Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TANSTAAFL: The Most Important Thing I Learned in College

I was an ok student in high school, so when it came to my education, The University of Tennessee at Knoxville was just fine for me. I applied nowhere else, and it was virtually in my parents' backyard, although I did live on campus. My mother was not really happy with what she saw unfolding in the next two years. The problem was that I grew progressively what she might refer to as "fringe-y." My friends were "different," (my escort's hair was probably four inches longer than mine at my debutante presentation), but most disturbing was my choice of curriculum. I was the Renaissance woman of Liberal Arts, studying everything from cultural anthropology to art history and came out of my sophomore year with a 3.78. I had sort of played around with the idea of delving into the roots of poverty, but that was going to take a lot more years of schooling than I wanted to give at that point. I was already tired of going to class. As we were both unhappy with my prospects, Mom and I had a heart-to-heart talk. Result: I switched to the oh-so-practical business school.

I moved into a four-year bachelor program in the College of Business called Office Administration. The next two years were pure business courses which included the secretarial core, but it also forced me to other business basics including economics.

I wasn't as good in economics as I was in sociology or zoology, but I enjoyed it. I feel fortunate to have been lectured at by the great Dr. Tony Spiva via recorded tv about the basics of economics, along with a few hundred other undergrads jammed into lecture halls across campus. He taught me a lot; but there was one important truth that I process every day: THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH or TANSTAAFL.

There are costs to saving money. Costs in time planning, reading other frugal people's blogs, clipping coupons, mapping out shopping trips, making those trips, mailing in rebates. It's all about making the commitment and maintaining the discipline. But as we all know, once a discipline becomes a habit, it's something to which one looks forward.

Gotta go--time for my exercise class!

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