Hurriqueen: Tips for cash-crunched students

Dear Hurriqueen,

My family has been hit hard by the economic crisis. I’m financially registered for my classes and all, but I had to take out loans this semester to pay for my rent and living expenses. By the time everything is paid for every month, I have very little money to spend. What sucks is that my friends continue to enjoy the “Miami” lifestyle. They hit up the clubs in South Beach, shop at Merrick and Bal Harbour, and basically buy whatever they want. I don’t know how to tell them that I can’t spend as foolishly as I once did, but I also don’t want to be the loser sitting at home. How can I have fun on a small budget and retain my dignity and reputation?


Trying to Adjust


Dear Reader,

It’s a sad day when the nation’s consumers are halting investments not only on Wall Street, but also Fifth Avenue. Indeed, if you read or watch the news, you should know by now that you’re not the only spoiled American on the edge of financial ruin.

The fact is that all of us, even our educational institution, have to cut back on spending. As President Shalala said in her university-wide email address last week, “[The university’s] long habit of working within our means will serve us well at this difficult time.”

The message? Downsizing is both smart and necessary!  And though you’ve already dealt with this reality, I get the feeling that you’re shameful, embarrassed and have not yet accepted it. Instead, I think you should feel proud of yourself for rolling with the punches.

As for your friends, tell me, what kinds of people are only down to chill if you have the doe to throw away $75 on endless mojitos at the Delano every Saturday? Are your friends so pretentious that they don’t want to spend quality time with you outside a Betsy Johnson boutique?

You don’t have to tell your pals every little detail of the challenges you’re overcoming, but you can start suggesting alternative activities that fit your new budget. Surely, if your friends love you, they’ll be just as happy to trade the upscale experiences for Bud on Biscayne beach or hunting for vintage items at consignment shops. Hell, you might even enjoy the change of scenery! But if they don’t, it would seem as if your circumstances have revealed more about them than you. Indeed, perhaps you’d be better off with a group that is more down-to-earth.  

One last piece of advice: If you’re really ticked off about this economic crisis, maybe you can channel that energy into helping Barack Obama get the opportunity to put this nation on the right track. Volunteering is free… but priceless.


The Hurriqueen

October 5, 2008


The Hurriqueen

Advice Columnist

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Hurriqueen: Tips for cash-crunched students”

  1. Jerals says:

    DO NOT TAKE OUT LOANS to by starsux or shop at high price places like merrick park or bal harbor. Get a part time job for extra spending money or take out loans for essentials like ramen noodles and peanut butter, but do not take out loans to blow onstupid things. You will be paying interest on that fancy cup of coffee that compounds for years to come and may not be able to find any kind of job when you graduate to pay off your debt. Do not take out variable interest rate loans or private ones under any circumstances. If you are funding your education through loans in this climate, i would seriously think about transferring to a public college where you won’t be around people shopping at bal harbor. UM is a great school, but not if you have to go into debt 200k to pay for it. If it ever attains the reputation of U of Chicago, then maybe taking out serious loans might be worth it, but even then, I wouldn’t want to chance it. If you have lots of scholarships and a part time job and don’t mind living frugally, then UM is great. Just don’t get caught in this delusion that you can take out loans to keep up w/ the Joneses at UM.

  2. Ash says:

    As weird as it sounds, being semi-broke builds character. It makes you appreciate what you have and gives you a good ability to judge what you need and don’t need. I was TOTALLY broke in college and now that I’ve graduated and landed the coveted paid internship, I have a bit more money, but surprisingly have still frugal with that way I spend it. You’ll learn to appreciate the free or less-expensive activities. You should definitely get one of those Entertainment Books (www.entertainment.com). There’s lots of coupons. You’ll save so much money maybe you’re high-rolling friends will be jealous. :)

    Hope it works out for you!

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