Grade 12 Essay Contest Winner Mustafa Mohamedali:
Down Into the Dumps
Three, Two, One! With time winding down, I stepped up and took the hardest slap shot that I had ever taken. CRACKK! I couldn't tell which went farther, the blade of my stick, or the ball. Not only did we lose the game, but it looked like I was going to have to buy a new hockey stick. My father, hoping to educate me about the value of money, told me that I had to find a way to earn my own money to purchase a new hockey stick. Having spent all of my money on candy, I had exactly four pennies left in my piggy bank. It was at that time that I learned just how difficult dealing with money can be.
I immediately got to work on my very first entrepreneurial endeavour. Two hours, and about fifty crumpled up papers later, I realized that making money was not as simple as it initially seemed. Since I had no assets to start with, it would be impossible to take out a loan. I would have to start this business with zero capital. However, just as the sun shines after the darkest storm, I finally came up with a breakthrough idea. After having it approved by my financial advisors (my mom and dad), Mohamedali Snow Shovelling Services was opened to the public.
As the sun rose the next day, I marched out the front door, anxious to snag my first customers. I learned an important lesson that day; lifting fifteen centimetres of wet snow is not as easy as it looks. One borrowed shovel, five hours of hard work, two long driveways of shovelling and a runny nose later, I had finally earned twenty dollars. After receiving my second paycheck, I choked out a cheer. Collecting money was certainly no easy task! Little did I know that this was just the beginning of my troubles.
My older brother came into my room as I was depositing my earnings into my piggy bank. He always had to find something to pester me about. "I would watch my money if I were you" he remarked. "You wouldn't want someone to steal it now, would you?" He furtively glanced down at my piggy bank before leaving the room.
For those of you who don't know, a piggy bank is not nearly as secure as a human bank is. I had to come up with another way to keep my money safe from my brother. I scanned the room looking for a sneaky place to bury my treasure. Aha! The garbage can—the smelliest and most disgusting object in my room. No one would ever go near there to search for money. I carefully walked over to the can and put my money silently into it. I left my room thinking about what a genius I was. This was by far the smartest hiding place anyone could ever think of.
I must have checked the trash can a thousand times in the next couple of hours. Each time, I was comforted by the familiar hint of purple coming from the ten dollar bills. I reluctantly parted with my money the next day when it was time to go to school. As soon as I came home, I ran over to my room to check on my money again. But this time it was not there. In fact, the garbage can wasn't there either. "MOM! Where did the garbage go?" I hollered across the hall in desperation. "I put everything outside. It's garbage day." She replied. I ran out the front door to see the garbage truck turning the corner of my street and out of sight. I stood there in disbelief as it all began to sink in; I had just thrown all of my profits down into the dumps.
Although I didn't end up purchasing a hockey stick, the things that I was able to learn from the money fiasco were priceless. I found out that it was time for me to start putting my money into a real bank account. If I wanted to start saving money, my plastic piggy bank was just not going to cut it. The following day, my dad accompanied me to the bank and I opened up my very own bank account. I would have no further worries about my financial security in the future.
A wise man (my dad) once told me that a bank account is only useful if you have some money to put into it. I only got an allowance of one dollar per week and unfortunately my birthday only comes once a year. I realized that in order to ensure that I always had money during times of need, I had to begin earning some money. I took this lesson to heart and am proud to say that after this fiasco, I have not spent more than two consecutive months unemployed. I began delivering newspapers when I was ten and thoroughly enjoyed it.
A hundred dollars a month may not seem like a lot of money to most people, but as I realized, money adds up when you save it over the course of seven years. Out of the hundred dollars I gave myself a spending allowance of only five dollars a month. I wanted to ensure that I did not burn a hole in my pocket as I had done previously. I also picked up a job as a cashier and am currently a part time private tutor. I have invested part of my money into savings bonds to maximize the profits that I can make. Using all of these money saving techniques that I learned from my debacle, my goal is to go through university completely debt free.
Just a word of advice for all of those kids out there. There are a lot of places where you can hide your money, but the garbage can just isn't one of them.