Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


May 13, 2013

TIDBITS: Practical advice for new grads

CROSSVILLE — Another graduation season is upon us, and soon a new crop of young adults will head out into the world, full of hopes and dreams for the future.

Graduates, I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, this is a great adventure you're about to begin. The bad news is, it won't always be easy.

Right now, you're getting lots of advice from family, teachers, mentors and others and setting your course. I've got a little advice to throw in there, as well.

• Never turn down free food. Whether you're starting work or going off to school, someone somewhere is likely to offer a free meal from time to time. Don't pass it up. That free food replaces one you'll have to pay for.

• If there is no free food to be had, it can be cheaper to cook your own food than it is to eat out. Especially if you eat something like Ramen noodles. It's a very versatile food, and it cooks right in your microwave. Eventually you'll want to learn how to use that big stove and oven, but a microwave can easily handle most meals. You can even scramble eggs in there, another cheap dish.

• Car repairs are expensive but a little preventative maintenance can go a long way. At the top of that list is making sure the oil is at least checked regularly. Trust me when I tell you, an engine replacement is not a fun, inexpensive or easy repair. And you can bet it will come along at the worst possible time.

• Also, watch those speed limit signs. Traffic fines can really eat into your disposable income.

• When you start working, you'll find that there's not as much money in that paycheck as you thought there would be. That's because the federal government likes to get its share of your earnings before you start spending. Take a cue from the government and remember to pay yourself first. Treat that savings like a bill you pay with each paycheck and before long you'll have a nice emergency stash available should you have a car problem or have a fun opportunity come up that you want to take part in. Or, hide small amounts of money from yourself, rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar, or similar method. That extra cash can help you enjoy a splurge here and there.

• That emergency fund will also help you avoid racking up credit card debt before you're finished with your school work. According to Sallie Mae, undergraduate students are carrying record-high balances on their plastic, with an average balance of $3,173. Add that to student loans, and college graduates are leaving school with about $20,000 in debt.

• One of the greatest things about being young is you have a lot more freedom and aren't as tied down to a 9 to 5 job that gives you two weeks of paid vacation a year. You might be able to work out a little more time off, though it would be unpaid, and go on that awesome road trip your friends are planning. Or maybe you can take the summer and work on a cruise ship and see some of the world on another's dime for a few months.

• You're going to be making lots of memories over the next few years, and thanks to cell phones with great cameras, you will almost always have a camera nearby to snap some pictures. Don't let those photographic moments just sit on your camera roll. Get a few made into actual prints so you can have those reminders of the amazing memories you're about to make nearby in frames on your shelf or tacked to your wall. They'll make you smile on the gloomy days.

Congratulations, Class of 2013! We're all proud of you and we can't wait to see what you'll do next.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued From Swimming Pool Raw: 3 American Doctors Killed in Afghanistan Raw: Obama Arrives at State Dinner in Tokyo Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot Raw: Obama Visits Meiji Shrine in Tokyo Stars Talk Guns N' Roses at Golden Gods New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888 Oregon Gay Marriage Ban Goes to Court SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye'
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice