This I Believe

Stephanie - Cleveland, Ohio
Entered on February 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Learning the Hard Way

Living at home and being able to get what I wanted, when I wanted it lead to a spoiled and sheltered life. Even though school is expensive, I still received money to go shopping whenever I wanted to. I never thought about paying bills or tuition, because my parents paid for it all. I have since found out that going away to college and learning from my mistakes have helped me to become more independent and responsible, because I learned to manage my money.

I was raised by both my parents in Cleveland, Ohio. I am the third child of four. My parents are working hard to put three kids through college and one through a Catholic high school. While I was growing up, my father always told me, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” I knew that, but I didn’t understand what he meant by it. I always thought if he had it when I wanted it before, he would have money for me later. I never listened until now.

I am a freshman at the University of Cincinnati. I chose to attend UC because the university has an excellent nursing program, but I also wanted to be as far away from home as possible. My views on that eventually changed. Even though I knew I would be four hours away from home, reality kicked in when I recognized I wouldn’t see my family when I wanted to. I realized I had to learn to manage my money, because my parents aren’t here to give me money on a daily basis like before.

The past school quarter, I didn’t take my money seriously. I was at the malls and Newport Shopping Plaza every weekend. I spent my money on going out to eat, clothes, shoes and I even did some Christmas shopping. I didn’t care that my money was going fast, as long as I was looking good! When I got home for Christmas break my bank statement came in the mail. I spent over $500 in three months. My dad was furious. He then told me he didn’t have the money to put my siblings and me through school and for me to spend money on unnecessary clothes. This was my wakeup call that I needed to start taking my money issues more seriously.

I never realized how expensive school was until I had to use my own money to pay for books and part of my tuition. Knowing I couldn’t receive money right when I needed it, I learned that I had responsibilities to take care of. I now understand I can’t go shopping as much as I used to and that there is nothing wrong with window shopping. School comes first. I now spend my money on my needs as opposed to my wants. I believe moving away from home and learning from my mistakes of spending too much money, have helped me to become more independent and responsible. I have learned to manage my money successfully.