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Freedman Financial Scholarship Winner 2016 – Laura Shrago

Meet Laura Shrago, Freedman Financial 2016 Scholarship Winner – Well Done!

By Laura Shrago

What does financial responsibility mean to you?

From a young age, kids are taught many values that will help them throughout their life, most of which are embodied by the universal principle of responsibility, under which falls the important element, financial responsibility. As I’ve gotten older, financial responsibility has become increasingly more prevalent in my personal decisions. I’ve been blessed with many exciting opportunities, which have typically involved the responsibility of earning and budgeting money to be able to take advantage of the option. I believe my skills have developed with each new opportunity and I constantly try to improve, knowing that it will be crucial to my success as I get older.

My first exposure to managing money was when I started babysitting in middle school and had my own money to spend for the first time. My newfound financial freedom provided me with the ability to make some of my own decisions. I found I had to exercise restraint to keep from spending money too quickly and that I was acquiring possessions I truly didn’t need. A few summers ago, I traveled with a teen group for 6 weeks and independently managed my own money. I discovered how easy it was to mimic the spending habits of my peers, which didn’t really match my usual, conscientious way of watching my money where I always insured I was getting the best deal possible. The series of events, over the years, repeatedly forced me to reconsider how I used my money. Luckily, most of my learning happened while my parents were supporting me, and without any real consequences. The various experiences taught me a lot and I now feel confident in my money-saving abilities.

Currently, I babysit for many families regularly and I pay for my own leisure activities, special events, and non-essential personal items to which I treat myself every once in a while. I’m still

able to receive guidance from my parents, but spending my own money on these things prepares me for when I’ll be living on my own next fall. As I head to college in six months, I feel that I should and can contribute to paying for my college education. I plan to pursue work study opportunities and use my upcoming summer job’s salary towards college. I am enrolled in a special program where I will be spending my first semester abroad in London. There will be lots of tourist opportunities that could potentially be very costly, but I feel I have had substantial experience with budgeting my money so that I will be able to balance the opportunity to experience all that living abroad offers and still be financially responsible. I’ve developed a good sense of how to determine what’s practical and what’s extravagant, all while spending within my means and being conscientious. I feel that I’m prepared to meet the challenges and will be able to thrive and succeed with the skills I’ve learned.

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