Budgeting (or Throwing Money to the Wind)

I was very high-and-mighty about my budget first semester. I cooked lunch for the whole week on Sunday and made coffee every morning. I was able to tend to groceries, laundry, and cooking with plenty of time to study.

Flash forward. Let’s just say I spent $50 on Lyfts this week, and the convenience store at the student union is starting to wonder about my well-being (“Does she only eat Snickers?”). I am ashamed and have no regrets, all at once.

Two pieces of somewhat contradictory advice:

  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into spending on things that aren’t worth it to you. Interest accrues in the blink of an eye. Eat lunch with a crew that brings meals from home, and keep snacks and tea bags in your locker to stave off temptation. (And remember, you will be rewarded with free coffee for law students on Wednesdays in the cafe!)
  • BUT be happy. Did you doze in your afternoon class yesterday? Grab a cup of coffee today. Worried about losing an hour to cooking during finals week? Grab take out and smile.

Honestly.

These recommendations aren’t impossible to reconcile. Stick to your principles (or, at least, the good habits you are trying to cultivate) for the first few months of the semester. Then, spend money on coffee with reckless abandon as you approach the finish line. Of course, the valiant among us may be able to get through mid-May eating nothing but home-cooked meals, but most of us are living, breathing human beings. I don’t feel too guilty about my current purchasing habits because I made a conscious effort to save the rest of the semester.

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