Category Archives: Money

Think Simple, Think Frequent, Think Stimulus… Sounds Like a Plan

By Ashley Posimato

With the financial crisis that the country is currently facing, the idea of a completely enclosed booth with a fan bottom, carelessly blowing $2,000 at full speed, while an overzealous contestant tries to hold on to as much as he or she can, may not seem like the best plan for progression.

Or it may be just the right remedy to turn the economy around.

In response to both overwhelming number of Americans in financial trouble, and President Obama’s recent stimulus plan, Ellen DeGeneres has recently implemented her own version of a “stimulus package” on her daytime television show.  The plan is executed by first locating the person in need of specific help, then surprising them with the miracle they have been waiting for — a $5,000 gift card, a year supply of gas, a brand new car, or the Gold Digger booth (the air tight money blower).

Although the offerings that Ellen provides are capable of changing lives, the extravagance of the gifts is not nearly as significant as the intention behind it; which is proven by the consistent conclusion of the daily segment where Ellen asks us to also give whenever we can. And people are responding.

Marissa Sparagano, junior at St. John’s University, believes that giving to those in need should be an integral part of our lives.

“Doing community service and giving to charities is the best form of gratification,” Sparagano said. “This year I’m doing the MS walk with some of my friends to support the victims of Multiple Sclerosis.”

Last year's Relay For Life at Marist

Last year's Relay for Life at Marist

Charity walks are a very popular and effective fundraiser, which makes them easy to locate and participate in.

“I have been doing Relay for Life every year since I was a freshman,” said Christine Younkin, currently a senior at Marist College. “It’s always great to see how many tents are set up and how many people devote their entire weekend to the event.”

Relay for Life takes place every spring on the Marist’s campus’s main lawn.  Participants register for a fee, raise as much money as they can, and stay up all night in teams, supporting one another to keep walking to fight cancer.

“It gets really emotional as the night goes on,” Younkin said, “but just remembering what the cause is for makes it easier to get through.”

Although charities are both important and impacting, they are not the only way to contribute to society. Simple acts of kindness, on a daily basis can be just as effective.

Kasey Nagle, student-athlete at Marist College just recently realized how important it is to recognize every opportunity, no matter how minimal, to help out.

“I used to try to haggle with the cab drivers to try and get the best deal,” Nagle said, “until one guy told me all about his life in the time it took to get to the train station[…] how could I bargain after that?”

Nagle learned that everybody has a story and there comes a time (many times for some people) where we could all use a little help.  This lesson is the same one Ellen DeGeneres reminds us to acknowledge everyday.
“As I listened to him talk about his daughter I began to feel bad for trying to talk down my past cab drivers,” Nagle said. “When we got to the station he said ‘six dollars please.’

“I gave him 20.”

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Sticky Fingers on the Rise During Hard Times

 

By Sara Shea

While some are out looking for a second job to earn a little extra cash during these tough economic times, others are taking a less legal route to make ends meet. According to an nbcnewyork.com article, shoplifting is on the rise due to the failing economy.

Grocery and retail chains are being hit the hardest. According to the article at nbcnewyork.com, “One skint New Yorker has shoplifted close to $30,000 of gourmet groceries from markets like Whole Foods.”

 

Specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods Market are especially prone to shoplifting during winter months. Large coats and baggy layers make concealing stolen goods easier.

Specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods Market are especially prone to shoplifting during winter months. Large coats and baggy layers make concealing stolen goods easier.

 

 

Not only are thieves robbing stores blind; they are actually giving others tips on how to get in on the action. In the same article, an anonymous shoplifter offers advice to others hoping to score a five-finger discount on their next grocery trip. The “Biggest mistakes you can make include not getting to know a store’s camera system, rushing, and hitting grocery stores close to where you live.”

In addition to grocery stores, retailers are also feeling the heat. Marist sophomore Lauren Bis has witnessed how detrimental shoplifting can be first hand. “I work at Victoria’s Secret and there is at least $100 in merchandise stolen each week,” Bis said. “This summer there was actually a shoplifting ring busted at my store. There were five women who would steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from my store and three other stores close by.”

