414-229-3642 mcbridej@uwm.edu

Christmas during a recession

Christmas during a recession
By Kesha Packer
August 2017

Although there were many Americans still in disbelief that America is in a recession according to a CNN poll conducted earlier this year, there are very few Americans that have not felt the affects of the recession as of this date. Whether the increase in the price of food or increased tuition for students, it is evident that the majority of people are feeling the effects of the recession.

“It would be nice to solely focus on school, but the current economic state we are in that is simply not an option for me,” Symphony Swan, a UW-Milwaukee student says. “I guess you can say I’m old fashioned, but I just don’t like celebrating the holidays without giving a gift to my family who has supported me over the years.”

Many people share Ms. Swan’s feelings in regards to celebrating the holidays. Althoug holidays should be filled with joyous moments with family and friends, these days leave many in financial stress.
It should be no surprise as to why so many people are financially distressed after the holidays when the top five gift ideas are everything, but inexpensive.

According to CNET the top five gift categories are as follows:
Game Console
Music Player
Camera
DVR
Big Screen TV
To see full video go to https://www.cnet.com/videos/cnet-top-5-holiday-gift-categories/

Gifts like these are sure to contribute to a person exhausting finances. Since the majority of the population doesn’t have the luxury of having a disposable income, holidays usually pose problems for our pockets.

Holidays Often Equal Overdrawn Bank Accounts
Don’t worry you are not alone if after the holidays your remaining balance is low or perhaps even negative.
According to Maniyya Diaz, Bank Branch Manager, “It is not uncommon for people bank accounts to be negative periodically, but there is a definite increase in the number of negative accounts during and after holidays.”
I am sure that it is not part of anyone’s plan to go broke for the holidays, but regrettably, we end up spending more than we anticipated. There are so many reasons that contribute to going broke for the Holidays.

“One time a customer gave the reason for overdrawing her account was because she had just become a supervisor and had to but her new employees Christmas gifts or she would be perceived as cheap,” Mrs. Diaz recalls.
Whether the reasons for going broke are contributed to spontaneous or emotional spending, it is imperative that these same patterns of spending money are not continued during these trying economic times.

Below are some suggestions to assist you in breaking the cycle of going broke during the holidays:
§ Make a list
§ Make a budget
§ Leave credit cards at home before going shopping
§ Create your own gifts
§ Hosting a holiday party

Sorry to say, but the recession will not be over before the remaining holidays are here so there is a need to make preparations for celebrating holidays during the recession. It seems as if many people agree that preparation and planning are essential to avoid being flat broke before entering into 2010.

“I plan on buying gifts at Bath and Body Works because you get two candles for $20 and two pair of socks with Shea Butter and together it should cost about $30” states Laurencetta Sanders, Springfield College student. “There are coupons for $10 off of a $30 purchase floating around also, so that is two gifts in one.”

The Gift that Keeps Giving
Ms. Sanders is not alone in planning ahead for holidays that are quickly approaching. Some people’s plans for gift giving are not time consuming, yet inexpensive.
Smiling with her head tilted to the left slightly, a former UW-Milwaukee graduate student states, “I give gift cards.”

Gift cards surely decrease the hours the average person spends shopping for gifts and can be very inexpensive since the buyer determines what the value of the gift card will be. Most gift cards begin with a value as low as $5 and can increase to your desired value. Also, with a wide selection of gift cards to choose from, you’ll find something for everyone on your list.
While giving gift cards has advantages, they can become costly quickly depending on how many gifts you have to purchase. If you plan on buying gifts for numerous people then perhaps gift cards are not the gift idea for you. Since some people are faced with this very same dilemma they have decided to create gifts themselves.

“This year I have decided to make homemade CD’s and give them away as gifts,” states Stephanie Higgins-Bey, a University of Phoenix student.
Mrs. Higgins-Bey shares the same financial frustrations as other students when it comes to having limited funds. She states, “Holidays only add to the frustration even though holidays should be time to enjoy family and friends.”
Students don’t get too discouraged because you still can celebrate all the upcoming Holidays without emptying your pockets and depleting savings. They are so many attractions within cities that natives of the city don’t partake in. Well, instead of letting tourists experience what your city has to offer try checking it out yourself for the holidays. Try looking on your city website to locate events happening during the month of December.
For you Milwaukee students I have compiled a list of things and events in December so please check them out and post comments as to rather you enjoyed or not:

Ø Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival
When: November 19 – January 3
What: festive light displays downtown

Ø A Grand Avenue Christmas at the Pabst Mansion
When: November 20 – January 10
What: renaissance mansion fully decked out for Christmas
Where: Pabst Mansion, 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Cost: $9, $8 students and seniors, $5 children, free for children 6 and under
Contact: (414) 931-0808

