John G. – Schurr High School

“Explain what young adults can do to become better savers?
What things can they do to remain debt-free?”

I am turning 18 at the end of June. On June 30, 2018, I will officially become a young adult. And, I will be starting college in the fall. College is expensive. Around the time I attended Nuvision’s Financial Workshop, cost-of-attendance reports from several universities arrived in the mail. I was shocked at the many thousands of dollars that college costs. I was even more shocked when I noticed how little financial aid I got. I am facing the prospect of taking out huge loans to go to college. So, for me, the short answer to THE ESSAY CHALLENGE prompt of “What things can young adults do to remain debt-free?” is, “I can’t possibly remain debt-free.” College is way too expensive to avoid some debt. But, the point of the THE ESSAY CHALLENGE still applies, that is, I must become a better saver and must try to remain debt­ free or my debt will spiral out of control. It is a matter of financial survival.
Speaking of survival, one of the most important things I learned at the Financial Workshop was the idea of having an “Emergency Fund”. I think it hit me because, being away at college means, I can’t rely on my parents to come to my rescue. For instance, if my laptop gets fried, I must pay a tech-person to recover my files. And, besides the “Emergency Fund”, I need savings for ordinary expenses. Deodorant? Yeah, I will have to pay for small things too. Yet, it is also important to control spending to have money to save in the first place. The famed investor Warren Buffett gave this advice, “Don’t save what is left after spending.
Instead, spend what is left after saving.”

I must admit, I am already saving. I work at a small business called The Mail Room. I wanted to work so I could afford video games and going out with friends. But, last year, when I looked at colleges, I realized that I was going to need money for the serious business of getting my bachelor’s degree. So, I started saving. Besides saving, I learned at the Workshop that managing money is just as important. Part of managing money is reducing costs. It may be small change but it adds up. For instance, I used to drink a lot of Gatorade. But, I noticed that it was draining my wallet and, worst of all, I was still thirsty. I noticed that my Mom washes out and refills her bottled water with purified water from our refrigerator. I started doing the same thing. Sometimes, I will pack a sandwich and chips from home instead of going for fast food. The savings add up over time. The best part of saving is having money available to do fun things. For example, recently, my friends and I went to an “Escape Room”. An Escape Room is a mystery game, held in a locked room in which a group of people work together to solve puzzles and escape their terrifying confinement. Escape rooms are expensive. But, my Mom found a Groupon (a coupon-like discount) that saved us 40%. So, by applying the strategies of saving and cost-cutting, my friends and I were able to experience the thrill of an escape room.

So, thanks to Nuvision, I think I have learned the basic strategy to becoming a better saver and remaining debt free. First, I need to make an income. I plan to work part-time in college. Then, when I am able, I will find a paid internship to help my career and income. I will reduce my costs at every turn by analyzing and cutting expenses, using coupons, and reusing things that I already own. Then, I will save money diligently and happily every month knowing that I will have money to spend, if and when I need it.