Bucket List Economics

I hold a very deep principle that a bucket list shouldn’t be filled with expensive items. How many times have you seen a bucket list with something like, “Zipline in the Amazon” or travel some place like this?010697e0ed30875371baed9126acfcba I don’t know about your salary and or lifestyle choices, but I’ll tell you that based on my teacher salary coupled with my student loans, these kinds of “experiences” aren’t realistic. I’ve never been to Europe. I’ve never been to Asia. I’ve never been to Australia. Would I like to go to those places? Of course – duh! But working for $8/hr while in college and then scraping pennies to buy a car and all that jazz has left very little disposable income in my bank account. In college, my parents certainly weren’t going to send me to study abroad when I was already calling home begging for more grocery money. Wait – you just ate caviar in Vegas and then saw Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, you say? You’re right. For the first time EVER, I’ve managed to save enough money to splurge on a few experiences. Some of you remember my epic couponing year where I wanted to “live more on less” and I saved over $8,000 but even then that wasn’t money that went in my savings – it was just more to pay on debt. Before you lecture me on first world problems, believe me, I am not bemoaning my “poor little white girl who got to go to college” status. Having had enough students who are homeless and didn’t have enough money to even buy school supplies, I know I have lived a life of privilege. And that’s why I think a bucket list full of all these crazy, wild, extravagant experiences is problematic. Why is it that there is an expectation that a bucket list is chocked full of things that break the bank? You shouldn’t have to spend a gajillion dollars to enjoy life more, or find yourself. At least that’s my opinion. Some of my most memorable goals have been the incredibly cheap experiences. Laugh all you want, but they were specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Top 5 Cheapest Bucket List Items I’ve Completed 1. Learning to play bingo at the bingo hall. For a mere $10, I was treated to a full day’s worth of entertainment; we got to bring our own snacks, and an egg salad sandwich from the “cafe” costs less than $3. I hear you snickering right now, but we’ve been back many times. 2. Learning to build fire with flint. Using my $2.99 flint kit, we learned an actual survivable skill, cheered when there was actual fire, and then ate marshmallows by the fire all night. What’s not to love? 3. Planning my own funeral. This baby costs ZERO dollars, and I’ve been given major peace of mind. It used to nag at me all the time. What will happen to my body? Will they play crappy music at the service? Now I barely think about it, knowing that my funeral party is all laid out explicitly for my loved ones. 4. Joining the Sheriff’s and FBI Citizen Academies. These experiences werFREE. I still can’t believe it. I was treated to see some awesome public speakers, learn more about my community, and shoot guns. And guess what? It’s not over! 5. Submitting food/crafts to the Oregon State Fair. First it was cookies, then the infamous dollhouse, and marshmallows and dollhouse furniture. Every year I have the pleasure of challenging myself creatively and submitting my items for judging and display at no cost – other than my fair admission (of which I use to the full extent). So tell me? Did these experiences not enrich my life and teach me new things? I certainly learned more about my local community, and I was able to share these experiences with my closest friends. Maybe it’s my Italian grandma’s frugal and bargaining DNA that’s been passed on to me, but rather than trolling pictures of epic places I could visit in the world, I like to think of what I can experience close to home. SOOOOOO THAT BEING SAID, I’m going to Europe this summer. And next summer. And maybe even over Winter Break. When it rains, it pours.

4 thoughts on “Bucket List Economics

    • “Beers in Berlin” sounds like a pretty sweet bucket list item! I’m headed to Amsterdam and then Paris the first half of July, and Greece next summer (with my students). I believe I’m also going to get a “training” trip abroad and Berlin is one of my options. If I make it to Germany I would LOVE to have some German beers with you!!!

      • Training in Berlin over Spring Break? A friend of mine did that last year with a student tour package. What would be super cool though is if you could come to the ELMLE conference and present in January. Your consultant firm should send you. 😉 http://www.elmle.org/
        You would meet some amazing Middle School teachers from all over the world.

  1. Berlin was one of our options for October but it’s sold out! I may try to see if I can get on a wait list. I love reading about your classroom so talking in person would be SO COOL.

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