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Aid: The F Crash Course

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Aid: the F Crash Course

Whether you’re starting out on your own for the first time or a veteran of making ends meet somehow through your college years, a little advice never hurt anyone, and since it’s not true what cynical people say about advice being free and people getting what they pay for, I have finally found a way to use my Masters Degree in Finance from the University of Phoenix online* to provide for you, dear reader, some advice on how to get through these formative financial years without locking yourself in a tomb of financial despair and anxiety.


Add up all the money you have coming in. This is money your parents give you or money the school gives you when you eventually get your refund eventually from them one day at the end of the semester. Nevermind; don’t add that money in, because they may change their mind and not give it to you until a few semesters from now. We could call this set of numbers your “fixed income,” or we could just call it your phat wad of cash. It’s totally up to you.



Then add up all the stuff you have to pay to live, your “fixed expenses.” This is things like rent, insurance payments, phone bills—stuff that doesn’t change much from month to month. What about expenses that change, like your grocery bill and that nasty meth habit you picked up at that rave downstate? Those are “variable expenses,” and you should use your best guess at what that would be. Since you don’t have a meal plan at the school, you’ll have to figure out whether you’re going to eat at home or at Cosi or both, add up the expenses of groceries and what you’ll allow yourself for lunch or dinner every day. Ask your mom what she thinks is reasonable. Then add five dollars for a beer. Bingo. There you go.


After you’re done covering the basics (food, rent, art supplies, books, tampons), subtract that from your fixed income number and wowee zowee, what you’re left with is your FUN money. That’s the money you get to spend on shopping, drugs, off-track betting, and dancing with your friends on the weekend.


Any good financial planner will tell you that you should be saving ten percent of your income all the time so that you can have a little nest egg of cash in case you get hit by an SUV and get your teeth knocked out and then have to come up with 3500 dollars so you don’t look like a freak all the time and get new teeth. I’m going to tell you not to do that, because you’re in college, and I’m truly a financial wizard. Unless your parents are loaded, in which case you should pad all your expenses a little and stash cash away ten percent in case one day you make some art that pisses your parents off, and then they’re all “We thought you were going to paint pictures of mountains” and you’re all, “Well, this is conceptual, see, and I had to cast my weiner and that girl’s labia to say what I need to say,” and then your grandpa’s all to your parents all “Cut him off. My friends think he’s a pornographer! I can’t show his work to anybody!” And then you’ll snicker because you’ve been stashing away all that cash grandpa made selling cigarettes to teens in the 80’s, but then later he’ll be surprised by your industriousness when he sees how well you’ve done for yourself, casting your girlfriends’ parts and selling them in Germany. But if you’re poor, don’t stress about saving and saving. Because you need to pay dem bills.


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago: financial aid…

College budget calculator –

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