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How do people pay for college?
Apr 23, 2024
Season 6 | Episode 3

How do people pay for college?

There are lots of ways to pay for college!

In this episode, Bridget and Ryan answer Aela’s question about college saving accounts and how they work with a special guest: an aspiring tooth fairy hoping to embark on her own college adventure! Together, they’ll learn all about the ways people save or pay for college: savings accounts, 529 plans, scholarships and student loans during orientation day at Magic University. And they’ll meet some magical (and spooky) creatures along the way.

Tips for grownups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids

Money Talks

Keep the conversation going at home. After you and your kid listen to the episode, try asking your kid some of these questions to see how much they learned:

  1. Have you ever saved up for something big? How did it go, or how’s it going?
  2. Do you think you’d like to go to college or a job training program after high school?
  3. Would you rather have a 529 savings account, where the value goes up and down based on investments, or a traditional savings account? (Parents, if you’re saving for college as a family, this is a good time to talk about what you have set up or how you’d like to save in the future).
  4. *Bonus* Not So Random Question: Is it easier to be a kid or a grownup?

Tip Jar

For listeners (and their grownups) who want to learn more about ways to pay for college:

  • In this episode, Inez the Elf paid for college with a 529 account that her parents set up. These are government-sponsored plans in which parents can invest for their children’s education. If you’re a parent thinking about starting a 529 account for your kid, check out this article from BestColleges and this step-by-step guide from Investopedia about setting one up.
  • Applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one way to find out your student’s eligibility for a variety of programs, but studies show that families who are most likely to benefit are sometimes the least likely to apply. Read more about how to apply with this guide from U.S. News & World Report.
  • For FAFSA applicants: Work-study is another way some students pay for college. These are part-time jobs that can be on or off-campus. Check out this article from NerdWallet to learn more about the application process and qualifications for work-study.
  • For older listeners: Listen to this episode from Financially Inclined to learn more about student loans and the mistake to avoid when signing up for one. They have another episode about scholarships too!

Gimme 5

Thanks for listening to this episode! If your kid listeners are saving up for something big, from college to a trip or something fun they want to buy for themselves or others, we’d love to hear about it! Get in touch with us by using this online form.

This episode is sponsored by Greenlight. Start saving for college with up to 5% on savings. Get one month free and an extra $10 when you sign up for Greenlight Infinity at greenlight.com/million


Cold Open:

RYAN: (TALKING WEIRD) Bridget, Bridget, check it out. Look at my teeth. 

BRIDGET: Oh. Wow. Did you lose a front tooth?


RYAN: I did! The dentist warned me if I don’t stop eating so much candy corn, I’d start (TOOTH WHISTLES) losing teeth. But I never thought I’d lose a big one right up front. Whatddya think? Does it look cool? Can I pull this off as a style (TOOTH WHISTLES) ?

BRIDGET: Mmmm, honestly, no. You might want to get it fixed. 

RYAN: Ok. I’ll add it to my to-dos. But guess (TOOTH WHISTLES) what I’m gonna do tonight? I’m putting this tooth under my pillow to see (TOOTH WHISTLES) if the tooth fairy comes. 

BRIDGET: Uh, you might be a little old for the tooth fairy to visit you, Ryan.


RYAN: We’ll see (TOOTH WHISTLES) about that. I’ll put my tooth under this pillow for now. And tonight as I drift off to sleep (TOOTH WHISTLES), maybe the tooth fairy will visit me and leave me a dollar. Maybe even five.



BRIDGET: What in the world? What is that coming through the window? It looks like glowing, wing-flapping-


RYAN: Excuse (TOOTH WHISTLES) me… are you… the tooth fairy?





–Theme Music–

BRIDGET: (FRANTIC) Hey, kids! I’m Bridget!

RYAN: (FRANTIC) And I’m Ryan!

BRIDGET: And we help dollars make more cents!

RYAN: And I think we just made contact with the tooth fairy! You are the tooth fairy, right?

