Wednesday, April 8, 2009

consumption

I mentioned before that I am taking a class called "Alternatives to Consumerism." It is an interesting class, and I like it, I really do, but the portion of it we're in now is, well, not very helpful. We're doing a project about our personal spending habits, in which we're supposed to track all of the money we spend for one week. I guess this is supposed to be some enlightening experience in which we realize we spend more money than we think we do on things we don't really need or enjoy, and then decide what areas we want to cut back in, and if there are any areas in which we could increase spending to increase fulfillment. Which is all well and good, I suppose, but the thing is, I don't spend money that often. And very rarely on unnecessary things. And I don't feel like I'm skimping on anything, either.

My largest category of spending by far is classes (we had to figure out how much each class is costing us based on what we're paying/will have to pay back for tuition), which isn't really a variable—I want to continue attending this college, so that's what it's going to cost; I can't really cut back there. My next largest category is "necessary food," which is higher than I want it to be, but that's because I'm on the school's meal plan. Again, not really a whole lot I can realistically do about that (I certainly don't have time to shop and cook for myself, and from what I hear, getting off board is a pain in the ass anyway). My other three categories are "recreational food" ($25.65), "school supplies" ($2.44), and "other" ($31.39, twenty of which was the fee for the ballroom competition last weekend). Those all seem quite reasonable to me.

And not only am I satisfied with my spending, I had a pretty good idea of what most of those numbers were going to look like beforehand; this was not in any way an "enlightening" experience. Which, of course, leads to a problem: we're supposed to write a 3-4 page reflection paper on what we've learned from this project, but I haven't learned anything! I already knew what my spending habits were, and kept careful track of where my money was going, and was just fine with that. So what am I supposed to reflect on?