University of Wisconsin–Madison

There Are Some Things In Life Money Can Buy

May 23, 2014

It is T-minus 2 days and several preparations are still being made on my part for a successful journey abroad. Travelling to local sporting stores and shopping on online vendors has allowed me to purchase many of the items that are required. But at a price…

What price am I willing to pay??? Listed below are some big ticket items with a corresponding price and minor description.

Dick’s Sporting Goods – The “.99”cent store …

* Field & Stream Suspension Frame Hiking Pack                                          $69.99

If I looked harder, I am sure I could have found a better deal… Regrets collect, just like this debt.

* Diamondback Vortex 10×42 Binoculars                                                     $229.99

I copped out for the best in stock because I plan on taking many more trips where I may need to make field observations from afar. Also good for general spying purposes.

* River George Sleeping Bag – 20F, 33inx81in                                             $39.98

Climbing mountain heights as high as 19,000ft, you can see why 20 degree resistance would be preferable. Also, weird outlier with price of “.98” O.o

* Moab Waterproof Hiking Boots                                                                  $119.99

See that up there? Waterproof. You’ll be trekking through some water for sure.

Eddie Bauer – Reliable brand, if not a little more expensive

Two Pairs of Cargo Pants                                                                               $102.00

Pants. Self-explanatory.

Lots of Socks – Athletic (7 pairs)                                                                   $40.00

Socks. You’ll be going through these like coffee during finals week.

Amazon – Amazon advocate here. Own Prime membership and positively biased of company

* Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Rain Poncho                                                          $15.89

Like I said before, you WILL get wet. “Ultra” necessity.

Gerber Canteen Water Bottle 1L                                                                    $25.49

Honestly, I only bought this because I have never owned a canteen. If you want to save money and buy another type of 1L bottle, be my guest.

GRAND TOTAL                                                                                          $643.33

But studying abroad for a month in Quito, Ecuador? …if only this were a Mastercard commercial.

* NOTE: Denotes an essential item

Specifically, this program required “many hiking”, “such jungle”, and “good bins” or in English terms hiking gear, water resistant equipment, and good binoculars. Not to mention that each item was “so expense” that it was hard to know what was a good deal because I had never done anything like this before. I ended up using Amazon retailer, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Fontana sports. (I was going to use Gander Mountain for binoculars, but they moved for firearm related reasons – you can never own enough firearms).

As you can see, I bought all the essential items from Dick’s, mostly just because I didn’t really know how else to obtain them. I probably spent more money this way, but where else would I have gotten these items? Get your clothing at Eddie Bauer. It will be worth your time. Also these prices end in even dollar amounts. The ratings on Amazon helped, as well as talking to store associates from Dick’s and Eddie Bauer. Though I am unsure how much they told me just to get a sale… You can’t win ‘em all (but you sure can try). Study up if you don’t want to haphazardly buy overpriced items. Research, not just for scientists anymore.

The moral of this story is that study abroad and saving money are like oil and water. You’re going to have to spend money. There’s no avoiding that. But there are several preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of becoming destitute and selling all objects of conceivable value that you or your roommates/parents own.

Lucky for my roommates, I received an IAP Study Abroad scholarship, as well as external assistance through the financial aid office in the form of a grant and loans. Take the loans. You’re young, impressionable, and beautiful (all that is very presumptuous, I know) and you can pay these loans off later. Especially when it is only a little over $1200. Okay, so maybe I’m a different case. But you’re going to be different too. Each program has its own specs, but obviously the goal is to amass all the scholarship money possible to make this dream happen.

Do I regret going to Ecuador already? NO. If I did, it wouldn’t be because of the money. I still think about the implications of attending this trip and I wonder if this is the right decision. But I’ve come so far. To turn back now…

would cost money.

Until next time my audience of next-to-none.