A few years ago I had about $130 to my name and was struggling to balance a handful of part-time jobs with re-entry into college after 30 years away from higher ed. Going back to school terrified me. But my life was already turned upside down: I'd left a long-term marriage and run through most of my savings to support myself and my disabled adult daughter. Why not throw college into the mix? As terrified as I was, I knew that if I didn't do it then I'd never do it.
Somehow I got through the first year, surviving on a crazy-quilt of gigs:
- apartment house manager/handyma'am
- work-study grunt (I moved a lot of tables and chairs)
- freelance writer
- paid medical research volunteer
- mystery shopper
- oldest living cub reporter on the college newspaper
(That last one amused me greatly, since my previous job had been on the city desk at the Chicago Tribune.)
This guest post comes from Donna Freedman, a blogger at MSN Money's Smart Spending blog. Donna is one of my favorite personal finance writers.
On Friday I visited Office Depot for school backpacks at the killer price of $2.99. Along with other loss-leader school supplies, they'll be donated to a local social services agency. At the checkout, I handed over a "20% off all backpacks" coupon from an Office Depot mailer. The cash register wouldn't accept the coupon. "These are already on sale so the coupon won't work," the salesclerk said.
I noted, politely, that the coupon did not say "not good on sale-priced items." The cashier tried again. No dice. "It's not letting it go through," she said, and waited. I got the distinct impression she wanted me to say, "Oh, that's OK." But I wasn't going to say that, because my belief is that a store should honor its published offers.