campers I bonded with, not just random ones who couldn't think of someone to make a card for. Another lesson I learned is that sometimes I miss out on stuff. Oftentimes my friends would be making plans in the group text and I'd miss out. That was hard for me at the beginning of the summer, but I've learned to accept it after experiencing it a few times. Which is a good life skill, if you think about it. And I've also learned not to resent waking up early! Shockingly, it makes you feel more productive! I also just feel like this was a good experience to have and great for my resume. For one week, I worked with an intellectually disabled camper, which was a very enlightening experience that taught me how people with different disabilities function and how to work with them. Another great thing about this job is money!! Although I was earning minimum wage, I worked many hours per week and made a significant sum of money. I'm now in the process of saving up for a car (even though I don't quite have my license yet). A bonus with the pay thing is that I learned how to deal with bosses and how to talk professionally! One more thing. I re-learned to love my bare face with not a trace of makeup on. I was too lazy to wear makeup to camp every day of course, so I went without. And it was great. I'll probably need to re-learn this skill after wearing makeup every day for school though. Or maybe I won't wear it to school. We'll see.
Friend who I was with is cropped out for privacy reasons!