According to an article published in the New York Times, “A Better Business Bureau study puts the losses from shoplifting to businesses across the country at $8 billion to $16 billion a year. The amount varies because of different estimates on how much shoplifting goes undetected, but the study concluded that each family in the United States pays 10 percent of its retail dollars to cover shoplifting thefts.”

 

Legal consequences of shoplifting can include any or all of the following penalties: jail or prison time, punitive fines, community service hours, and more. Offenders are often prohibited from entering the place of business from which they stole goods.

Legal consequences of shoplifting can include any or all of the following penalties: jail or prison time, punitive fines, community service hours, and more. Offenders are often prohibited from entering the place of business from which they stole goods.

 

 

At Marist, measures are being taken to ensure the cafes and the bookstore do not fall victim to petty theft. New cameras have been installed in all of the cafes on campus to help protect the businesses from shoplifting

“I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed an increase in theft since the recession started,” said Theresa Kilmer, lead retail supervisor at the Cabaret. “However I think the cameras have scared any potential thieves away.”

Sodexho, the school’s food supplier, installed the cameras in September in an effort to deter students from stealing. The company installed similar cameras in every school they service.

“I would say since the cameras have been installed I’ve personally only caught 1 or 2 students stealing,” Kilmer said. “Last year students were getting greedy. The second you would turn your back they would fill there bags and bolt.”

Though measures are being taken across the country to discourage shoplifters, budget cuts and layoffs give thieves easy access to goods. In addition to theft, credit card fraud has also seen a rise since the dawn of the recession in September. Retailers nationwide are doing their best to minimize loss and prevent future issues.

Eat Like a King, Pay Like a Pauper

 

By Sara Shea

 

With prices this low anyone can enjoy a three course meal as a mid-week treat.

With prices this low anyone can enjoy a three course meal as a mid-week treat.

 

 

Frugal? Fear Not! The Culinary Institute of America is offering three course fixed-price meals for under $30 now through April 30th.  Located just three miles from Marist College, the CIA is a great place to splurge if you’re in the mood to spoil your taste buds.

New low priced specials are being offered in an effort to attract customers during slow economic times. Lunch specials are changed daily and start as low as $19.95. Three course dinners are served with coffee, tea, or wine – an absolute steal at $29.95.

“The low prices are definitely drawing in crowds,” said Cindy Stauffer, the receptionist at the reservation desk at the CIA. “Eating out is one of the first things people try to cut back on to save money. The fixed price specials were a great idea.”

These low priced specials are offered in all four of the CIA’s award winning restaurants. So whether you’re in the mood for American, French, or Italian even the pickiest eater is bound to find something they will enjoy.

“I first went to the CIA last year as a freshman during parents weekend,” Marist sophomore Leslie Hurd said. “My boyfriend took me to dinner last month and it was even better than I’d remembered.”

The low fixed price specials are offered Monday through Friday by reservation. After savoring a delicious three-course meal, make sure to check out the CIA’s Apple Pie Bakery Café for some gourmet sweets.

“I’m usually pretty picky so whenever I go [to the CIA] with my family I play it safe and make them go to the American restaurant,” Marist sophomore Marissa Conroy said. “But seeing as it was only $20 I thought I’d be adventurous and try the Escoffier Restaurant for lunch. It was my first experience with French food, and I have to say, I didn’t hate it.”

The students at the Culinary Institute prepare the food in all four restaurants as well as bus the tables and seat the guests. Proceeds from the restaurants support the school and the students. So not only are the fixed price meals cheap, the proceeds are helping a worthy cause.

 

To make reservations by phone call 845-471-6608.

Menus vary so be sure to call ahead for details.

Turn Off the Sink, and Tap Into Your Consciousness

By Ashley Posimato

Upon their return to Marist last week, the Global Outreach students showed a new appreciation for a commonly overlooked necessity — water.  Immersed in a culture suffering from an inadequate water supply, they were confronted with the reality of the danger of such conditions.

