Posts Tagged ‘Robert Felton’

8 suggestions to spend less on dorm decor and put the savings toward tuition

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

A guest blog by college senior Robert Felton moving picture blog pic 2

Did you know the second biggest “season” for retailers behind holiday shopping is back to school? The average college freshman spends $1,200 on decor and room supplies. I don’t know about you, but I can think of much better ways to use $1,200 then on medusa lamps, hangers and strange wall stickers. I’m starting my senior year of college now, so please hear me out. You really won’t use much of the stuff you buy anyway, truthfully you will throw most of it out when you move into a real apartment. The thing I used most was a laptop computer desk (you know the tray with a pillow on one side so it can rest on your lap). All the stickers, lamps and color coordinated storage cubes were all destroyed or thrown away before I entered sophomore year.


Here are my 8 suggestions to spend less on dorm decor and put the savings toward tuition.

  1. This is one of the big times for retail stores and they push and advertise to make you feel like you need everything – their goal is to sell merchandise. Resist them.
  2. Many dorm rooms come with supplied appliances so check and see if you get a fridge or microwave, because truth be told you do not need another mini fridge.
  3. Any futon you buy will be destroyed before freshman year is over. Do not and I repeat DO NOT buy a new $300 futon. Find a couch from a family friend. Use a crappy old couch or if you really have to, buy a cheap one because people will jump, sleep, spill and vomit on your futon and it is not worth the money to last a few weeks.
  4. Get creative with your decor. Don’t waste your money on wall stickers and mass retailer approved wall art. Everyone will have the same crap. Do a photo collage or get artistic and crafty and do a Pinterest project. This will save you some money and save you from looking like another cookie cutter college student.
  5. You will spend your life either on your bed or your futon so chairs and bean bags are a total waste of money.
  6. A cute waste bin? Really, why? You are spending money on garbage – literally.
  7. If you buy an air conditioner, you are spoiled. People will love you for your AC, but think you are a spoiled brat. Ask your parents if they had AC. I am guessing they didn’t. Part of the fun of growing up is having to struggle. (If living without AC is a struggle). One of my best memories from last summer was my best friend and I fighting to stay cool on a lava hot day. Don’t bother with luxuries, learn a life lesson and have a reason to get good grades. Those good grades will translate into luxuries later in life.
  8. Room decorating is more fun with your roommate and creativity than with store bought crap from major retailers. After moving into my dorm, my roommate and I went shopping and bought some awesome ugly knick knacks from Goodwill. I helped my best friend decorate week by week with pictures we had taken from the school year.

One more final note. You are in college – it is the one time in your life that it is fun to be poor. The kids sitting on expensive computer and game systems miss out on all the real fun. Being freshmen, we went on nature adventures, built snow igloos, did scavenger hunts, went to parties, attended concerts and comedians and joined clubs. Skip on some of the electronics and gadgets, pocket the money, use it for tuition, because in the end you will be happy you did.

Oh crap! I forgot to save money for college!

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Our first team-written blog. A quick 1-2 punch of advice from the illustrator and author of Lemonade Stand Economics that will help those who are starting college soon…without a financial plan.

ROBERT (21 year old college junior and student business owner)

“I wish I had this book when I was in high school!” is what I have heard at least a thousand times while illustrating for Lemonade Stand Economics. I hear it mostly among my college friends complaining about student loans and how they are too deep in now. I really want to say, “Stop whining! It is not too late.” robert edited

The reason I like Lemonade Stand Economics so much is not because it has a great plan for high school students. I stand behind and am proud to work for Lemonade Stand Economics because of the lessons the author Geof White gives to young entrepreneurs. I am a young entrepreneur. I have faced all the stresses and overcome many strange obstacles. I learned how to interact with customers, organize finances, make (& correct) mistakes and everything in-between. The book  illustrates some of these obstacles and talks about how telling the world you are paying for college can really help your sales. The book explains just how much work it really is and the importance of confidence and dedication. Geof White knows what it takes to make money as a young entrepreneur because he did it.  And I’m doing it too. Actually, there are lots of us around the country making blankets, selling popcorn, mowing lawns and scooping up dog doo to earn money. (Yep, not kidding.)

So regardless if you’re 12 and debt-free or 23 and swamped in debt, it is not too late. You can start something. You can skip the mistakes I made and start making money now. You can also address some of the mistakes you’ve already made and tackle that debt NOW – before you graduate. The debt isn’t going anywhere till you do something about it. It’s never too late to try something new to get rid of it.  What do you have to lose?

