College Connect: Back home again – saving your sanity while still saving money

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By BENJAMIN DASHLEY, Ball State University

After living on your own for most of a year, it’s no fun to move back in with your parents.

I’m doing it this year to save some money while I complete an internship only 20 miles away from my dad’s house, but it’s the first time I’ve done that since high school.

There are plenty of options for those who don’t want to live under the iron hammer of parental guidance – and you may even be able to replenish your savings account after a year of books and bars.

After my freshman year, I still lived at home in California for a little bit, but I had a job as a photographer for a DJ company, so it was tolerable.

About halfway through my summer, I moved back to Indiana. Instead of taking a four-hour flight from Oakland to Indianapolis, my dad and I drove cross-country. This was definitely my most expensive summer endeavor, but it was an interesting option to a conventional move.

The summer after my sophomore year netted a little bit more cash. I knew I didn’t want to live at home again, so I found a job as a camp counselor in Texas. It was hot. It was hard work. But it was easily one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

It didn’t pay great, but it was enough to get by and be independent of my family for a semester.

Following my junior year, I chose to take some summer classes and get credits out of the way. My most interesting class involved military reporting, and we were even able to go to Fort Knox to cover an ROTC program hosted there.

I chose to live off campus for the summer and was lucky enough to have a friend who subleased their house for fairly cheap.  I made the mistake of waiting until the summer to apply for jobs, but it gave me an opportunity to hone my skills at the Ball State Daily News while we produced fewer papers.

It was also a great experience in living with few resources. I wasn’t able to afford cable or Internet. I can count on one hand the amount of times I ate something other than salami and cheese sandwiches. I didn’t have much money and didn’t have much to do in my house, so I found other ways to spend my time, including volunteer work and keeping my car clean.

If you’re really hurting for cash, there’s one way you can make a good sum by exerting little effort: Find your local plasma center. If you’re not afraid of needles, it’s an easy way to make about $200 in a month. I relied on this strategy for the end of my summer and it saved me from going broke.

My summers have been interesting and I’m glad to finally make a substantial amount of cash this summer in a paid internship, but there’s no replacement for experiences that will make you who you are.

Especially when they keep you from living at home.

Benjamin Dashley is a Ball State University senior and forum and assistant news editor of the Ball State Daily News. He became interested in finance after he was a part of his high school’s Academy of Finance.

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