And although they had to leave the community in Mexico, they returned just in time to continue working to provide safe water, only now on an even larger scale.

Saturday, March 28th, marked the end of UNICEF’s second annual World Water Week. The United Nation’s Children’s Fund, UNICEF, started the Tap Water Project in 2007 exclusively in New York City with the goal of receiving one dollar for every glass of water served at participating restaurants.  The money collected is used to ensure clean and safe drinking water for children around the world.

According to tapproject.org, only two years after its commencement, The Tap Project generates money from over 2,300 restaurants around the country, with each dollar guaranteeing a child 40 days of access to safe water.

Cutillo’s a family owned restaurant in Carmel, New York discovered UNICEF’s project the first year it began, and continue as loyal participants.

“This is our third year contributing to the program,” said Patrick Cutillo, chef and son of owner Michael Cutillo.  “American Express ran an advertisement and I have always been in favor of helping move the clean water effect.”

As a former student at the Cullinary Institute of America, the use of water was an integral part of most of Cutillo’s experience.

“Water is the universal ingredient,” Cutillo said, “We used it to boil, wash, prepare, lighten[…] essentially we used it for everything, and went on to have careers that require us to use it for everything.”

But even non-culinary college students, pursuing futures that have nothing to do with food service, are dependent (sometimes without realizing) on the availability of water.

Kristen Aliperti, junior at Marist keeps a water bottle with her at all times.

“I leave for my 8 o’clock class with my water every morning,” Aliperti said, “and I refill it at least four or five times a day.”

Yet although it is important to drink plenty of water for hydration and good nutrition, there are instances where the very easy option to conserve water is neglected by many college-age students.

(When asked about her morning routine)

“I’m usually in a rush, so I try to do multiple things while the tooth brush is in my mouth,” Aliperti said, “[…] I guess I leave the faucet on most of the time — I don’t mean to.”

But the simple act of shutting the water between rinses shows a sense of cognitive thinking about water, and is one of the main components for progression.

“I think the Tap Project produces benefits beyond the obvious monetary profit,” Cutillo said. “It forces people to recognize their good fortune, and reevaluate the sense of entitlement that is many times associated with water.”

Michael Cutillo, main chef and owner of the restaurant said, “We are living during a time of economic unrest, everyone is hurting.” “But it’s times like this when we should be helping each other the most and celebrating what we do have; our health, our loved ones, and our liberty to live in a great country.”

And even if the land of the free, puts a price on everything — one dollar doesn’t seem so bad.

“[…] And very few people leave one dollar, most people donate 20 dollars or more” Michael Cutillo said.

“Why wouldn’t anyone want to give forty days to a kid? I promise there is no bigger or better way to stretch one dollar.”

*Cutillo’s can be found amongst all the other locations on UNICEF’s list of particicapting restaurants at:   http://www.tapproject.org/tap-in-your-city/

Sustenance for Happiness: A More Than Even Exchange

By Ashley Posimato

With the breaking of each wave it rushes onto the sand, creating the most welcoming summer breeze along the shoreline. It showers down upon the earth eliminating the lingering summer heat and initiating an equally pleasant crisp autumn breeze. As it descends from the sky, it freezes, naturally illustrating a long awaited winter wonderland. It follows the photosynthetic process of the sun, soaking the ground and nourishing the roots of plants that thirst for it.

Water is basic: it is just as desired fulfilling as it is necessary.

At the same time, water is abstract: it is longed for and unattainable; it is essential yet scarce.

Although theoretically inconsistent, both statements stem from very real circumstances. Water, for those fortunate enough to enjoy its prevalence, is thoughtlessly interwoven into society. However, an entire separate population aches from the void of this resource. When forced to confront such a reality, a small group of Marist students found themselves reevaluating their appreciation of one of life’s simplest necessities.

Marist’s Campus Ministry boasts the highest student membership of any organization on campus. In addition to its monthly meetings and weekly volunteer programs, Campus Ministry offers special project opportunities that allow students to fulfill their responsibility as global citizens by performing service on an international scale through the Global Outreach team.

