Jacob McGuire

I am going on my fifth year of college, and the phrase “poor college student,” comes up constantly.

I hate, hate, hate this phrase. I am not sure why it irks me so badly. It has often come at opportune times like when the bill comes at a restaurant with a generous acquaintance, or as an understanding by folks when a tip is mediocre.

Maybe the problem lies with the high frequency “poor college student” is used, or maybe it just seems corny when I see the satisfied look of someone noticing that I am living up to the standard of “poor college student.”

“Oh you are eating Ramen Noodles, you are such a poor college student.” “Oh you are paying for laundry detergent with nickels and dimes, you are such a poor college student,” “Oh look at the little scamp, he dug through my trash and is reusing the toothbrush that I threw out last week because the tough bristles were causing my gums to recede.” (Or is that just me?)

The truth is, I do not even like Ramen Noodles, and I do not believe that I have eaten Ramen Noodles of any kind in the past four years. I apologize for eating things other than Ramen Noodles. If by admitting that fact I lose favor among those that take comfort in the familiarity of college students being broke, Ramen eating, dime counting, toothbrush reusing fools, then so be it.
Now that the whiney rant is out of the way, I am going to completely contradict myself and admit something: I am a poor college student. I scrimp, I have bought $4 worth of gas using change, and I do sometimes bring an empty jug to the cafeteria to fill with milk.

It does not help that I have the money management skills of MC Hammer. Often times when I come into some money, I go into some kind of blackout spending rage and when I come to I am laying in a pile of receipts from Best Buffet, Season 1 of Are You Afraid of the Dark, and an impressive, yet unnecessary fake moustache collection (Best Buy has a fake moustache machine outside of it, FYI, for those that need to go incognito for a few days.)

I am working on this spending problem. I went to Great Debate Books and skimmed the financial section, and I got a crayon shaped bank from Dollar Tree that is filling nicely. I am taking these positive steps toward cutting out overdraft fees altogether.
A great way Quincy is assisting in money saving techniques is by being home to several top-notch second hand stores. These thrift stores are my favorite places to shop. Sure we have a variety of department stores, but I doubt I am going to find a Bald Eagle statue that is filled with aftershave for a quarter at Kohls.

At the start of the school year, my friend and I had some necessary purchases. Mike needed a coffee table and a bookcase, I needed some new (to me) clothes and stuff to decorate my new apartment with.
Our first stop was to The Crossing Thrift Store located at 907 N. 36th Street. The Crossing has a great collection of second-hand furniture, clothing, and dishes.

It’s starting to get embarrassing sharing the one cup in my apartment with guests so I bought a couple of Smurf glasses I am extremely proud of. I also managed to find two pairs of pants and three shirts all for a total of $9.00. Beat that JCPenney.

Next we headed to the People’s Thrift Store located at 120 N. 5th Street. They have got all of the belt buckles and funny hats a person could ask for.

Our third stop was at the classic, always dependable, Salvation Army on Maine Street. Mike had to talk me out of buying a huge old rusty birdcage, I’m trying not to resent him for his levelheadedness.

Our last stop was at The Yard Sale Store located on Maine Street. The place is packed full of furniture in one room and random things in the other. Mike was able to find a really nice end table for $12. I got a WWE video game for $2.00.

Altogether the thrift store-shopping trip was a great experience. I spent $11.00 and now have clothing, something to drink out of and entertainment. Next stop financial freedom.