TOOTH FAIRY: (NERVOUS, FAST-PACED UPTALK) Uh, not quite. Ugh, this is so awkward. I should introduce myself, my name is Nina. I’m an aspiring tooth fairy. I’m not, like, a real tooth fairy… yet, at least.

RYAN: Oh, so you’re like the tooth fairy’s assistant (TOOTH WHISTLES) or something (TOOTH WHISTLES)?

TOOTH FAIRY: No, I wish. I’m not a certified tooth fairy yet. This summer, I’ve, like, been hanging around houses where someone’s lost a tooth because I’m hoping to meet some real tooth fairies and get my foot in the door and make contacts. In the tooth fairy world, networking is important. Do you know any real tooth fairies?

BRIDGET: Can’t say that I do.


TOOTH FAIRY: Did you just take my picture? Don’t take my picture! No one can know I’m real!

RYAN: Sorry, I’ll delete it!

BRIDGET: But wait, back up a minute. You’re a teenage fairy trying to become a real tooth fairy? How do you even do that?? 

TOOTH FAIRY: Well you go to college, duh! I actually just found out I got into Magic University! It’s one of the best enchanted colleges out there. I want to major in Tooth Fairy Sciences. And maybe minor in wish granting. 


RYAN: [AMAZED] Are you kidding me??

TOOTH FAIRY: Assuming I can figure out how to pay for it, of course!

BRIDGET: We’d obviously love to learn more about magic school, but we’re really supposed to be answering kids questions about money. Nina, you can stay and listen if you want. Let’s hear today’s question: 


AELA: Hi, my name is Aela from Tampa, Florida. And my question is, what is a college account and how does it work? 

BRIDGET: So I’m guessing that Aela is asking about college savings accounts. Let me give you some quick background here. 


BRIDGET: Everyone is offered a free education through high school in this country, but some people will need or want extra training before they can get the job they want as an adult. 

TOOTH FAIRY: Like me! That’s exactly my situation! I’ve wanted to be a tooth fairy since I was knee high to a grasshopper!

RYAN: Well, you’re not that much bigger than a grasshopper now, to be perfectly honest, no offense.

BRIDGET: So maybe like Nina, they get extra training at a college or a trade school. The college route is expensive…at least non-magic college. One year of college can cost as much as a car, and most people are gonna go for about four years. So that’s buying a new car every year, for four years.  


TOOTH FAIRY: Yeah, Magic University is pricey too. But the good news is they started accepting dollars, not just rubies and dragons eggs. But I’m still not sure how I’m going to pay for it! 

RYAN: Pay for college? So in college, people pay to have to sit through school? You hear about this? Craziest thing I’ve heard of all day, and I actually met the actual tooth fairy. 


BRIDGET:  Yeah, college can be so expensive that families sometimes start saving money to pay for college wayyy before they need that money. They might start a savings account at the bank. There’s another type of college account called a 529 plan. You know, this is a really good topic. I can’t believe we’ve never done an episode about paying for college before.

TOOTH FAIRY: It would be REALLY great if you could uh, also give me some ideas and strategies for paying for college? The conversion rate between dragon eggs and U.S. dollars still ain’t great! 


RYAN: What’s that? It that some kind of tooth fairy sound?

NINA: Wasn’t me.

BRIDGET: Oh, sorry, that was me! I just had a great idea! Since this question is about how people pay for college, and you’re trying to figure out how to pay for college…how about we follow you to your first day of Tooth Fairy University, find out how the students there are paying, and then give you some ideas for how to pay?

TOOTH FAIRY: Yeah, totally. But, to be clear, there is no “Tooth Fairy College.” That would be totally unrealistic. I’m going to Magic University, the northern hemisphere’s number one interdisciplinary school for all magical, charmed, and otherwise unexplained phenomenon, including fairies, goblins, flying reindeer, and sandmen. 

BRIDGET: Right right but…do we have a deal? 

