A Sea of Student Loans

 

Today we are going to talk about the biggest and honestly the only major issue in my life, Student Loan Debt! (It gets capitalized because it’s ruining my life, and things with that much power should be capitalized.) For the sake of my ever fragile psyche when dealing with this topic we are not going to dive into topics like why someone would give a seventeen year old that much money and if the college experience/degree were really worth it. That talk is for the therapists couch, which I’m sure is only a matter of time before I end up on because these payments are driving me to insanity.  We’re going to talk about how I’m making these payments and what the future holds for me and my crushing debt.

I’m drowning in it. OK, not drowning but I’m definitely treading water in a giant sea with no flotation device in sight and a slowly cramping quad muscle. I’m working full-time at a really great job that will eventually allow me to move up in my career path (even though I don’t exactly know where it’s going yet). But with an alright starting salary I’m just barely making enough to pay these loans every month. I’m lucky in the sense that my parents let me move home and the only other bills I have are a low car payment and $40 I throw at my parents every month for data charges for my phone because they still let me be on the family plan. After gas money I have about $100 extra dollars to my name every month. My loan payments are more than my parent’s mortgage payments, let that sink in.

So how am I making it work? Well that’s what this post is all about. (No, I wasn’t planning on bitching for the entirety of it, just for half.) On top of my 9-5 real person job, I’m also a nanny for an 8 month-old on Saturdays and babysit almost every weekend for another family. It’s good money and after doing some math I have realized I’m making more doing this than if I got a second job working at say CVS or Target. This allows me one day off a week but it still isn’t enough to uphold a social life of any kind or to save any money at all really.

So now I’m in the process of trying to consolidate my loans to reduce payments and interest rates. Wish me luck. But if you’re in a similar boat and looking to save as much money as possible so that you can keep paying your loans and hold on to your pretty good credit score for dear life, here are some tips:

Use Your Parents

If you’re lucky enough to live at home, take advantage of it. Eat at home as much as possible, the groceries are free and they’re probably better than anything you would buy yourself if you had to do your own grocery shopping. Also, raid your mother’s makeup and beauty products. My mom is always buying Clinique products and after every purchase she comes home with those free gifts they give out. DIBS! I usually have to fight my sister for them but seeing as she’s 17 I tend to get all the anti-aging samples.  Another tip, don’t go out for drinks with your friends, stay home and drink your parents liquor, mine always have the good stuff and there’s no need to designate a driver.

Buy Second Hand

I’m serious. I’m not a huge second hand clothes shopper but things like furniture, movies and books are awesome finds. Go to yard sales, just make sure it’s not at the house of someone you know because then it’s awkward and you look tacky.

Coupon

Never pay full price. EVER. If you can manage to do this the extreme way, like those people on that TLC show, all the more power to you and please teach me!

Pick Up Odd Jobs

Any time someone starts a sentence with, “I’ll give you 50 dollars…” The answer is generally yes (unless the task violates my morals). Any extra cash you can bring in is worth it. I recently signed up to use BlogMutt which pays you to write blog posts for companies. I also use Ebates and while it’s not a lot of cash fast it does buy you a coffee every once in a while. I’m still searching for ways to bring in extra with random side jobs but I’ll keep you updated when I find more. The one big piece of advice I have for you and for myself, is save as much as you can. The more you save, the more you can throw at these loans every once in a while and the quicker they’ll be paid off and leave you in peace.

That’s it. If you’re lucky enough to have had your college experience paid for, thank your lucky stars and give a big wet kiss to whoever paid your way.

That’s a little more about me and my situation; I told you things would get real. Sorry for the excessive length.

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The Heat

Well it’s the Monday after a 4 day holiday weekend, which means it’s safe to say we are all bumming pretty hard. My transition into the work week hasn’t been awful though. I’ve been told the office will get pretty quiet for the next couple of weeks so I haven’t been busy at all. I generally enjoy a slow start to the week but I’m sure by Wednesday I’ll be pulling my hair out from boredom. It’s so slow today I’m actually writing this post from the empty office.

