Money To Live

August 28, 2008

Defining Moments: Katy runs out of money #1

Filed under: defining moments — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am
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Defining Moments is a series about how we remember money and how it has shaped our lives.

The first time I ran out of money I was 16-years-old. I was attending a boarding school and had an allowance (from my parents) each semester of $500. Since my tuition, housing, cafeteria plan, and books were all paid for separately, this was an ideal situation for running out of money.

Near the end of my second semester away from home I went to the ATM and realized that only $24 remained in my account. The next day I signed up as a tutor, which paid $5.15 an hour (minimum wage).

Looking back, this is what I notice.

I did not immediately apply for a credit card. Since I was 16, I would not have qualified anyway. But if this had happened when I went off to college at 18, it is possible that I would have been tempted by a credit card.

I was able to get a part-time job immediately. Debt is often incurred when a person cannot find work quickly and pays bills using credit.

I did not ask my parents for more money — and I do not know what they would have said if I had. This is a theme in my life; I did not ask my parents the second time I ran out of money. I attribute this to trying to assert my independence (while still being financially dependent). The funny thing is that now, in a pinch, I would ask my parents for money.

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1 Comment »

  1. Um…I would have told you that $24 was plenty to get through the semester. And secretly been impressed that you made it through 2 semesters before this happened. FYI, when Ethan was at the same school he had a friend whose allowance was $10/week, and another whose allowance was $100/week. It was his first concrete lesson in income levels. Like you, he never asked us for extra money. I have no idea how much money 16-year-olds need today. (I am pleased that you now feel free to ask for money. I feel the same way–I’d ask you! I wonder if I mean that.)

    Comment by Mary Bold — August 28, 2008 @ 6:54 pm |Reply


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