Back when I was in college at Western Kentucky University from approximately 2003-2007, I was what you would call a “broke-ass bitch.” I also had a large group of friends I will call my “broke-ass bitch” friends.

I often ask myself – and them – why we were so broke. All of us had jobs. Most of us were servers or bartenders. We all worked a lot.

So what were we spending all of our money on? Odd that you ask. I had to think hard about this.

Here is a short list:

1. Tanning at the $1 Wash and Tan. They would let you go in a 10 minute bed for 20 minutes because the bulbs hadn’t been changed since 1996. We never actually did laundry there. We saved our piles of dirty clothes for our trips home to see our parents. And yes, it was only a dollar to tan there but I’m pretty sure we went every day. I remember talking on my Nokia cell phone WHILE IN THE TANNING BED. Double cancer.

2. Heaven Hill vodka and cases of Keystone. Thinking about that makes me puke in my mouth a little.

3. Clothing from Express. We would spend hours at Express because one of my friends had an Express card and that was the only place we could shop because we were broke-ass bitches. We would buy low rise jeans with little to no in-seam and teeny tiny denim skirts that had the pockets sticking out the bottom. And gaucho pants. Because those were da bomb back then. The early 2000’s were not a good time for fashion.

4. Food. We all had meal plans but most of our parents bought us two meals a day that we should have been responsible with and portioned daily. Instead we used all our meals at the beginning of the week and had to actually buy food on the weekends. This was before the time of debit cards and the Wendy’s by campus would still take checks in the drive-thru. I remember going to eat there, writing a check, then having to pick up a shift bartending at TGI Friday’s so my check for $2.12 wouldn’t bounce on Monday.

5. Highlights and silver eyeshadow. Chunky highlights were EVERYTHING in college. Along with too much foundation, chokers, hair straighteners and black eyeliner.

6. CDs. As in compact discs. And of course the visor holder for your favorite Mix CDs with the songs you illegally downloaded from Napster and literally took 3 days, 8 hours and 41 minutes to download.

During this difficult/carefree time in my life, I invented the Change Jar. It all came about one day when I cleaned out my disgustingly dirty 1996 gold Taurus, appropriately named Tauri the Taurus.

Note: Tauri’s windshield wipers stopped working when you turned on your left blinker. So if it was raining I had to risk not using my turn signal or not being able to see while turning. Hahaha.

When I really got in between the seats and under all the half empty water bottles, I had loads of change! I found an empty glass jar in my car, I don’t know why it was there, and put all the change in it.

I had probably never cleaned out my car, because I think I found about $30 in quarters.

I was proud of my change jar and carried it in my oversized purse with me everywhere I went. I would treat my friends to McDoubles at McDonald’s at 2 am. Or pay the cover charge for all you can drink night at Brew Co. All in change.

My friends also started to place their change in the money jar, because they knew it was more like a poor college kid emergency fund.

The change jar made it to a lot of bars, tailgates and even took a couple trips to the bowling alley.

I vividly remember the change jar being present this night.

I don’t know what happened to the change jar. It is probably in a box in my mom’s attic. No, Mom, I will not remove all of my old stuff from your attic even though I am now 35 years old.

I do remember all the joy the Change Jar brought to our lives. I remember how excited someone would be when they said they couldn’t go out because they were broke. And we would pull out the change jar and let them know that no one was allowed to sit at home when we had a jar worth $36.92. Keystone for the night on the change jar!

The change jar was also with us in Panama on Spring Break our freshman year when our hotel caught on fire and we had to evacuate. That was an interesting trip.

There was really no point to this blog post except that it makes me laugh to think back to those days.

If you read this far, I applaud you.

Until Next Time,