But let’s talk about this past long weekend. IT WAS HOT! <- That may be the understatement of the year. My amazing boss let me leave work at noon on Wednesday and after a lunch pit stop at Chipotle, my sister (Hadley) and my cousin (from Ohio who is staying with us for a few weeks) were off to The Cape! Normally it is a good ten degrees cooler than at home (Rhode Island) and there’s a nice breeze blowing but not this weekend. We were in the high 90’s with crazy humidity levels and it was just smothering. The nights didn’t bring any relief either. We spent the majority of our time sitting in one position and trying to stay hydrated.

The Cape (Cape Cod, MA) is one of my favorite places in the world but this weekend, I couldn’t wait to get home and into the air conditioning. At one point I even took a pointless ride in my car just so I could blast the A/C (not very Green of me, I know).

I blame this suffocating heat for my lack of exercise over the last four days and for my consumption of frozen sugary sweets, I have a weakness for Rocket Pops, they’re festive and delicious! So today is prep day. I’m hitting up the grocery store after work and I plan to pop into Planet Fitness at least 3 times this week. There are currently some tentative plans to play soccer with my best friend Jacqui after work but impending thunder storms and the fact that it’s 91 degrees outside might put a halt to those plans.

Another plan for progress this week is working on my book. I had some lofty expectations for progress on this book this past weekend but it just didn’t happen. My sister and I are carpooling to work three times this week so I think I’ll bring my laptop with me and do some writing in the hour I have to kill before work starts on each of those days.

I did manage to finish reading Sharp Objects: A Novel by Gillian Flynn and Sold by Patricia McCormick. Both of which I will post reviews on sometime soon. I also started reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. After two modern books I needed to escape back to the comforting classics. I have never read The Secret Garden before and so far I’m enjoying it.

One last thing before I sign off. Pictures are coming! I hate the way these posts are looking without them but I’m awful at remembering to document my day. Ask anyone who follows me on Instagram, I post a picture maybe once a week. I plan on using my iPhone camera for pictures for a little while, just to create the habit of taking them but I do plan on transitioning to using my DSLR eventually.

That’s it from me. I’ll pop back in sometime this week.

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An Introduction

As promised, here is my next introductory post. I was originally planning on writing a casual outline for what I want this blog to become but then I ran into a problem. I don’t know what I want it to become specifically, and that is half the fun. I am really looking forward to sitting down everyday and writing whatever the hell I feel like writing that day. Because this is my blog and I can do what I want =)

Eventually when (if?) I get some regular readers I would really be interested in getting feedback on what people like and dislike in regards to posts and will definitely take that into consideration as this blog changes shape over time. For now though, I have a few topics I would like to cover.

Ideally, I would like this to be an open forum for the many voices in my head, so I predict some randomness in topics, especially in the beginning while I find my footing in the blog world. I want to cover daily things like what I’m doing to reach my health and fitness goals, ways I’m dealing with my ever present stress levels, how I’m working on striving to be happy in my daily life. I would like to get into things like long-term goals, changes I am making in my life and navigating life as a 20-something. I want to talk about things like finances in your twenties, education, movies, TV and books, travel and maybe recent events. I would like to discuss beauty and health trends and tips (what works and what doesn’t) home decor and products I love. I would also like to take some cues from the blogging world and participate in linked posts like Marvelous in My Monday and What I Ate Wednesday and the various surveys that pop up.

As far as the look and navigation of my blog. I haven’t gotten it exactly where I want it so please bear with me as I post and figure out this blog world at the same time. I want to share some of the pictures I’ve been taking (sparingly) lately and I definitely want to use pictures to document some of the things I discuss in my posts. Disclaimer: please take the word “photography” loosely. I am by no means a photographer. I’m just a creative goof with a camera at this point. (Thanks Court for my camera!)

I am a little more confident with what I, personally, want to gain from this blog. I want to use this as a way to motivate myself to write everyday, to practice and keep my writing fresh. I want to use this as a way to organize my thoughts. I want to make this part of my routine. I want to use this as a way to relieve stress and help myself feel more productive. I would love to venture into the blogging community and learn the ins and outs and develop this blog. I want to use this as a way to keep myself accountable for my writing practice, for my goal to learn about photography, for the promises I made to live a healthier, happier life everyday.

I hope this sounds like something that might interest you. Keep reading, I promise it will be exciting from time to time =)