Destinee H. – Schurr High School

The most impressionable statement I remember, from the Financial Workshop is what I believe to be a wise saying from Miguel Quevedo, our school ambassador: “Don’t save after you spend, rather, spend after you save”. This made me recall my bad practices with money when I was much younger.

Every time a moment arises that I need – not want or desire, but absolutely require – to buy something, be it school supplies or food, I find myself remorsefully reminiscing about the past, mine of which is filled with regretful purchases and thoughtless frivolity. For instance, just a few months ago in October I needed to purchase a graphing calculator for my pre-calculus class. I went home from school as usual and popped open the lid of my ancient 2006 laptop, waited the twenty-five minutes it took for startup, and opened Firefox. I moved my pointer towards the address bar and typed in the website for Amazon, and then began to search for a graphing calculator. But, it did not take long for eyes to pop out of my sockets and my body to almost topple head first onto the ground. ‘One-hundred twenty-four dollars? You have got to be kidding me!’ I thought. I attempted to find a cheaper price for that model, to no avail. Reluctantly, I began to rake through what leftover cash still remained from birthdays and Chinese New Years’ gifts. Watching my fingers remove bills from the meagre stack of cash in my Hello Kitty tin can was torturous, and broke my soul into bits and pieces. As I returned to my laptop and unenthusiastically placed my order, I began to think of times I practically threw away money, especially in my childhood, and how great it would be if I could use those precious bills at this very moment.

I recall trips to Target with my mother when I was around seven or eight years old, and how I would always rush to the toy section. On one occasion (among many others), I begged my mom to let my buy a plastic eight-inch pony which I remember quite vividly, every puff of glitter and every strand of pink hair on her shinning mane. My mother was soon exasperated by my whining and eventually gave up in her pursuit of explaining why I should not be so quick to spend money and the absolute essential need to save it. As the saying goes, it went in one ear and out the other; I bought it with the twenty dollars my uncle gave me for my birthday. After that, myoh·so-intelligent child brain decided that it was blasphemy to let the pink pony be alone; she needed the blue pony that was placed strategically next to the pink pony’s former home. Needless to say, I was overjoyed with the thought that those weird storekeepers were so willing to exchange such treasures for a few pieces of paper. I bought hulks of plastic ponies as well as numerous Bratz dolls, all of which have ended up in the garbage or random nooks and crannies of my house as time passed.

All in all, listening to the presentation provided answers to questions I didn’t even know I had, like how to actually save money the right way and actually plan for the future. Before, I was under the impression that as long as you never spent your money, it was good enough. My definition of saving, however, did not nearly match what speaker revealed could be its full potential. One of the points the speaker made was about investing or putting your money into an account where your money isn’t just staying stagnant and gathering dust. By actually using (not spending!) your money this way, your savings actually increase; you get paid to save money through things like interest. This was something I never thought about or even knew existed. My entire sixteen years of life, I have been under the impression that as long as I did not spend, I was in a good place compared to others. I always thought that anything else that had to do with money like opening a variety of accounts or what not could be understood and done later. But, as I heard in the presentation, someone who opens saving accounts or starts their retirement fund earlier in their teens, and not at the average age of twenty-two, accumulates much more money than they originally would have if they had done anything. Though there is not much of a wrong way to save money, like simply not spending it, there are much better ways to do so if one takes the time to learn about them, and learning is, in my humble opinion, a helper, not a hurter. Knowing of all your options can only benefit you in the long run.

Spending after saving is definitely a good doctrine to follow, but it is also what you choose to do with those savings that can change your fortune, and in turn, your life. There is no doubt that after learning of these steps, I will take them with me to my future as a student and adult. Even though I am just in high school, it is never early to start getting involved in multiplying my finances. If I were able to continuously save through my college and adult career, it would no doubt be a huge benefit in the long run, and surely my sixty or seventy-year old self will thank me!