TOOTH FAIRY: Well…humans aren’t really allowed in the magical realm, but I guess I could make an exception. Just don’t get me into trouble!

BRIDGET: Great, we’ll do that when we come back.

RYAN: Hey, do I still (TOOTH WHISTLES) get money for my tooth?

TOOTH FAIRY: Errr, sorry, I don’t have any cash on me.

RYAN: Ok, well, that seems (TOOTH WHISTLES) like lesson number one to becoming a tooth fairy, but, whatever- we’ll get into right after the break.

–Asking Random Kids NOT SO Random Questions–

ANNOUNCER: And now it’s time for Asking Random Kids Not So Random Questions. Today’s question is: is it easier to be a kid or a grown up?

RANDOM KIDS: “It’s easier to be a kid because you just go to school instead of going to work and paying for everything.” “It is easier to be a grownup because you get to decide how to spend your salary.” “Grownups don’t have to do as many stuff. Kids, we have to do everything grownups tell us to do.” “I think it’s easier to be a kid cause you don’t have to worry about money problems.” “I definitely think that it’s easier being a kid than a grownup because we don’t have to pay bills. We don’t have to work.” “A kid. Definitely. All the way.”

ANNOUNCER: That was Cornelius in Spokane. Max in New York City. Owen in Washington, D.C. Elena in Texas. And Sofia and Moya California. This has been Asking Random Kids Not So Random Questions.

Part 1:

BRIDGET: Welcome back to Million Bazillion. Today, Ryan and I are hanging out with Nina, an aspiring tooth fairy we met, hoping to learn more about how people pay for college.

RYAN: And the timing of all this is (TOOTH WHISTLES) perfect because Nina is about to start (TOOTH WHISTLES) her first day at Magic University, a higher education institution (TOOTH WHISTLES) for magically benevolent nighttime visitors in training. She’s letting us tag along for her orientation day.

NINA: And the first step is to go to the Office of Student Financial Services and pay for my first semester’s tuition and room and board! Tuition is what the school charges to take classes, room and board is the cost of the dorms where I’ll be staying. Follow me!










BRIDGET: Whoa, are those flying dollar bills! They have little wings!

RYAN: And piles of gold coins! And piles of rubies! And piles of –oh, I guess they still accept dragons eggs. 

BRIDGET: This is like the coolest college office I’ve ever seen!

NINA: Pretty normal for magic people, I’ll be honest. 

MARCUS: Alright, gather up, gang. Welcome, freshman of Magic University, last names N through Z. I’m your Financial-Aid Office-Assistant, Marcus. I’m a junior here, majoring in tricking with a minor in treating. If you have any questions about paying your tuition, I’m your guy. Seems like we got a good little group here of very magical characters, along with two very… regular-looking adults. 

BRIDGET: Oh, yeah. Hey. I’m Bridget and this is Ryan, we’re here to learn about how to pay for college so we can teach kids what to expect, don’t mind us.

MARCUS: Ok, well technically, these magical characters shouldn’t be consorting with regular people. Like you could definitely get kicked out if campus security sees you. But this sounds like it’s for a good educational purpose, so just don’t let the dean see you.

BRIDGET: That’s very kind of you!

RYAN: Hey, how much does tuition at a place like this cost anyway?

MARCUS: Tuition is $24,000 a year–

RYAN: Whoa, that’s as much as a car! Well, a Honda Civic. 

MARCUS:  Like I said, $24,000 a year or $12,000 a semester. That’s what we call the sticker price, like it’s the price you’re gonna find on the website. 

RYAN: Yikes! That’s a little pricey, isn’t it?

MARCUS: Hey, I don’t set the prices! Okay folks, before we get started, did everyone fill out the FAFSA form?

RYAN: [WHISPERS] Uh, what is that? Bridget, did we fill out the FAFSA form? What is the FAFSA form for anyway?

