Whose fault Is It If you Blow Your College Fund?

In Finance and Budget, People by Megan Toombs Kinard3 Comments

The story of Kim and her $90,000 college fund has gone viral.

The short version of the story is that she spent the money her grandparents left her for college on clothes and a trip to Europe, and, sadly, she is now short the $20,000 needed to pay for her last year of college. Kim says her parents have the money to give her. They say they won’t give her a dime, and she should take out a loan.

The problem with this story, which was reported on The Bert Show, is that Kim has an entitlement mentality,  which is why she’s totally stunned at the thought that she should either get a student loan or get a job at the school, or both.”

I will not quote the young woman, or say much else about the story. Most blogs are excoriating her (and her parents for raising her in such a manner), and I will not continue that trend. I am sorry for her, and so should you be. There but for the grace of God go I.

I will say in her defense, she did not squander $90,000. If one year cost $20,000, then the three years she has been in school cost $60,000. So it appears she only spent $30,000 on things other than college. But, be that as it may, $30,000 is a lot of money.

There are some basic principles of life that can be learned from this situation.

  • Own up to your mistakes. Had Kim taken personal responsibility for her actions, and not tried to blame her parents, people would have commiserated with her and respect her willingness to take responsibility.
  • Take the long view. So many people in the world think only of their current pleasure and not of future benefits. Remember that the money you save now, the pleasure forgone as it were, will be reaped many fold down the line. Make long term plans, keep them flexible, but make them, and don’t live for today only.
  • Be frugal and budget. There is no reason to break the bank. If you want to take a trip to Europe that’s great, but save for it, budget for it, don’t destroy your financial stability by taking that trip now when it could be taken next summer, or the summer after, on a stable financial footing.
  • Remember you can have a lot of fun without spending a ton of money. You don’t have to go to Europe first class, or stay in expensive resorts or hotels. Life is an adventure, look for the less expensive way, see how far you can go on a couple dollars, look for the family owned hostels. This principle holds for everything in life, bargain shop, buy sales, make your own designer bag (or whatever it is you want to own and can’t afford). And remember, never buy impulsively. Think about it, research it, find the good deals, make sure you aren’t wasting your hard earned money (or anyone else’s).
  • Think of others. When you steward your resources wisely, it means that often there is extra to share with others. Actively look for needs that you can meet, and then look for others who can partner with you.

I would love to hear thoughts and comments on this story. Do you have budgeting advice for other readers? Have you taken an awesome trip abroad without spending a lot of money? Tell your stories in the comments below!

Editors Note: This story was updated 7/23/15.

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Megan is the Director of Communications for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and Editor of EarthRisingBlog.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MeganToombs.

Comments

  1. allerlon@yahoo.com'

    My husband planned a three week trip for the two of us to Europe. He read travel books for several months and found how to buy train tickets and some hotels in advance for cost-savings. We went in the off-season, in March, and other than finding Paris and Berlin really cold at night, we enjoyed good weather, especially in Venice and Spain and Portugal. We spent the last ten days in Portugal and Spain where the food and lodging is cheaper, but the views were unbelievable in Porto, Finis Terra, and Spain’s northern coast.
    In one town, after renting a car and driving for several hours, I was so hungry, but we weren’t sure where to find a good and cheap place to eat. One kind, old woman noticed us arguing (it helps that we speak Spanish). She said, “Que os buscais?” which sounded like it came out of the Bible to us because it’s the way the Bible was translated in Spanish several hundred years ago. In English, it was, “What are you looking for?”
    We told her, and then she took me by the arm and led us through the winding streets of the fishing village to Os Tres Golpes, where we shared a huge platter of fresh and delicious seafood for about $30.
    Altogether, my husband calculated afterwards that our trip cost around $7,000, including food and airfare for two. Planning ahead paid off.

  2. Author

    That sounds like an incredible trip! I spent 4 months in Seville, Spain back in college, but never made it up to the northern coast. I heard it is beautiful, and that the food is very good. Early on in college I spent time in Paris, and Venice. They are incredible cities, and it is definitely possible to do it on a budget.

    If you ever decide to return to Europe, I would suggest Croatia, and the surrounding Balkans countries. The scenery, and architecture is unbelievable, the people are super friendly, the food is really good, and the whole trip could be done on a shoestring.

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