The stupid tax. You’ve never heard of it? That’s because I made it up. But it’s very real and it is especially expensive when you are young.
This stupid tax is what I call those expenses incurred unnecessarily because of bad luck, bad choices, or a combination of the two. It would keep me up all night if I could figure out how much of my money has gone to the stupid tax over the last several years.
When you are in high school, college, or even a recent graduate, most people are ballin’ on a budget like never before. This may even be the first time in your life you’ve ever really thought about a budget. Once you start paying your own bills, buying your own gas and food, forking over money for tuition and books, and taking care of your own needs, leftover money can be very very precious (if it exists at all!). Don’t let it all go to the stupid tax!
The stupid tax includes but is not limited to the following: parking tickets, late fees, loss or damage to personal items, having to retake and pay for a class you didn’t pass, letting food expire in your refrigerator, etc.
The whole point and the reason the stupid tax is stupid is that all of these expenses are unnecessary. These are things that could’ve been avoided or reduced in one way or another. It makes me think about when I was a kid and my dad was constantly following behind me turning off the lights when I exited a room. It seemed like no big deal to me, probably because I wasn’t paying the power bill, but my dad was making an effort to avoid the stupid tax. Now that I pay the power bill in my own apartment, you better believe I turn the lights off.
Being wasteful is not a victimless crime. Especially when money is tight, it’s best to do everything you can to make it count. I literally wanted to cry at the end of one semester when I owed almost $200 in parking tickets. When I would’ve much rather gone to a concert with my friends or bought a new pair shoes, I had to give the school that money and I had nothing to show for it.
What can you do to avoid spending money on the stupid tax? Know where it is likely to strike. I am notorious for cracking the screen on my cell phone. Now, I make sure I get the cases and the covers and all the fancy stuff to keep that from happening. I also know that if I even think about parking in the wrong spot on campus, they will probably give me a ticket. Therefore, I get to school early so that I can find a real parking spot, not one of my own creation. Do inventory into your own experiences to see where the stupid tax might find an easy target.
The exact opposite of the stupid tax is saving money. Please forgive this ultra cheesy cliché, but a penny saved is a penny earned. I signed up for a one-month trial of ad free music. Be warned! When you have to put in credit card information to get a free trial, they WILL charge you next month, and the month after, and the month after. It was only five bucks though, so it didn’t immediately hit my radar of something I had to fix immediately. Well, a year and a half later, I am almost $100 in the hole for something I don’t even use. The stupid tax strikes again.
Now that I’ve seen this stupid tax in my own life, admittedly much more often then I would like to, I really hate spending money on stuff that doesn’t have value. Every time it happens, it keeps me from spending on things that do have value. I hope now that you know, you can really cut back on how much you’re having to spend on the stupid tax too.
Jessica Casebolt, a former Miss Kentucky, is a correspondent for the The Lane Report. You can reach her at [email protected]