BRIDGET: [WHISPERS] I think he’s talking to the students, we’re not going to college, I don’t think we need to fill that out. 

MARCUS: That’s right, it’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All US student, magical or not, need to fill this out if they want to see how much the government might be willing to help them pay for college.  I assume all you freshmen here filled out their FAFSA? 


MARCUS: Great! Because if you filled it out, you might be awarded some federal financial aid, including grants, access to federal loans which are considered a little better sometimes than private loans, and work-study programs. Then you can figure out how much, if any, you still need to pay.  

BRIDGET: [TO RYAN] That’s a great explainer, I couldn’t have put it better myself. 

MARCUS (SPLIT FROM ABOVE): So let’s get you all paid up. You there, you’re first, tell me your name, what you’re studying, and how you’re going to pay for college.

INEZ: Hi, my name is Inez. I’m majoring in Elvish, with a minor in flying sleigh navigation. My big dream is to, of course, be the next Elf on the Shelf- y’know from the book.. Anyway, my parents set up a 529 account for me. 

MARCUS: Ooh, big planners I see. 529s are a government-sponsored plan to help pay for college. The money that families put into their account is invested. That means the value can go up and down, like with any investment.

BRIDGET: [TO RYAN] Ooh, about a third of families saving for college have a 529 plan. You know what, I’m going to put more about 529s on our website, marketplace.org/million, and in the show notes for this episode. 

NINA: [TO BRIDGET] Oof, I could have used that a little earlier, my parents sure didn’t set up a 529 for me!

MARCUS [SPLIT FROM ABOVE]: Obviously the hope is that the money in a 529 can grow faster than the money sitting in a traditional savings account. Because for many years, investing in the markets tended to give more interest than bank savings accounts.  

INEZ: Yeah, and if I don’t use everything they’ve saved on my education, I can put the extra money into my retirement account. That’s money I’ll live on when I’m much older and no longer work, not even on a low shelf.

MARCUS: Exactly. Ok, thank you Inez, here’s your receipt, you’re all paid up for the semester. Who wants to go next?


ARNOLD: (NERDY) Hey, I’m Arnold, and uh, I know this is gonna sound silly to say out loud, but I’m studying to be the next Santa Claus.


MARCUS: Hey! No negativity like that on orientation day. If Arnold thinks he can be the next Saint Nick, who are we to discourage him? 

NINA: I believe in your dream, Arnold. How do you plan on paying for school?

ARNOLD: Thanks, Nina. Well, my grandma set aside a little savings fund for me that covers around ten thousand of the costs, and the rest, I’m paying with a scholarship.

MARCUS: Oh cool, a scholarship!

NINA: What’s a scholarship?

MARCUS: A scholarship is money that can be used towards your education. It’s like free money, you don’t need to pay it back. You can get a scholarship for good grades, or if you’re really good at sports or music. Or sometimes you have to write an essay on a certain topic, or be from a certain place, or studying a certain subject. 

BRIDGET: What were you awarded your scholarship for, Arnold?

ARNOLD: (TOO LOW) Um…. Cookie eating.

MARCUS: I’m sorry, what was that?

ARNOLD: (COUGHS, LOUDER) Cookie eating. I can eat a lot of cookies in one night… Like Santa.


RYAN: I mean, that is a talent. 

ARNOLD: (DEFENSIVE) It’s an essential Santa skill, ok?!


MARCUS: No, we get it, Arnold, congrats on the scholarship, you’re all set. So who wants to go next?

LUIS: (FRAT BOY, NINJA TURTLE SOUNDING TYPE GUY) Yo yo, I’m Luis. I’m majoring in being El Cucuy. If you’re not familiar, that’s like the Boogeyman in Mexico.

INEZ: (HATES HIM) El Cucey gave me nightmares! You want to BE El Cucey?? Ugh, boo, next.

MARCUS: Inez, please. This is a safe space. Luis, go on.