They arrive back to campus with much more than the small amount of luggage they leave with.

“I really didn’t know what it would be like,” said Caroline Brandel, a junior and first time member of the Global Outreach team. “But in close to no time I became part of the community,” she said, “at the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave.”

Last friday, Campus Ministry’s Global Outreach team returned from Merida, capital of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, where they worked in the Emiliano Zapata community for the third consecutive year.

First year campus minister Katie Sullivan replaced Jamie Williams as the advisor and facilitator of this year’s trip.

“I’ve done service like this before,” Sullivan said, “It’s exciting because the needs of the community are always changing.”

This year the main concern was supplying the residents of the underdeveloped areas with clean water.

“The Emiliano Zapata was built on a dump, so the water is not drinkable for anyone,” Sullivan said. “Our job was to filter it in the new water plant and deliver it to the southern most parts of town.”Photo by: Katie Sullivan, Marist College

The new facility allowed the team to filter 20 liters at a time and distribute the containers accordingly. Each container cost 6 pasos for the immediate surrounding area, and 3 pasos for the refugees who dwell in the deep south (both discounted prices).

“I was part of the group that brought the containers back to the refugees in the south,” Brandel said. “This was the poorest area, but as shocking as it was to see the conditions they were living in, it was even more incredible to receive their appreciation,” she said. “It was the most genuine emotion I ever experienced–and over water.”

The students worked full days though the dry heat of the Mexican climate. They collected and filled large containers with a purified form of what they previously considered an indispensable resource.

“At the end of the last day when my skin was filled with sweat, dirt, and mosquito bites, I couldn’t wait to just wash my face,” Brandel said. “Then the faucet let out two small drops before it completely stopped running,” she said, “That night I slept with a dirty face, and a big smile.”

You Are What You Buy: But You Don’t Have To Be

By Ashley Posimato

Wow! That crew-neck, long sleeve from The Gap looked so good on you, buying it in every color was definitely the move to make.  And then, only twelve shirts later, you practically had your foot out the door, ready to vacate the mall, with what you would consider merely minimal damage. Oh right that was only until Bloomingdale’s was having a BOGO sale on Giuseppe Zanotti pumps.  So what’s two more pairs of shoes? Then again you would be adding them to a closet that is already teeming with designer footwear.  But two for one Zanotti’s?  Even your cheap, I mean frugal, mother wouldn’t pass that deal up.

Do these thoughts dictate your decisions?  Do visions of Oscar de la Renta’s pre-fall fashion show (released online this week!) inundate your dreams?  Would you neglect previously verified obligations at the announcement of a sample sale?  If you answer yes, even if only internally, to one or more of these, you may in fact be a shopaholic.

But I assure you, you are not alone!

According to MSN.com, recent studies suggest that over 17 million Americans are unable to restrict their money from burning a hole in their pocket- hey a hole in a pocket is an excuse for new jeans!  But although this behavior is commonly made humorous, for some people, compulsive shopping is far from a punch line to a joke.

Allison Friedman, a psychologist at the Marist Counseling Center, believes that there are people out there who are real shopaholics, despite the light connotation that surrounds it.

“Shopping is a real illness,” Friedman said.  “We joke about it, but there are  people who are really caught up in it- and for them it’s very serious.”

The seriousness of the disease however, can only be appreciated if understood.  It is important therefore to not only identify the behavior, but define what is dangerous, from what is entertaining.

“Compulsive shopping comes from the distorted belief that this activity has the power to make things better in your life,” Friedman said.  “That these things will substitute for whatever it is that you are missing.”

Friedman also clarified that there are occasions in life that motivate shopping: weddings, baby announcements, etc.  These moments are ever-present, albeit manifested in different forms. While a thirty-something year old may be more inclined to shop for their best friends upcoming shower, someone in their early twenties will have very different incentives.

Julia Janicelli, a junior at Marist, says that her shopping patterns depend on her plans for the weekend as well as her mood.

“This past weekend I was really sick, so I went shopping as a gift to myself,”  Janicelli said.