Ø First Stage Children’s Theater: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
When: November 27 – December 24
What: a special First Stage Children’s Theater performance
Where: Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St.
Cost: $13.50 – $36.50

Ø Milwaukee Repertory Theater: A Christmas Carol
When: November 27 – December 27
What: a beloved holiday classic
Where: Milwaukee Repertory Theater, 108 E. Wells St.
Cost: $10 – $45
Contact: (414) 224-9490

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Advice for student parents

Student Parents You Are Not Alone
By Kesha Packer
of the Frontpage Milwaukee staff
Aug. 22, 20017

A faint glow from the streetlight peeks through the curtain. Windows begin vibrating at 5:49 a.m. as the first Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) bus rolls past. The bus motor humming serves as a daily reminder that the day has officially begun. Rolling out of bed and directly into a pair of slippers is definitely a mastered skill, but unfortunately, it will not boost your portfolio.

However, if you are a student parent you quickly begin to appreciate odd multi-tasking abilities because they become a part of daily routines. For example, how you ever done any of the following?

•    Brushing teeth while ironing
•    Setting the dinner table while listening to a class lecture
•    Studying note cards for an exam while folding laundry
•    Watched your child play at the park while working on homework on laptop

If you are guilty of doing one or more of these tasks then there is a high probability that you are a student parent. Many student parents realize that these very types of multitasking are necessary in order to survive a life filled with chaos.

There was a time when student parents felt alone when it came to the difficulties that being a parent attending school created. Fortunately, others are also recognizing the issues correlated to being a student parent. Unlike before when student parents felt alone, there are numerous organizations that focus on providing assistance to students parents worldwide. For example,   http://studentparentsmovement.blogs was created to provide information and downloadable resources. There is a link to the student parent community and a discussion board as well.

At the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) there is a program called Life Impact, and their focus is to provide support to student parent participants academically, professionally, and personally. Natalie Reinbold, Life Coach and Coordinator states, “Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty by supporting student parents.” According to Life Impact records UWM has over 2800 student parents for 2017. The program presently has 50 participants. Even though the program cannot serve the entire body of student parents at least organizations exist like these so that student parents have a place they can go in which their needs can be addressed.

Chaotic is an Understatement

Imagine your alarm clock ringing at 4:45 a.m., taking a shower, getting dressed for work, preparing breakfast for your children, and then briskly leaving the house by 5:45 a.m. in order to start work at 6 a.m. Just imagining a morning like this is exhausting, but for Tramaine Ford, a student parent at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) this is a typical morning. “I wish it could be 36 hours in a day instead of 24,” Tramaine states. While signing she provides the details of the remainder of her day. Tramaine said she gets off work at 2:30 p.m. because she has to make it home by 3 p.m. in order to receive her daughter from the school bus. She is left with only a short time to prepare something for dinner because class starts at 5 p.m.

When Tramaine returns home from school it is 9 p.m. and does not go to bed until about 12:30 a.m. When asked about study time, Tramaine responded, “Sometimes I have to get up at 2:30 a.m. and study because that is the only time I have available.”

Elizabeth Leighton, a student parent attending Ottawa University can definitely empathize with Tramaine. “I start my day at 5 a.m. and that consists of getting myself ready for work and my son ready for school,” Elizabeth states. Elizabeth commutes to Milwaukee for work Monday through Thursday, working 40 hours in four days. “I get off work at 5:30 p.m., drive about 45 minutes in order to get to class, get home at about 9:45 p.m., and then I go to bed at midnight,” Elizabeth explains.

With such a hectic schedule Elizabeth admits that she uses a desk calendar with color codes for her family to help her remember important dates, activities, etc… With corners of her mouth turned downward, Elizabeth states, “My biggest challenge as a student parent is complete exhaustion and feeling guilty about not spending enough fun time with kids.”

Dionne Felix a former student parent of MATC expressed that her biggest challenge when in school was not spending enough time with her son, which greatly contributed to the decision she made to take the semester off from school. “I felt my son was losing out,” Dionne states. Dionne explained she was working full-time and going to school full-time. To say her days were chaotic was an understatement. Dionne began work at 6 a.m. and didn’t go to bed until midnight.

Although the problems associated with being a student parent cannot be solved over night there are some suggestions from other student parents that may be helpful:

1.  Buy a crock pot and use it to cook a complete meal on school days   It’s easy to become stressed, but make sure you don’t take it out on your children

2.  It’s easy to become stressed, but make sure you don’t take it out on your children

3.    Stay focused and be patient
4.   Set priorities and be realistic when it comes to course loads.

For further information contact your local university.

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