LUIS: Look, I know it’s not a popular thing to be right now. But I come from a long line of Boogeymen- and Boogeywomen, I’ll have you know! And I’m looking to carry on the tradition.

BRIDGET: Ok, and how are you planning to pay for college, Luis?

LUIS: Ah, well, my parents weren’t able to save any money for my schooling. I’m the first generation of my family of El Cuceys to go to college, dude.

BRIDGET: Congratulations, they must be really proud!

LUIS: Yeah. Anyway, I applied for a few scholarships, to no luck. Admitting that my goal is to scare people in the middle of the night probably didn’t make for an inspiring college essay.

RYAN: (TISKS) Yeah. You probably shoulda said you wanted to be, like, the Easter Bunny’s assistant or something nice.

LUIS: Yeah. But, luckily, there’s another way. I took out a student loan, dude! Sure, I’ll have some debt after all this. But who isn’t in debt these days, bro?

NINA: Wait, what’s he talking about? I’m lost.

BRIDGET: Oh, well. El Cucey-

LUIS: Please, dude. Luis.

BRIDGET: Luis’ way of paying for college is also really common, especially if you don’t have some sort of college savings account. A student loan. I gotta put this on our website too. He’ll get all the money he needs for school now, and then he’ll pay back that money later. Plus interest, of course.

LUIS: Yeah, the interest is the scary part. And believe me, I know scary. Boogeymen have nothing on Sallie Mae when she’s collecting her interest.


MARCUS: Well the good news, Luis, is that you’re all paid up for at least one semester. Ok, so who’s last? Oh you.


NINA: I’m Nina. Um, tooth fairy major, wish-granting minor. And I, um, don’t exactly have a plan for how I’m gonna pay for any of this.


MARCUS: Oh, well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Tuition is $24,000 a year. Do you have a 529 plan?

NINA: Uh, that would be a 5-20-no. 

MARCUS: Savings account?

NINA: [INCREASINGLY LOSING CONFIDENCE] Ooh, that would be helpful. I do not have one of those. 

MARCUS: Scholarships?

NINA: I have a ship in a bottle collection. But otherwise, no. Y’know what, I’m sorry. I’ll never be able to afford it! It was stupid to even come to this orientation! Just a waste of everyone’s time. I’ll leave now-

RYAN: Aww, Nina, don’t give up!

BRIDGET: Yeah, there’s gotta be a way!



MARCUS: You said you’re Nina? Nina Twinkletoes? I’ve got your info right here. You qualified for a financial aid package. Here, look, because you filled out the FAFSA, it says here you’re getting some grants and a government sponsored loan each semester. So that should take care of about half of what you owe this year.  

NINA: What?? Really??

MARCUS: And then it looks like Magic University’s going to cover the rest. Schools do that sometimes, they offer their own scholarships and more discounts than you might think. They really want to get more kids into the tooth fairy program, so they’re offering you an extra scholarship to cover everything your federal financial aid won’t! 

BRIDGET: Nina, this is great news!!

RYAN: What a great day!


DEAN:[ANGRY, SLIGHTLY OFF MIC] Hey, are those two human podcasters I see in the Office of Student Financial Services?

MARCUS: Oh no! It’s the dean!

DEAN: They’re not supposed to be here! Let alone podcasting from here! They’re gonna give away all our magical secrets to the entire normie world!! 

RYAN: Trust us, we wish our audience was that big! Like, maybe 100 people will hear this and take it seriously.

DEAN: Stay right there! I’m calling in the gnomes to get you!

BRIDGET: Gnomes? Oh cute.

DEAN: Not these gnomes! These gnomes are mean!



MARCUS: Uh, they were just leaving! 

BRIDGET: Ok, gotta run! Good luck, Nina! 

NINA: Thanks, Bridget and Ryan!

RYAN: Yeah, good luck Nina! Don’t forget us (TOOTH WHISTLES). Send us a postcard once in a while! 


RYAN: Hey Bridget, look what I found on my phone. That picture I snapped of Nina the Tooth Fairy a long time ago. I forgot to delete it.

