Fourteen quarters a day. Does it sound ridiculous when you say it aloud? It must. Though I’ve never heard anyone utter the words “Fourteen quarters a day changed my life,” I’m here to tell you otherwise. Lucky for you, I’ve done the simple math— a freshman in high school who dedicates his or her time to saving just 14 quarters a day up until college graduation will amass a savings of 40,768 quarters—a little over $10,000.
Now as a high school freshman, you may not entirely understand what a monumental difference $10,000 could make for you as a recent college graduate, as you transition to an “independent” lifestyle for the very first time. I use the term “independent” loosely—ask the parents of recent graduates just how “independent” their new college graduate is in those initial post-college years. Ask a recent graduate how $10,000 might help them, as they try and plant their feet firmly onto the slippery slope of employment in those gruesome first six months. At that point in time, $10,000 is everything. Your parents will support it, and your future self will thank you for it.
What you are missing out on when you save 14 quarters a day:
14 gum balls that lose sufficient flavor after two good bites.
3, maybe 4 loads of laundry if you’re lucky.
7 Twix bars if they sold Twix bars in singles.
I can’t do it. 14 quarters is just too much! Nonsense! You can find quarters on the ground, in your couch, and in your dirty laundry hamper. Chances are there is a quarter in your pocket right now. Have you ever politely asked a friend for a quarter? What about a relative? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I promise you, quarters all around town have been waiting for the day to be part of a worthwhile cause like your 14 Quarter Project.
To start out, here is a potential letter you can use as an aid. Reformat as needed:
“Dear Mom and Dad,
I am writing this letter to request your help in my quest to save fourteen quarters a day. If I do this up until my college graduation, I will have saved $10,000, which will carry me over as I transition into life as an independent in the real world. If you choose to decide that the 14 Quarter Project is not worth your time, it is within my understanding that my transition into the real world will be all the more difficult. It is also within my understanding that I will undoubtedly return from college to live in this very room that I write this letter from, eight years from now. The choice is yours…
Your ambitious, proactive child
Make sure you charge them each a quarter to read the letter. They’ll love your ambition.
3 Rules to the 14 Quarter Project
Rule #1: You can never take money out. You can only put money in.
Think of it this way. This money in no way, shape, or form belongs to you. You owe your future self $10,000, and he or she has agreed to let you pay back this debt over an eight-year period. That’s right, you are indebted to your future self.
Rule #2: See it to the finish.
Some days will be more difficult than others. But by the law of averages, some days will also be easier than others. Your “stick-to-it-iveness” will be battled-tested and prepare you for the several other tests life will throw at you in this eight-year stretch.
Rule #3: See rule #1.
It will be difficult, so it must be said twice. Consider those 14 quarters non-refundable after the day has past. If you ever feel tempted to break the rule, quickly imagine the joy you will experience as you receive a check from yourself for $10,000 (or a bag of 40,768 quarters, your choice). This is called vorfreude– the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures. Step your vocab game up.
Why Should I do this?
Delayed GratificationDelayed Gratification is a psychological concept that relies on the virtues of patience, self-control, and sheer willpower to resist the temptation for an immediate reward in order to receive a better reward at a later point in time.
The benefits you will receive simply by partaking in the 14 Quarter Project far outweighs the $10,000 payment you will be giving to yourself eight years from now. By committing yourself to this very worthwhile project, you will face challenges, make decisions, and be forced to grow in ways you could not duplicate in any other situation imaginable. You will develop a great time perspective—the amount of time one takes into consideration when planning goals and making decisions. (FFT: Studies have shown that amassing great wealth and having a great time perspective often go hand in hand.) Think of this as an eight-year school project, only this time the project is you. The 14 Quarter Project will reveal invaluable knowledge that you will not receive in school, but will without doubt benefit you for the rest of your entire life.
So share with your friends. Make it a competition. The great thing about this game is that there are no losers. Start today: let the 14 Quarter Project unfold and change your life for the better.