Being restricted to her house is not the only condition that justifies her shopping. From the looks of those who frequent the local night-life spots, she is not alone.

“If something good is going on that weekend I’ll want something new,” said Janicelli.  “I get sick of my clothes, but always end up buying something that isn’t worth it.”

Most people can identify with this feeling of dis-satisfaction, however when the purchases add up, and authority no longer accompanies behavior, compulsive buying becomes very dangerous.

“Although this is an addiction that is very easily tagged onto women, it is equally serious for suffering men,” Friedman said.

The difference is apparent in the type of things shopaholics are likely to buy.  Women will more likely splurge on clothes, cosmetics, and accessories, while it is more probable for men to stock up on electronics.

“I would never buy more than one pair of shoes for the year,” said Nic Zivic, a student-athlete at Marist College.  “But when it comes to video games I can’t get enough.”

Zivic admits that although he lives in one house with seven other boys, thus has immediate access to all of their games, unless it is his personal possession, he’s not satisfied.

“I like to know that I bought it,” Zivic said.  “The more games I have the better I feel, it like represents power.”

It is specifically the attribution of power to items that qualifies the behavior as compulsive.  The good news is that there are affective ways to change, and many people have proved them through their recovery.

“First the activity needs to be confronted,” Friedman said.  “Then a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, and financial counseling will help the shopper change their habits.

“Ultimately a shopaholic needs to change the way they think about reality. They need to be able to say ‘I’m here, I’m valid, I exist.'”

Putting an End to Foreclosures: Obama’s Bailout Plan

By Sara Shea

From fortune five hundred companies to average American homeowners, “bailout” is the buzzword everyone is talking about. With the economy in a recession and the housing market in a slump, the government is scrambling to appease uneasy Americans.

According to the New York Times, “Almost one in 10 home mortgages is either delinquent or in foreclosure, and analysts estimate that as many as six million families could lose their homes over the next three years in the absence of government action.”

Over the past year the economy has gone down and the number of foreclosed homes has gone up. Homeowners are frantic because many cannot afford the large mortgage payments due to high interest rates.

Over the past year the economy has gone down and the number of foreclosed homes has gone up. Homeowners are frantic because many cannot afford the large mortgage payments due to high interest rates.

Young people across the country are feeling the effects of the ailing housing market. “My girlfriend’s dad has been out of work for almost eight months,” said University of Maine junior Alex Ortiz. She will have to transfer because her parents can not afford tuition. It’s between sending her to school and keeping a roof over their heads.

Marist College academic advisor Nancy Lemmermann has several students under extreme pressure due to the recession and housing crisis. “I have one student who is struggling with her GPA,” said Lemmermann. “If she loses her scholarship she can’t afford to stay here.”

Though some believe government aid is needed to help the housing market, others argue that government aid is interfering with the economic cycle and that the housing crisis will be fixed in time.

President Obama has proposed a bailout plan that could help as many as nine million Americans refinance or avoid foreclosure. Though this plan sounds like the perfect solution to the ailing housing market, according to the Huffington Post it could cost tax payers between $275 and $350 billion.

“Its our best hope, buyers are buying again,” said California real estate agent Doug Digiore. “A lot of first time home buyers are back, which we haven’t seen in over a year. It’s really our only option, so I’m hopeful, but I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket.”

According to the New York Times, the suggested bailout will target “homeowners who are still current on their payments, but who are paying high interest rates and cannot refinance,” as well as “about four million people who are at risk of losing their homes.”

“The bailout sounds great on paper, when you know very few details,” said Marist College junior Trey Savage. “Though I don’t have that much real world experience, as a business major I think the bailout is more like a band aid than a real solution.”

With a glimmer of hope in the distance, homeowners are slowly regaining confidence in America’s once thriving housing industry. Potential homebuyers are back in the market and home prices are starting to regain traction. Though the future is unpredictable, President Obama’s bailout is helping to reverse the nation’s economic tailspin.

For more information regarding the government bailout please see the following sites.

2009StimulusPlan.org

Center For Responsible Lending

The New Housing Plan