BRIDGET: Oh wow, that was like 3 or 4 years ago. We started on this Million Billion episode about how people pay for college. If you start planning early enough, the hope is that a savings account or a 529 account can help you put aside enough money to pay for college. Some people apply for scholarships, that’s like free money. Some people get loans. And one no-brainer is to apply for the FAFSA, to see what sorts of grants and low interest loans you might qualify for from the government. I wonder if  Nina ever became a Tooth Fairy.

RYAN: Who knows? I remember when I lost that tooth though. I eventually got this replacement front tooth with the extra jewel add on.


BRIDGET: Yep, that’s definitely a decision you made.

RYAN: You think “lightning bolt” was a good choice for my tooth jewel? I wanted lightning cause I’m fast, y’know, and I chose green cause it’s my favorite color. But a lot of people just think it’s spinach? Be honest, do you think it looks like spinach? 

BRIDGET: I’d like to answer that but, uuuuh- Hey, look, the mail just came.


BRIDGET: And we got an invite to Nina, the Tooth Fairy’s graduation from Magic University. It’s this weekend!

RYAN: Do you think we should go? They chased us off the campus last time.

BRIDGET: I think we should risk it. I really want to find out what happened to Nina and that whole gang we met during the orientation. I wonder if they all made it through college as planned, how they were able to pay for it, what their plans for the future are.

RYAN: Yeah, I wonder what happened to that one kid who wanted to become Santa Claus. Between you and me, it seemed like a longshot, but you never know.

BRIDGET: Well, there’s only one way to find out, let’s go back to Magic University!


RYAN: Here, let’s wear these fake bunny ears. At least that way, maybe we’ll blend in.




DEAN: (OVER LOUDSPEAKER): Students, parents and well-wishers, please find your seats. The Magic University graduation ceremony is about to begin.

BRIDGET: Can you spot Nina anywhere in the crowd?

RYAN: Is that her with the big wings?

BRIDGET: No, that’s some kind unicorn pegasus.

RYAN: Man, this college is wild. 

INEZ: Hey, Bridget! Ryan! It’s me, Inez!

BRIDGET: Inez! Congrats on graduating! Wow, look how high up you’re sitting! Great elf on the shelf practice!! How did the whole college thing work out for you?

INEZ: Oh, things are going so good, I already have an internship lined up for the next Elf on the Shelf.

BRIDGET: Working your way up! And how did the 529 account work out? It covered all your expenses, right?

INEZ: Uhhh, almost. Turns out my parents weren’t able to save quite enough for my last semester. So I had to cover it with waitressing a little, but I got it done. 

BRIDGET: Well, that’s great to hear, Inez! We’re so happy for-

LUIS: Boo!


LUIS: Just kidding! It’s me, Luis, the El Cucuy!! Did I scare you? I hope so!


BRIDGET: Luis, we haven’t seen you since your orientation day. How did the student loans work out?

LUIS: Dude, awesome, mi amiga! The loans covered everything. My tuition, my housing, my meals. Sure, I have to start paying it back next year, but I was able to get through full scary training.

RYAN: If I may ask, how much do you owe in loans?

LUIS: (PAUSE THEN DRAMATICALLY) $180 thousand dollars.

BRIDGET: Luis! That’s a lot of money!

LUIS: (BEAT) Ha! Just kidding!! Man, you should see your faces!

BRIDGET/RYAN: (RELIEVED) Ahh… You had us there!

LUIS: Yo, I had to do it, bro! It’s my job to scare people! I’m just messing with you.

BRIDGET: So how much do you really owe?

LUIS: Um… $140 thousand dollars. 

BRIDGET: Oh, one hundred and FORTY thousand dollars.  

RYAN: That’s enough for a Porsche! 

LUIS: Hey, I’m just glad I finished! One of my roommates studying to be a monster under the bed didn’t finish his degree. And he still owes on his loans!

