Applicant #5: Kristen Hayman

Kristen Hayman is a 21-year-old from East Lansing.

Kristen's video application:

Kristen online:

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Kristen's current situation:

I am graduating from Michigan State University, May/2011, earning a B.A. in Media Arts and Technology with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a passion and desire to help strengthen Michigan's economy through the arts!

Kristen's blog post:

About 10 years ago, I started my first savings account with Michigan First Credit Union under the DinoSavors Program for kids, ages 0-12, with only $5. Since then, I have l learned how to save money just as well as I can spend it. Although I started out with a great foundation in understanding strong work ethic and the advantages of keeping money in my account, I have also fell victim of our generation's exposure to what the media calls the good life. Driving nice cars, wearing new outfits to every party and eating at all the upscale restaurants; is the extravagant lifestyle that most of us seem to strive for as we often make buying decisions that go far beyond our means. Being raised to do what makes us feel happy is another trait most of us possess. This idea is initially great but in some cases we blindly set ourselves up for failure by spoiling ourselves until we are incapable of handling our own finances.

What happens after you have purchased all those disposable outfits and wasted money on expensive meals from restaurants that barely gave you enough food to get you full? How do you eat for the rest of the week? Do you call your parents? Did you pay your bills before you bought up everything? Is it too late to return those outfits?

From my experience, the key to maintaining a successful budgeting system is to keep a strong mind and a strong focus. Have a goal. Figure out how you plan to live within your current budget. Make sure you keep a small portion available to treat yourself because what is the purpose of working to survive if you cannot enjoy the life you live? Hence, your need to do what makes you happy is still important. Do not let your peers pressure you into spending more money than you plan. Withdrawing your set amount of cash from your account to spend and leaving the credit/debit card at home helps. As long as your responsibilities are in order and your bills get paid, treating yourself is not a crime, so don’t feel guilty.

This is my personal take on how being Young and Free in Michigan affects how I work to handle my finances while facing the real world of adulthood. As I learn more and more about the important facts on banking, I will bring my readers along with me on this journey towards financial stability so that we can all learn how to be stronger together.