Five Expensive Things That Are Way Less Important Than Your Education
I get it. College is expensive, finding a good job right now is challenging – even if you already have a degree. And the idea of investing a couple of years of your life and (unless you’re receiving employer or military education benefits) your money without some kind of guaranteed payoff at the end can be unsettling.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, education – a college education – is important. But why is education more valuable than certain luxuries?
We’ve answered this question several ways before, but I wanted to frame it in a little different way today, just to help keep things in perspective. Here’s a list of things that lots of people spend money and time on that have far less impact on your future security than a college education.
1. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
According to the College Board, a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012–2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289.
Until the day arrives that a car can get you a job or pay for your groceries, hang on to your reliable, reasonably-priced vehicle (or take the bus).
Yes, coffee costs significantly less than an SUV, but still – how much does a cup of joe really contribute to your life? Can it get you an interview? Or a promotion? I think not.
A 2011 Consumerist report says the Average American spends about $1,100 each year on coffee. That’s a lot of money that could be put to better use. Like, say, on tuition, or textbook rental or a high-functioning laptop.
3. PET COSTUMES
The National Retail Federation estimates that 22 million people will dress up their pets for Halloween and spend an estimated $330 million on pet costumes alone. Pet. Costumes. $330 million. I’ll wait while that little factoid sinks in.
That works out to be an average of $150 per pet owner. You could rent three textbooks online for the price of Fido’s custom Darth Maul costume and accessories.
4. TEETH WHITENING
The average cost of dental-assisted whitening treatment is about $650 – and the 10 million people who bought over the counter whitening products spent about $140 each year for their shiny smile.
A shiny smile is a good asset to have, and according to the American Cosmetic Dentistry Association nearly 2/3rds of Americans believe an unattractive smile can hurt your social standing. But you know what can hurt your job standing? Not having an education.
5. TICKETS TO SPORTING EVENTS
College sports alone can cost at least $50 per ticket per game for students. In fact, according to a survey by ticket distributor TiQ, the average single ticket price to a college football game at one of the top 25 ranked football schools is $161.08. Multiply that by the number of games in a season and if you’re a sports fan, you’re shelling out a lot of cash that could be used toward your future employability.
It’s your future, and your financial investment. Before you plunk down your hard-earned dollars, think about what you’d rather have. Will you spend your money on discretionary “nice-to-have” items, or on where the real value is- your education and skills?
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