Ah...it is that glorious time of the year for S&T students and alumni alike, where we pay homage to the patron saint of engineers, Saint Patrick - more commonly known outside of Rolla, Missouri as the patron saint of Ireland. Naturally, given our institution's reputation for being primarily engineering majors and associated history, St. Pat’s is held very near and dear to our hearts. Despite being a celebration oriented around celebrating the patron saint of engineers, St. Pat’s at S&T brings the campus and Rolla community together whether or not you are in engineering program or discipline or if you are a student, everyone is involved. Not to mention, we get two days off of school for what is known as “Spring Recess.”
St. Pat’s can be both hard on the body and the bank for obvious reasons. Without going into further detail, seemingly small purchases quickly add up and can take a toll on your bank account going into spring break. My primary objective is to share advice from my own experience that I have gathered in my last four St. Pat’s. Call me a seasoned veteran, if you will. In my four years, I have seen significant decline in my spending habits during St. Pat’s, thus implying that I have developed some financially responsible attribute , but I can assure you that, that is not the case; I bought a life-size cardboard cutout of John Cena not too long ago, just because. I toe the line of knowing when to save and knowing when to splurge, John Cena being a splurge-worthy purchase. This is where I feel that I truly have breadth of knowledge to share with respect to St. Pat’s because you want to “ball” on a budget without breaking the bank.
My previous statement might imply that you should generate a budget for your 10 or so “daze,” well that is the complete opposite of what I am saying to some respect. My whole fiscal mentality is based on the splurge vs. save method, only spending when appropriate and seizing any opportunity to save - whether it is direct (i.e. not making a purchase entirely) or indirectly (i.e. buying the cheaper alternative or off brand product). Sometimes I might splurge a little too much, but I want to say that my ability to frequently talk myself out of doing or buying something evens out my occasional over-splurge come the end of the year. Regardless, I want to prevent you from overspending/splurging during St. Pat’s with a two step system.
One of the most helpful things that I have ever done is making all my big purchases, groceries and beverages, a week before. The common goal of doing so is to avoid those late night purchases for fast food, other munchies, and last minute purchases which might give way to impulse purchases. At this point in your life, you should have a pretty good idea of what your cravings are or something that you can snack on to curb the temptation. Anticipate that need and purchase it beforehand so you have it in your pantry when you do get hungry. Essentially, avoid going out to eat by all means, even if you are feeling very lazy. Stock up on some easy things that you could make in a few minutes without actually cooking or grab a few things that you can just nuke in the microwaves for three to four minutes max. Anticipate your bad or weakened fiscal behavior and take measures to curb it.
Lastly, do not turn down free stuff, provided you know it is safe. Make friends with alumni or go to events that you know will have free food or items. Obviously do not be excessively greedy and beg for it, but our alumni are truly fantastic and generous people and that tends to extend to their relations with current students - whether that is bringing hot coffee, bagels, donuts, or pizza to an event or picking up your tab. They were once in our shoes, understand our circumstances, and want to extend the same generosity they were once shown, but they are not obligated to do so. Do not take advantage of their generosity and ruin it for the rest of us trying to ball on a budget too. Most importantly, beware of accepting any beverages from strangers.
With that being said, have a fun and safe St. Pat’s. Here is to the 110th Annual Best Ever St Pat’s, may you all prosper and not break the bank!