The Harbinger Online

Staffers Weigh In on Spending Money


Money Mogul written by Greta Nepstad

Movie tickets, after 6 p.m. at Cinemark, are $6.25. A small popcorn is $5.75. A small drink is $4.25. The light seeps from the room and the previews start, but all I can do is add it all up. The money. All I can think about is the money I spent in the last 15 minutes.

$16.25. Round that up, and I just lost $20. That’s two weeks worth of allowance, the type of allowance that you work for, clean bathrooms for, not money handed out for simply existing. Twenty dollars is half of the money I earned babysitting last weekend, or all of my tips from the past two days at work.

I’m not good at spending money; it’s not something I take lightly. I’ve tried impulse buying, but all it does is make me feel guilty and anxious. Saving money, or spending it, isn’t a struggle for me. I’ll say I’m getting a cup of water at a restaurant when I’m actually going to fill it up with soda. I’ll buy a $40 dress, if it’s clear that it’s been marked down, but only if I don’t buy the $30 pair of corduroys. Analyzing and adding and subtracting the money I earn and spend is an automatic reaction when I see a price tag.

Clothing is my least favorite thing to spend money on. Walking into a store, I’m confused and annoyed when I see a $160 price tag on a dress made of cotton with triangles strategically cut out of the waist. I’m always amazed by people who buy items like that. When I walk into a store, it’s straight to the sale section I go. No detours, just to the place where the prices are reasonable and life makes sense.

I once bought two items of clothing in the seventh grade that were over $100: a blue Northface jacket in a size up so I wouldn’t outgrow it, and a pair of tall chestnut Ugg boots. Now the Northface is matted and the Uggs are stained and are a tight fit. I regret buying those two items; they were never worth the $200. Decisions and regrets like these have made me hyper-aware of my spending. My friends call me stingy, but then again, they have debit cards that go to their parents’ accounts.

My parents aren’t inconsiderate towards me; they simply don’t pay for my movie ticket or Panera dinner. It’s not what they do, and it’s not what I expect from them. I hear my parents talk about paying for health insurance, for dental insurance, for car insurance. I hear them talking about paying taxes for the house, for the cars we own, for their income. I hear them, and it makes my head throb because this is what I’ll be talking about in a few years.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that if I save as much money as I can now, I won’t be overwhelmed when I start having real financial responsibilities in the future. That does not make me stingy. I’m simply not willing to be wasteful with the money I work for.

Super Spender written by Sarah Berger

Hello, my name is Sarah Berger, and I’m a shopaholic.

I know some people out there might not believe that shopping could be an actual addiction but let me tell you—it is. I am a compulsive shopper and overspender, and I have a problem.

My first shopping spree was before I could even remember. Only days after being born and released from the hospital, my grandma took me to the baby department of Dillard’s. Somehow in the span of that shopping trip she managed to buy every single pink item of baby clothing in the store. That trip was the first of a long list of shopping sprees that I have been on in my life.

I love almost everything about shopping. Nothing beats that warm fuzzy feeling I get whenever I wear a new outfit for the first time or whenever I get compliments on what I am wearing. I have come to the love the adrenaline rush I get everytime I swipe my credit card for a big purchase.

When I shop I am extremely compulsive. Everytime I walk into a store I usually go straight for what is on the front mannequins or in the displays. Unfortunately for me, these are usually the most expensive things in the store. Most of the time it takes me awhile to make that first purchase, but once I do there is no stopping me.

Because I am so compulsive I have developed some problems in my shopping strategies. First, I hate to try on clothes. It takes way too long — during that time I could be finding a cuter sweater or a cooler pair of jeans. Most of the time this proves to be one of my major downfalls, because more often than not, some of these clothes do not actually fit me or I already have something just like it. My adrenaline rush quickly turns into buyer’s remorse.

Another problem I have is my increased tolerance to spending large amounts of money. Large amounts of money that I should be saving or in most cases do not have. By the end of the first day with my credit card the starting balance of $200 dwindled to a grand total of $8.17. From that first trip in eighth grade to now I don’t even flinch when the overly perky saleswomen tell me the total of my bill, but when I check my bank account the regret comes instantly. My card has yet to be declined but I know that day will come soon, and I am dreading it.

I know that one day I will have to stop, but I simply don’t want to. The first step to overcoming any addiction is admitting that you have a problem. Well here it is: I have a problem. But I am okay with that. I am a shopaholic and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

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Sarah Berger

Sarah Berger is a junior. This is her second year on staff and she is the news section editor and a copy editor. Read Full »

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