The Economista: A Critical Review

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Welcome to The Economista! Brought to you by your first-year blogger/new best friend Karine Liu, The Economista is a blog for the budget-conscious Brunonian! Check back here each week for the tips and tricks that’ll have you rolling in your own sea of green out on the Main Green in no time!

In a shorter time than it takes for a Andrewsian to get down to Andrews Commons (about 4.2 seconds, if I’m hungry), the semester is winding down. Now thrown into the mystery that is Reading Period, I can’t help but spend time/productively procrastinate reflecting on my past 4 months at Brown. And while I’m relatively proud of my debit card balance (which is thankfully not fatally wounded), I definitely have some “New Semester” Resolutions that I’d actually like to hold myself to in January.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned, cash becomes basically irrelevant while on campus. Between meal credits, points, and Bear bucks, there has never been a need for me to carry cash, beyond the odd a capella concert or film screening. When I did leave campus and had to spend money, I would often resort to using card, since I rarely had more than five singles crinkled in the odd jacket pocket.

However, this, my friends, is dangerous.

Why? Well, whenever I would buy a bubble tea from Snotea or pizza from Nice Slice using my card, it would never seem to stick in my brain that I just spent money. Looking back at my transaction list now, I’m a little shocked, especially since I thought I was being so good! Having cash on hand would probably force me to remember how I spent and to be more careful as that cash dwindles. Hopefully, by letting my card get some dust, I’ll be avoiding that end-of-semester heart attack next semester.

What ties into preventing almost unconscious spending is writing down EVERYTHING. Although I’ve been pretty dedicated to recording meal credits/points, I’ve been lax in the off-campus department. Being my own Warren Buffet will make me feel more accountable/guilty. Here’s to the start of a new Google Spreadsheet!

Finally, this last resolution of mine will likely be the hardest: being mindful of spending when out with friends. It can be all too tempting to continually fork over your cash when you and your friends are out having a great time. You feel like it’s a bit awkward when your friend’s gotten five sweaters from Forever 21 and you’re emptyhanded. Or when your friends want lattes at 10pm, but “artisan coffees” just aren’t worth it to you.

Admittedly, these kinds of situations are intimidating, but I’d like to think that the awkwardness that I think would ensure is a figment of my imagination (like most of my worries are). More than likely what will happen is that your friends will understand and probably envy you for your self-discipline (but maybe not so much later when you’re watching Netflix instead of studying for that Chem final).

And that’s it, folks! I hope you have enjoyed my money-saving tips throughout the semester and that you’ll be back for more fun in January. This experience at the Bruin Club has been fantastic and I’m so excited for more! Have an amazing holiday!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for any topics you’d like to see covered by The Economista, email me at karine_liu@brown.edu! See you next week!

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