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Flex-point frugality

Brian Hartnett | Thursday, September 6, 2012

I have a confession to make. I burn through Flex points in the same way a professional athlete burns through his first paycheck or a trust fund baby burns through his or her parent’s credit card. That is to say, with complete and utter recklessness.
This revelation finally came to me in the same way many others have during my time at Notre Dame, as I was sitting on a couch in Reckers during the wee hours of Monday morning. I had been sitting on the same couch not even 12 hours earlier, yet here I was, making another “Reckers run” to break the monotony of a late-night homework session.
I consider myself to be a prudent spender, as I’ve been careful with how I’ve spent the money accrued from my summer jobs over the past few years. But there is something about seeing that $375 balance in my account each semester that causes me to spend like a fiend.
It’s hard to define the exact reasons behind my massive point consumption. Part of it may be my schedule, or lack thereof, as I’ve never set a routine for mealtimes and usually just follow my impulses. I’m also slow eater and have a hard time finding 45-minute periods to spend at the dining hall and I occasionally get sick of dining hall food. (The dining hall food at Notre Dame is good, but it gets tiring seeing the same selection greet you day after day.)
Seeing my balance is often more terrifying than seeing my final semester grades. I ran out of Flex points by Thanksgiving Break in my first semester of freedom and topped that feat when I saw my balance hit zero at the end of March last semester. I can only imagine how quickly I would have spent them had I lived in a prime campus location, like Sorin instead of Carroll, which is at minimum a harrowing 10-minute walk from the nearest food establishment.
Meanwhile, some of my friends have guarded their Flex points as if they’re bars of gold at Fort Knox, with some ending the year with more points than they started with.
Maybe they think they can cash in their unused Flex points for thousands of dollars after graduation, but it’s certainly interesting to see the stark contrast in consumption habits.
So, in an effort to partially emulate these super savers and ensure I have enough points to eat during finals week, I’ve tried to restrict my use to three times a week. As my late night visit to Reckers shows, my old habits will die hard, but, like the main theme of the upcoming election, I do intend to fight lavish spending and maybe develop a healthy routine.
And, if I’m unsuccessful I’m sure a few of you kind Domers can muster up the compassion to lend your ol’ buddy Brian your ID card when the time comes.