Jane’s stupidity was catching up with her. Not only was her on-campus job starting to interfere with her course load, she was back to being super, super stressed about her finances on top of everything else she was stressed about!
The dismal reality of the situation really started to come to light when a study abroad opportunity came up. There were many options to choose from, but knowing she’s a homebody, Jane was drawn to the three weeks in England and Scotland. Not only was the class – British Children’s Literature – something she already loved, Jane has some Northern British heritage running through her family tree, as well!
The problem: Jane’s parent’s, realizing too late they hadn’t properly taught their middle child about money, decided to start then, by making her pay for a third of the trip: $1000.
Jane didn’t have a thousand dollars!! In fact, between the low, low balance in her savings account and the amount of debt she was carrying, Jane couldn’t even SAVE up a thousand dollars! Not in a year. And definitely not by the time the full balance of the trip would be due: 5 months.
Jane had the perfect opportunity to come clean to her parents about her debt, get help, and start over. Instead, stubborn, ashamed, and quite honestly, feeling a little angry and betrayed, Jane lied and said it would be no problem at all.
When she got back to school for the next semester, Jane went to the financial aid office to see what could be done. “No problem,” the counselor said, “You can take out a student loan. You’re eligible to take out $5,500. Would you like the full amount?”
$5,500! Holy cat on the back of a pickup truck!!
Jane did a quick calculation in her head. Sure, she only needed $1,000 dollars, but what a great opportunity!
She didn’t take out the full amount, but she took out enough to pay down her credit cards, pay for her third of the trip, and buy a new laptop, setting what remained aside for purchases around campus. After all, her dorm had installed a new Starbucks on the ground floor that year, and she intended to patronize it.
Total amount of stupid tax #1: $4,110
If only that had taken care of her problems. But Jane didn’t realize — she had developed some terrible financial habits. She behaved for a while, but stupidity always comes back for the people who aren’t paying attention.
By the time Jane had returned from her amazing three weeks abroad, all her credit cards were maxed out again. Only this time, four out of five of her credit limits had been increased. Increased because she had “proven” herself to be “responsible” by paying her balances off in full.
Poor, stupid Jane.