Cutting down wasteful spending isn’t just for the government

College students’ wallets are always tight. But for students in Kentucky, their wallets will soon be stretched tighter than the surface of a drum.

As if the impending state budget cuts will not add enough economic burdens on students, it now seems that a recession is inevitable in this country.

Students will be directly affected by the shrinking of the job market and loss of internship opportunities. Additionally, their families may take an even greater hit; consequently, parents may be limited in their ability to contribute financially to their child’s education.

So what do we do as students? Instinctively, I turn to Gov. Steve Beshear for the answer. As our governor said during the State of the Commonwealth Address, “It is not a time for whining or ‘woe is us’ — it is a time for … temporary cost cutting.” Indeed, to fight through personal economic challenges, we must tighten the purse and maximize our limited economic resources to meet growing needs.

One way for students to save money is to cook their own meals and eat out less, especially for those with convenient access to a kitchen, i.e. students living off-campus. Cooking is economical, is an essential skill in life and can also be fun. Paying $7 for a Qdoba burrito seems reasonable enough, but one can also make a hefty ham and turkey sandwich with veggies for only a dollar or two. Also, making a large pot of beef, potato and veggie stew over the weekend can provide you dinner for the entire week.

If you have a credit card, don’t spend what you can’t pay off in a month. Making minimum payments will get you by for a while, but interest rates grow outrageously (check your contract with the credit card company), so be aware of how much you owe. If you are already in debt on a credit card, make paying off the balance your top priority.

Besides finding ways to save money, the other logical solution to help paying your bills is to find more ways to make money.

For those who do not yet have a part-time job but have the spare time, finding a job may be a good idea. Even if you don’t need the extra money now, it’s never bad to have some spare cash.

Applying for scholarships and grants is another source of income many students overlook.

It is a common misconception that scholarships and grants are only available to students of spectacular academic achievements. While a pristine GPA will certainly help an applicant’s chances in most scholarship pools, not all scholarships are focused on academic achievements alone.

Some scholarships are for those who face adversity in the forms of race, gender, family history, etc.; some recognize students with achievements in a specific area, such as community service; some are associated with a future career; some are even hometown scholarships only for a certain city’s residents. So chances are everyone can find a scholarship or two that is intended for them.

We pray daily to our God/gods/Flying Spaghetti Monster that the budget cuts and the consequent tuition raises will not materialize, and we tell ourselves that the recession is but a nightmare cooked up by wacky economists. At the same time, it is in our best interest to prepare for the inevitable hard times ahead.

So unless our God/gods/FSM answer our sincere prayers and do so quickly, being a penny pincher will soon become a necessity.

Linsen Li is a history and journalism junior. E-mail [email protected]