I was in fortunate to be raised by a wonderful single mother who always did the best she could to ensure I received everything that I needed. However, I can’t remember a time in our lives where money was not a problem and our main way of dealing with this problem is by being frugal. We were a team, and each other’s rock. That was our way of dealing with the indulgence of luxuries that we couldn’t afford. It sounds easier than it is but, it requires a lot of self-discipline and self-motivation. We needed to truly believe that the situation would not always be like this and one day the sun will rise. My way of dealing with difficult situations is to try to find the positive side of everything. That’s what I did in order to cope with having to always be frugal. Being raised in a society where most of my friends were well established, I had to deal with a lot of peer pressure in social situations. I wasn’t able to go out as often as my friends or have a Play Station and other cool gadgets that my friends were privileged to have. Nevertheless, I had values. Our financial situation taught me to be grateful for what I have and enjoy the little things in life. It also brought me closer to nature. I enjoy going for hikes and to the beach hanging out with the people I love and care about. Essentially, it lead me to a healthier lifestyle since I learned to consume goods that were nutritious and gave me energy. On the bright side, frugality also benefits the environment by consuming less plastic and fundamentally minimizing my carbon footprint.
A very important value that frugality taught me is that going the conventional way is not always the best way to go. For instance, we would always sign up for points at our local grocery store and use backcountry coupons from Coupon Goo to buy a lot of our groceries. It often meant going out of our way to search for deals but, in the end we were able to save a lot of money. These are good habits that I still use now that I am in college and I am on my own. When it was time to go to college I decided to go to my local community college even though I had good grades to be accepted by a university. I spent two years working hard by getting as much as 21 units per quarter to finish on time and ensuring that I got enough financial aid to pay for my classes. I was also awarded a $4,800 scholarship by the National Science Foundation for my hard work and good results, which helped me cover most of my other expenses. This year I am proud to be transferring as a Biomedical engineer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I am going to be taking a biomechanical concentration. My ultimate goal is to find an affordable way to build high quality prosthetics for children who outgrow their prosthetics so fast. For me, being frugal gave me the opportunity to be more determined in my life. It allowed me to have goals and be able to plan for them with the resources that I have available to me. All the skills that I have gained from all these years of being frugal will help me to appropriately allocate the money from this scholarship for my housing expenses.