When considering lunch options, budget account money accordingly

Students file through the lunch room every day here at Blue Valley. They type in their numbers, have the price of their food totaled and they walk out of the cafeteria, not worrying about how much money they have left in their lunch accounts.

Yet, time and time again, students’ lunch accounts fall negative.

Students are told verbally and electronically when they are approaching the danger zone.

The cafeteria workers tell you how much money you have left.

Your parents receive an e-mail notification when your account becomes low on funds.

It is laziness that keeps you from putting more money into your lunch account.

Remember that the next time the cafeteria workers are forced to tell you that they can’t serve you food.

If a student does not have money, then they can not charge food to their account.

That rule was established by the district food service office.

Unless you bring cash, you can’t charge to a negative account.

That isn’t to say that there are no options to help students from economically struggling families.

The guidelines for applying to get reduced costs on meals can be found on the district’s website.

Eligible students can get meals reduced to less than a dollar, or meals for free.

But for everyone else, this is just one more thing we are becoming responsible for.

Just like it is necessary to make smart decisions when buying food in the cafeteria, it is also necessary to be smart about your money and how to budget it.

If you know that extra slice of pizza is going to make you negative, why not trade it for the side of mashed potatoes, which counts as part of a basic meal?

You might get lucky once.

However, if you stay in the negative continuously, cafeteria workers quickly lose sympathy.

Your lunch account holds real money ­­­­­— money needed to pay for everything that stocks the cafeteria.

Use this as an opportunity to learn how to budget now.

Can you function in the real world?

If you can’t handle your lunch account, how will you deal with overdraft fees on a debit card?

This is a lesson in responsibility — a test in your ability to take care of yourself.

Don’t fail.