2 ways to make money over winter break

1) Research what scholarships your college offers to current students.

I just Googled “Fredonia scholarships business” and immediately found 14 scholarships for current business students. Scholarships for college students are much less competitive than scholarships for high school students–very few people want to do the work to find them. You need a good GPA, but it’s worth digging around to see what you could get.

If you find a $1,000 scholarship it probably equals the amount of money you were going to make at a part-time job.

2) Start tracking your net worth using personalcapital.com.

Your net worth is significantly more important than how much money you make.

Your net worth is simply your assets (money you have) minus your liabilities (recurring expenses). That’s not entirely accurate, but I’m trying to make a point that a complete novice can understand.

Here is an example that I’ve purposely oversimplified and exaggerated, again to make a point. We will call our example characters “Aristotle” and “Plato.”

a) Aristotle’s monthly income (assets): $5,000 ($60,000 salary). Here’s the brake down of his expenses:

Car payment: $400
Credit card payment: $400
Mortgage payment: $1,200
Groceries: $500
Restaurants: $200
Child care: $1,000
Dog food: $50
Cat food: $50 (Aristotle buys premium cat food)
Entertainment: $400
Random crap he doesn’t need: $800

Aristotle’s monthly expenses (liabilities): $5,000

Aristotle’s net worth after one year: $0

b) Plato’s monthly Income: $3,000 ($36,000 salary). Here’s his brake down:

Car payment: $0 (Plato bought a cheap car and paid for it in full. He lives close to work so he doesn’t need a fancy car that “does well in the winter.” He could walk if he needed to.)
Credit card payment: $0 (Plato doesn’t live beyond his means, so he pays his credit card off in full every month.)
Mortgage payment: $500 (Plato bought a small house in a less expensive housing market.)
Groceries: $200 (Plato knows how to cook and food prep.)
Restaurants: $30 (Plato doesn’t really spend money on overpriced food.)
Child care: $0 (Plato doesn’t have kids. After all, they are optional.)
Dog food: $0 (Plato doesn’t have a dog. They too are optional.)
Cat food: $0 (Ditto.)
Entertainment: $10 (Plato has Netflix. Between that and the library Plato has all he needs.)
Random crap he don’t need: $0 (Duh.)

Plato’s monthly expenses (liabilities): $740

Plato’s net worth after 1 year: $8,880

If Plato takes the $8,800 he saves and invests it every year he will eventually be wealthy. If Aristotle keeps spending money the way he does he will die poor.

You’d think Plato’s life would be significantly worse without all that extra stuff that Aristotle has. But time after time people find that they enjoy living frugally. They might even be happy because of their frugality.

As Thoreau said, “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”

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