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.
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.