College Connect: Don’t be penny safe and pound foolish when making big decisions

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By Kouichi Shirayanagi

Perhaps the worst decision I made over the past year with my money was when I did not spend more to save anguish in the future, but I just did not know what the future held for me.

After I got married in Tunisia, I had to mail my wife’s application for permanent residency to the USCIS processing center in Omaha, Nebraska. I went to the post office in Tunis thinking that I would express mail the application but when I got there, I found out that the particular branch office did not do express mail. The lady at the desk told me that if I went to the main office I could express mail for about $25 and my application would get to the United States in “a few days” but if I sent the application regular mail for $1.50 it would get to the United States “in a week.”

I foolishly listened to the lady and sent the application regular mail instead of express mailing the application because I did not think there would be a major time difference in delivery. However, I was horribly mistaken.

Instead of getting to Nebraska in a week, the application took seven weeks to get to USCIS. This unnecessarily delayed my wife’s immigration visa. I have not heard the end of this mistake from my wife. If I had mailed the application fast, my wife probably would have had her visa interview by now but we celebrated our one year anniversary recently and my wife still has not had her visa interview scheduled with the American Embassy in Tunis yet.

The lesson: penny safe and pound foolish is really foolish. I had no idea how long the immigration process would take and regret mailing my wife’s documents slowly. Sometimes spending really saves in the long-run.


Shiranyangi is a graduate student at the University of Missouri.

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