BRIDGET: Right, right. I guess it depends how much money you’ll be making as a El Cucuy…

RYAN: (REASSURING) Just chip away at it, chip away at it, you’ll be good.

LUIS: So what’s been up with you two? What’s with the bunny ears?

BRIDGET: Oh we’re trying to blend in here. Do we look like we could be Easter bunnies?

LUIS: Hmmmm. No. Sorry, not convincing.


DEAN: (OVER LOUDSPEAKER) Alright everyone, settle in.

GUEST: Oh no, we better go sit down!


DEAN: Fairies, goblins, reindeer, babadooks, chupacabras, and the rest, please join me in congratulating Magic University’s Graduating Class of 2024.


DEAN: The students you see on this stage today will be the next generation to make your presents, to hide your Easter eggs, to scare you in the middle of the night.


DEAN: Or, like our student body speaker, they just might leave you a little treat when you lose a tooth. Here to deliver the graduation address, one of Magic University’s brightest talents, Nina the Tooth Fairy!


RYAN: Wow! She’s a full-blown tooth fairy! I’m so proud!

NINA: (THROUGH LOUDSPEAKER) Thank you! Thank you! Today, when you look at me on this stage, you see a smart and confident fairy. But when I first enrolled at Magic University, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for my education. I didn’t have any savings devoted to it, nor had I earned a scholarship of any kind. 


NINA: But after learning about my options, the power of saving, and a little luck thanks to this University and the programs they offer to future Tooth Fairies like myself, I stand before you today, a proud, fully certified tooth fairy from the most prestigious secret university in America. And ready to help kids of all ages, but who still have their baby teeth of course, take the first step on a path to saving for the future they want for themselves. Saving is a real skill, and sometimes, you just gotta start with your first dollar, found tucked under your pillow, in exchange for a well cared-for incisor. 


NINA: I hope my story can be a lesson to anyone out there. Young or old. Rich or not rich. If your dream is to get a college education, then money- or the lack of enough money- shouldn’t stand in your way. And…don’t forget to floss.




RYAN: (CRYING) Yeah, that was really special. And I’m not crying by the way, this is an allergy. I think I’m allergic to the unicorn pegasus. Let’s just take a break, ok?


How to: Order from a Restaurant

ROMAN: “Hi, I’m Roman from Hartland, Michigan. It’s time for “How to,” where kids share how to do all sorts of Million Bazillion things. Today, I’m going to tell you how to order at a restaurant. I first look at the menu. Then, I pick my thing. Then, I wait until the waiter, and I tell him what I would like to order. Sometimes the waiter has more questions like they ask me for my steak if I want medium rare or other types of things for steak. If the waiter doesn’t hear me, I speak louder. I always say please and thank you. The first time I ordered from a restaurant, I was shy. And then, I did over and over again until I wasn’t shy anymore. When I see the waiter coming with my food, I feel happy!”

Part 3


RYAN: Welcome back to Million Bazillion. We’re here at Nina the Tooth Fairy’s Magic University graduation, finishing up our episode all about college and how to pay for it. 

BRIDGET: Yeah, I think we’re the only humans here. I hope we don’t get caught.

RYAN: The punch looks good. (SLURP) (VOICE PITCHING UP HIGHER) But tastes kinda weird. Hey, I think this is fairy punch, not human punch. (CLEARS THROAT, VOICE RETURNS TO NORMAL) Anyway, what did we learn in this episode? 

BRIDGET: Today we set out to answer Aela’s question about college savings accounts. Most people will need to get some extra training or knowledge before they start work. And college is one of the ways to get that. But college is really expensive. It can take years of planning and saving to have enough money to pay for it. Some families have a regular savings account, others open a 529 plan, a way to invest money to use for education. If you have hopes of going to college one day, you might want to ask your grown-ups to look into what makes sense for your family. Remember that when it comes to saving, the earlier you start, the better, but it’s never too late to start. Even putting away a little money today can make paying for college way easier when the time comes. And you can learn how to save for a big goal. Which is a pretty great skill to have. 

