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College Poverty Can Be a Blessing

By Kristian Costello

With Tax Day coming up on April 17th, I have been doing a lot of financial self reflection. As a struggling 20-year-old New School University student in Manhattan with $20,000 of student loans and a credit score of 451 on a good day, I know a lot about being poor. Yet being a young person  living in a lower tax bracket is not always as bad as it seems. While being broke isn’t fun, living a life of affluence might be even more difficult. There’s a number of things to worry about when you’re rich, everything from vacations, to cars, restaurants, or even your family and inner circle  could cause you hardships. Here is what less affluent pupils like myself don’t have to worry about.

1. Reservations: You don’t have to fret about not getting a table at the hot new restaurant that everyone has been talking about, since you can’t afford to eat out there — or anywhere. With dorm cafeteria food, there’s less choices and thus less headaches.

2. Transportation Woes:  You never have to deal with flat tires or running out of gas — because you can’t afford to own  a car. Luckily in a big city like mine walking is free and the subway and busses are almost affordable.

3. Friends: If you have an empty bank account, you never have to worry about fake pals who could just be using you for your money and connections, because you don’t have any. And luckily half of my classmates are as poor and unconnected as I am.

4. Going out for drinks: Moët or Clicquot? Neither! As a lower income individual, you don’t have to make that difficult decision. You know that your go to drink is a bottom shelf vodka-soda.

5. Sickness: Feeling a little ill? No biggie. You don’t have to worry about making a doctors appointment since you don’t have insurance. Just take an off-brand tylenol and call it a day, go to the E. R. or student health services. There will be tons of other pathetic looking pupils sitting next to you, coughing and wheezing,   so you won’t feel out of place.

6. Stress: If you’re feeling flipped out, don’t worry. Since you can’t afford health insurance, you don’t have to make an appointment to see your therapist. You can have a nice calming glass of herbal tea. My favorite is Herbal Essences Tension Tamer Tea, perfect on bad days. Or just take a walk around campus with fellow students commiserating how broke you are.

7. Retirement planning: Your part-time low-paying job may not match you on contributions to your 401k, but no worries. Statistics show that you’ll likely be dead before you have a chance to collect social security. In this economy you might never even get a good job you have to retire from anyway.

8. April is Not the Cruelest Month: The best part about being a poor academic is that you don’t even have to pay taxes. If you’re making under $10,000 a year, you are exempt from filing. Sure, you may be living below the poverty line, but at least you don’t have to go through the hassle of H & R Block. And by the time you graduate, get a job and make enough money to  pay taxes, a new president might even restore the student loans deductions.

Article illustration: “Money” by Monochrome

 

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