Column: Senior year has a price tag – Web Exclusive

Janie Simonton | Staff Writer

So, here’s my idea for a senior shirt: “Football Ticket: $4.00. Homecoming Ticket: $20.00. Senior Memories: Priceless.”

Just kidding, that’s not my idea. At all. Two reasons: 1. The Mastercard “Priceless” parody is so trite, it’s practically as cliché as the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned.” 2. Senior memories are not priceless.

Here’s what I mean: as a senior, nothing comes cheap – I’m practically buying my memories of senior year.

There are so many things that have to be paid for, we don’t have any left over money to spend it on anything fun. Or save for college. Let’s go through the year in terms of senior spending:

  1. Spring of junior year – $40 for a senior lot parking pass
  2. End of summer/fall – $300 on senior pictures
  3. Fall – $150 on college applications
  4. Fall – $60 on sending standardized test scores
  5. Fall – $202.35 on senior orders (caps, gowns, announcements)
  6. Winter – $80 on a senior yearbook
  7. Winter – $80 on one AP exam
  8. Spring – $250 on Prom

So, at the very least, you’re probably spending about $1162.35 on the accessories of senior year. And that does not include the various times you spend “just ten dollars” on yet another senior t-shirt, the five to ten dollars spent weekly for those in activities in which they have freshman “little siblings” they must buy gifts for, the accessories required to take to sporting events to be the “most spirited” and the gas spent driving to all of the college visits.

So, all of that added up, we’re at about $1,500 of involuntary spending. According to MSN Money, a pack-a-day smoker spends $1,638 a year. In our final year of high school, we’re suffering the same financial implications as those who have developed a life-threatening habit.

Basically, when we should be trying to save all the money possible so we have something to live off of the first time on our own, we’re instead squandering it on trifles we won’t even remember by the time we get to college, mostly because lots of them are things we don’t get to keep. Practical? No.

So how about, instead, we remove the sticker value of senior year.

Let’s make it about the memories we make along the way instead of the souvenirs we take with us. Let’s not stress about all the money we’re spending. Let’s let senior year be defined by the expression “happiness is not something you have in your hands; it is something you carry in your heart.”  I think that cliché is a little more welcome than the Mastercard one, don’t you?