GEOF (42 year old business owner, father of two, author and former student entrepreneur)

Does this sound familiar?  “I graduated last month! We had a big party. After four great years of high school I am headed off to college in September. I am soooo excited! I put a lot of thought into where I am going. I toured the campus, chose a major or two to consider, and even wrote down how much it’s going to cost. Oh crap!  I worked at my job all year but, well, I kinda forgot to save much. I planned on saving for college,  I really meant to…but life just happened and now I don’t have anything saved.  Now what? WTF am I going to do?!?  September is in four weeks??!?  Is it too late?  How did I even enjoy my graduation party when I don’t have enough money for school in the fall? FML.”  

If this rings a bell, I have some advice that may help. Geof cropped

It’s NEVER too late to start.  So you got a late start on saving for college…so what?  You are not the only one. Being unprepared financially for college is actually quite common. Don’t let the lack of time scare you.  There is still some time to earn.  Before you start classes…during the semester…and next summer, but get started NOW. Don’t have this same panic in 11 months.

Earn as much money as you can- as fast as you can.  The first decision to make is – Are you going to do something about this situation or are you going to hope it goes away on its own?  Money only falls from the sky when you make it fall from the sky. I call it “shaking the money tree.” Some people shake that tree like crazy and make some serious bank. Others work for minimum wage, earn very little and feel sorry for themselves. Because time is short, you need to earn as much as you can in the shortest amount of time. Then lather, rinse, repeat until freshman orientation.

Be frugal! BE AS CHEAP AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN BE. Sorry, that’s what happens when you don’t plan. You need to KEEP and save as much money as you can this summer. This means don’t spend it as fast as you make it. When you do spend money this summer…spend it wisely. You are a smart kid, you know what is wise and what is not.

The summer is the best time to earn some cash for college. At this point you are saying “Well, how do I do that?  How do I earn as much as I can?” My answer is this. Go read Lemonade Stand Economics ( – and read it fast!  I wrote it just for you.  

“Fake it till you make it”

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

robertLots of questions come to our office and this saying – “fake it til you make it” – seems to be one that young people struggle with. I always felt that “faking it” was similar to “lying.” But I was wrong. I have discovered that “faking it” is a confidence and promise to   the future… it’s not lying.

When I started Never Lost Jewelry a few years ago, I had to drop a couple hundred dollars on supplies before I could even start making and selling jewelry to earn money. People were all, “What are you doing? You’re not going to make any money and you’re never gonna stick with it.”  And they were wrong. I couldn’t promise anyone I was going to make money, nevertheless I needed to earn money to pay for college. I was confident. I loved making jewelry and I stuck with it. So even without knowing anything, I told the doubters I was going to do great. I was “faking it.”  Even after my first few shows where I hadn’t earned much money at all, I was still telling my friends I was doing great, not because I was, but because I was confident.  I knew I was going to do great.

You know what? After telling them time after time I was doing great, I did start making money.  Then I started making more money. More money than the doubters earn.

I stuck with my plan and I was confident with my idea. I was determined to earn enough money to pay for college and  I really did fake it, but now I’ve made it.

Robert’s Toolbox for Graduation

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

robert editedMy graduation party was a blast! There was a ton of good food. Everyone got their invites, so no family drama, and all my friends stopped over to say congratulations. It was so much fun that I almost (keyword almost) forgot all about the gifts. Later, after my family and friends had left, while opening my cards and counting the money, I noticed someone had given me an actual gift in a big square box. I ripped it open only to reveal a toolbox full of all kinds of strange looking garage type tools. At first I was like “A toolbox for Robert? HA! When would I ever use that?” At that moment, I wished they had given me money until…

When I packed up the car to go off to college, I deliberately left the toolbox behind thinking I would never use it. However my parents knew better (as begrudgingly I admit, they often do) and slipped it in a small corner between my clothes and jewelry supplies. When unpacking, I was quite annoyed that I had to lug that tool box up three flights of stairs to my room. After the year started, boy did my I change my mind about needing that toolbox. That freshman year I was making and selling jewelry. The clients and shows started asking for me to provide displays. They wanted unique suit cases and wooden boxes for my jewelry to be displayed on. I opened up the tool box and started making boxes, chairs and using the drill to make my jewelry even more interesting. I ended up having stores purchasing some of my displays for themselves… and my jewelry was selling even better.

When I first got this toolbox it seemed useless and dull, but it ended up being making me more money than any amount written on any of the graduation checks I received that glorious day. My future was better because of that toolbox. I always say that Lemonade Stand Economics isn’t just a book. It’s a tool. Lemonade Stand Economics is just like my tool box. It is not the most exciting thing to open on graduation day, but it is a tool that can help your son, daughter, nephew grandchild or friend when they need to get out of a tough financial situation – or avoid one –  in the future. It is the tool that will help them earn more than a check for $20 ever will. It is a tool that can change their life

I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Nugent for giving me that tool box. I know I probably did not write you the most enthusiastic thank you letter, but I hope you now know what a great and valuable gift you gave me.

Robert Felton