RYAN: But if you’re a kid with no college fund, there are still a ton of ways to pay for school. Not all colleges are as expensive as Magic University. It can make sense to check out community colleges, or to save money by living at home. And there are scholarships, student loans, and some schools offer really good financial aid. And you shouldn’t let worries over money discourage you from pursuing college if that’s the right fit for you. It’s some of the best money you’ll ever spend in your life. Think of it as an investment, an investment in yourself.

NINA: Hey, you two!

BRIDGET: Nina! Your speech was so lovely! Congrats on graduating!

NINA: Thanks, Bridget! 

RYAN: Hey Nina! Put her there, ya big grown Up Tooth Fairy! You still owe me a dollar for that tooth I lost!

NINA: It was a front tooth, right? Here’s a five! 

RYAN: Haha! How about that! What do you think of my replacement tooth?

NINA: Looks good, but I think you got some spinach stuck in there. 

RYAN: No. It’s a lighting bolt. (TO SELF) No one gets it. 

BRIDGET: It was so good to see all your classmates today. What ever happened to that one kid who wanted to be the next Santa Claus, Albert or Allen?

NINA: Oh Arnold? He’s here somewhere. 

DEAN: Wait a minute! I see two humans here wearing bunny ears! 


DEAN: Gnomes! Move in and get them! This is the last time those pesky humans crash our magic graduation!

NINA: Bridget, Ryan, run! Those gnomes mean business!


BRIDGET: Oh no, the Gnomes! We’re really in trouble this time!

RYAN: No one can save us now!




BRIDGET: Oh my gosh, It’s Arnold! 

RYAN: Looks like he really did become Santa Claus!

ARNOLD: Now now, little gnomes. Ryan and Bridget are here in a spirit of graduation friendship. No need to be angry. You wouldn’t want to end up on my naughty list.

DEAN: Arnold, you’re not Santa Claus! You didn’t earn enough credits to graduate today!

ARNOLD: Whoops! They got me, get out of here, you two, while I hurl presents at the gnomes!


BRIDGET: Yeah, it was a bad idea to come here!

RYAN: (OUT OF BREATH) This is one nutty school!


–Theme Music-

BRIDGET: Alright, that’s it for this episode of Million Bazillion! Thanks for listening! Make sure to check out our webpage linked in the show notes if you want to learn more about college savings accounts and how to get started on your savings journey!

RYAN: We’ll be back next week to answer the question … why does it feel good to spend money? You can send us the money questions you want answered at marketplace.org/million. 

BRIDGET: Million Bazillion is brought to you by Marketplace, from American Public Media. This episode was written and hosted by Ryan Perez and me, Bridget Bodnar. With additional voicing from: Marika Proctor, Justin Ho, Hannah Harris Green, Nic Perez, Tim Lopez, and Sabri Ben-Achour 

RYAN: Jasmine Romero is our editor. Courtney Bergsieker is our producer. Marissa Cabrera is our senior producer. Thalia Menchaca is our intern. Chris Julin and Bekah Wineman sound designed this episode. Bekah Wineman mixed this episode. 

BRIDGET: Our theme music was created by Wonderly. Bridget Bodnar (that’s me!) is the Director of Podcasts at Marketplace. Francesca Levy is the Executive Director of Digital. Neal Scarbrough is the VP and General Manager.

RYAN: Million Bazillion is funded in part by the Sy Syms Foundation, partnering with organizations and people working for a better and more just future since 1985. And special thanks to The Ranzetta Family Charitable Fund and Next Gen Personal Finance for providing the start-up funding for this podcast, and continuing to support Marketplace in our work to make younger audiences smarter about the economy.

BRIDGET: If Million Bazillion is helping your family have important conversations about money, consider making a one-time donation today at marketplace.org/givemillion, and thanks for your support.

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