Archive for Uncategorized

My College Years Were the Worst Years of My Life -(“Good Kid” Part III)

Happy Thursday and welcome back to my series about growing up as the “good kid” where I whine and complain about how I don’t know how to adult (seriously though. Thank you for the platform). Today I want to dive into my college experience and how despite being told “college will be the best years of your life”, my college years were in fact, the worst years of my life.

I mentioned in a previous post that I briefly attended Purdue University. It was the only school I applied to and I only applied to it because I hadn’t missed the deadline and panicked about finding a college to attend in the fall. I lasted one semester. I took 5 classes. I passed 1 of them… Big difference from my 3.9 high school GPA, huh?

I attribute this to a lot of factors. The first one is most obviously: I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be home with my friends. I was the only one of my friends who went away to college so I always felt like I was missing out on things back home. My friends came to visit me often and whenever they did, I ached to go home. I only allowed myself to go home a couple times in that semester because I knew going home would be painful. I had a few friends (all of whom I befriended either during the freshman week activities where we were forced to hang out with our group or from my part time job at Dairy Queen).

Going from being told so straight-forward what was expected of me my entire life to having complete freedom was challenging to say the least. Although there were still expectations, this time I had them being thrown at me from all different directions, like a game of dodgeball where I was the only one on my team and the opposing team was comprised of the other 7 billion people that live on this planet, thus making it impossible not to get hit all the time, by everything. I spent most of my days during the one semester I spent at University laying in bed, not going to class with my part time job at DQ as the only thing I had to live for. I had been used to being passionate about my songwriting and being praised for my academic successes that suddenly being a below-average nobody was a huge shock. I had already been used to suppressing my depression for 6 or 7 years at this point so I didn’t think it would be of any use to seek any form of help (although later on, several people have admitted to me that they were, in fact worried about me).

After one semester and only passing one class (my Spanish class. I already spoke Spanish so it’s not like there was any hard work involved in that. Plus my professor was super cool and kind and made me want to come to class. We even talked a little bit about some of my struggles at one point, I think), I dropped out. I had already attempted to run away during that first semester so its not like I had any hope that the next one would turn around. After dropping out of University, my parents didn’t give me a choice about still going to college. I still had to go to community college and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and was still super depressed about wasting my time and money. It took me two and a half years after that to complete an Associate Degree (that I still don’t use) following the same pattern of not going to class and failing classes and struggling with finding reasons to live-if I am going to be completely honest. I didn’t make a single friend in college. I did later on choose to take some online classes through Penn Foster Career School and I have thoroughly enjoyed those actually.

To this day, I don’t see any benefit in my college experience and I think about it often when I have to make large monthly payments on my students loans when that money could be put to much better use such as traveling or even my wedding, or my mortgage or really anything but the useless piece of paper that sits on a shelf collecting dust. I have a job I enjoy. I don’t think banking is my passion in life but I do somewhat enjoy going to work. The college chapter being closed is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t want you to read this and automatically think that college is a waste of time and money. It wasn’t for me. I have no concept of who I am or what I want to do. If you do-embrace that!

 

5 REASONABLE Tips to Help Make Travel More Affordable.

Over time, I have read probably hundreds of articles full of tips and tricks to make traveling more affordable Most of them contain the same tips. I have tried many of them but also decided that many of them were too ridiculous to try. Although I hope to some day, I don’t have the ability right now to be as flexible with my travel schedule and destinations as some of these tips would like.

I have compiled a list of 5 of these tips (and tips within a tip) that I actually use and that have actually helped me.

  1. Loyalty.

Loyalty to a specific airline or hotel group can make a huge difference if you travel frequently. Loyalty to a certain airline or hotel group simply means using that airline or hotel group whenever possible and become a member of their offered rewards programs. Personally, I am loyal to Delta Airlines and the IHG hotel group. I accumulate tons of points by flying and staying with them as well as using the credit card. There are many benefits within these groups as well. By having a Delta credit card, I can check a free bag which saves about $50 per flight if I choose to check a bag and most of the hotels I stay in have free breakfast (including fruit, yogurt and pastries you can take with you for free snacks). I had enough SkyMiles to fly to Los Angeles earlier this year after only flying a few times prior and due to hotel points, I haven’t had to pay for the majority of the rooms I’ve booked this year either. Even if it doesn’t always seem like the best deal, it’s still the best deal. Sometimes it is not always worth it to forfeit hundreds SkyMiles of points toward a free night to save $20-30 once.

2. Research the crap out of your flights before you book.

I know some tips say to browse for flights incognito and infrequently to avoid prices going up. Those are good tips too. It’s also a pretty well known fact that flying on weekends and Monday mornings are not always the cheapest option. But it really doesn’t hurt to do a little research still. This morning, I booked a flight to Atlanta. I debated for a while whether or not I wanted to pay for a flight or drive but due to the fact that I have to drive to St. Louis the week before, I decided I wanted to fly. My dates and times were not super flexible. I was willing to leave a little earlier on the flight there to save money but I had to book an evening flight for the way back. The roundtrip price for the flights I would need would have been $366.40 -a bit much for a 2 day trip. When I checked out one way tickets there and back, they were a lot cheaper. My flight theres was $110.20 and my flight back (the Friday evening flight I needed) was only $118.20 making my roundtrip $228.40, which is $138 cheaper than the roundtrip price. I highly recommend looking into breaking up your flights to see if you can get a cheaper price.

3. Open a savings account that’s harder to access.

As silly as this sound, it helps so much. I found that when I just moved money between two accounts at the same bank, it was very easy for me to take money out of savings whenever I wanted and it was almost impossible to save money. Having accounts in different places adds a few extra steps to the money moving process making it more difficult and less worth while to go to all that trouble for a few dollars here and there. This is my #1 tip out of all of these.

4. The dreaded cash back and survey apps.

I’m not even going to lie, these are my least favorite tips to read. The idea of downloading things onto my devices to make a few dollars a month does not appeal to me but there are a few I actually use that actually help. No, you’re not going to make a fortune off of surveys and cash back apps. It doesn’t work that way. But I’ve used an app called Ibotta for about two years and have gotten almost $100 back over time just for buying things I normally buy. It is worth a few extra seconds after my shopping trip to scan my receipt and items and build up a significant amount of cash back. I don’t do a lot of paid surveys because I find them to be annoying and mostly scam as sometimes they’ll have you answer a ton of questions only to tell you that you don’t qualify but sometimes I will use MySurvey.com while I watch tv and earning $10 here and there is pretty nice.

Incase you wanted to give either of these a try, we might as well help each other out. Use my code wogywyh when signing up for Ibotta and we will both earn faster. *not sponsored. Just thought I’d give it a shot.

5. Just do the freaking expensive thing you wanted to do.

Um… what? How in the world does that save money? Here’s the thing: it might or it might now. But if you don’t do that one thing you were the most excited about, your trip will not be fulfilling and as a result, you’ll probably spend a lot more money trying to overcompensate for your experience. So just do it. It’s not worth it if you don’t have the time of your life.

 

I hope you find these tips helpful. I personally use them all and I wanted to create my own list of no bullshit travel “life hacks”.