College Connect: Why I have a Safety Net

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Charlie Clark, Arizona State University Cronkite School

dd-12-of-17I got my first job at 19 making $8.25 per hour working in a coffee shop. Although I would by no means characterize that as good pay, I was in college on a scholarship, and it was certainly enough income to fill my gas tank and supply my diet of ramen and microwavable mac n’ cheese.

Although my only real motivation for saving at the time was to increase my potential funds for going to San Diego Comic Con, I had relatively low expenditures and actually did a pretty good job of saving nonetheless. In about four months working give or take 20 hours a week, I had managed to save upwards of $1,500.

This was particularly handy when I moved into my first apartment with a cousin around that time. We split the cost of rent, move in expenses, utilities and the like, which ate about $900 of my savings.

This proved to be a challenge because summer hours working in a college town coffee shop significantly decrease, but I was still working, I just was no longer able to save much of my income.

However a month into this endeavor, I realized just how disadvantageous it was to not be able to save or have more savings, when I got to the end of the month and my roommate had quit his job, had no desire to return to work and decided he didn’t want to pay his half of the rent.

I had nowhere near enough money to cover this unexpected life event and had to call my folks to help bail me out and cover the cost of breaking my lease and moving out.

Although the entire experience was terrible, in retrospect I really took two things from that disaster. One, I am very fortunate to have parents who are able and willing to bail me out. And two, and this actually relates to money, events like that exemplify why it is so important to have a rainy day fund because I didn’t have enough savings to weather that storm, and if I didn’t have my folks I would have been in a very challenging situation.

SABEW - Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication,
Arizona State University

555 North Central Ave, Suite 406 E, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1248


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