Friday, April 10, 2009

The Ebb and Flow of My Personal Economy

I spent the day being responsible for a change. I did my taxes and renewed my FAFSA information for the next school year. It cost over $80 to do my federal and state taxes online. This is the first year I tried doing it that way, but since I had to claim all of the stock trades I did last year I couldn't use the 1040 EZ form that I've used in the past. At least its done now.

I'm hoping that the info on my FAFSA will help me get a decent amount of financial aid in the fall. Since I didn't have a job after getting fired in late July my income was pretty low. In fact, for the first time in a decade, I'm actually going to get a tax refund this year of around $250.

This school year I had the luxury of living completely on financial aid. Granted, I've now racked up about $5000 in student loans so far, but I suppose that is par for the course for many college students these days. Hell, even Barack and Michelle Obama were still paying off their college loans as of a few years ago.

My financial experiment is FINALLY starting to have some positive movement. After over a month of falling and stagnating in value it seems the market is starting to pick back up for a change. Unfortunately, my stock in Citadel Broadcasting lost half its value when they chose to move to the OTC (over the counter) market. It was already insanely low ($0.11 a share!) when it was de-listed. Sadly, OTC stocks don't have as much dynamism in price since they aren't traded as heavily as those on the NYSE, for example. I'm still holding on to it, for now, in the expectation that it will eventually bounce back before I absolutely have to withdraw it.

Luckily, the other $1000 of my initial investment has been rising. My total experiment is now worth about $2600, in spite of the 50% loss in value of my Citadel stock. That figures out to about a $1000 increase since I began. I am hoping that a combination of good luck and aggressive trading will get me up to around $4000 total by May 1st when I will have no choice but to take out $1000 to get through the month.

The really frustrating part of relying on financial aid for my living expenses is how to make the money last until my next aid check, which in this case isn't expected until probably late September at the earliest. That was one of the big reasons I chose to engage in this financial experiment in the first place. I wanted to see what was possible rather than accepting what was rational. Let's face it, no fully rational mind would think of doing this. The risk is too great (as I've already experienced) and the rewards are left up to too much chance. Still, it seems like less of a risk (to me, anyway) than just taking $2000 to a casino or buying lottery tickets.

Have fun and keep living life... or some approximation thereof.

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