College Connect: First savings account. First laptop. First big money lesson.

By Alyson Garcia

Two weeks after I turned 17, I was looking for a job. I realized I was going to need a computer in college and that I only had a year to raise $1,500 which seemed like a lot at the time. All my friends had jobs and paid at least one bill whether it was gas, insurance, or phone. All of them paid something and I paid nothing.

After searching for two weeks, I got a call back from Kohl’s department store. Once I started working I wanted to spend my money on everything except bills. I always had the new clothes, technology or makeup.  I realized three months before I graduated high school that I was going to be broke when I go to college and wasn’t able to work.

I asked my mom for advice and she told me that she was waiting for me to talk to her about this. She told me it was time to open a savings account. She took me to the bank and helped me set one up with the teller.

Kohl’s paid us weekly on Fridays, so for the next five months I would take half of whatever my paycheck was and put it in my savings account. I would get paid about $200 every week so around $100 would go into that savings account every Friday. By the end of that summer I had around $2,500.

I then had some unfortunate events occur two weeks before I left for Mizzou. I was at a pizza joint with my family when a waitress starts asking around about someone who drives a light blue Volkswagen. I told her that I did and she proceeded to walk me to my car where I saw smashed glass and an dented door. My car had been broken into and all they took was an empty purse.

The damages to the car were a little under $2,000 after insurance. I was left with $500 in my savings account and two weeks to find the money to pay for a laptop for college. I was thankful for the savings account when my car got broken into however since otherwise I don’t know how I would’ve paid for it.

The next two weeks were insane for me. I picked up shifts that put me over 40 hours each of the two weeks just to make enough money. Within those last two weeks I made about $800 which put me a little over $1,300 end total, just enough to buy a laptop that will last.  I bought the laptop and had about $50 left in that savings account.

I am now a sophomore in college still using the same laptop I worked so hard to get. I still have that savings account my mother helped me set up unfortunately, it has not seen the money flow that it once had seen.

College is hard in the first place. Saving money while in college is even harder.

I am happy I had that savings account because what would I have done with my car? How would I have gotten a laptop? How would I buy my textbooks every semester?

A savings account is crucial in everyone’s lives but in college it is even more so. Even if you have help right now to pay for the emergencies that happen in your life, when you graduate is that help still going to be there?

My savings account started to help me become financially responsible and I personally believe it can do the same for everyone.

Alyson Garcia is a sophomore at the University of Missouri.

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