Cue the music ladies and gents, it’s time to get real about money, loans, and making a budget.
Money and I have always had a rocky, er, spendy relationship. I went to college, took loans, carelessly spent a ridiculous amount of money, and generally had no concept of the value of a dollar. Until the fall of 2016 when I actually had to earn the money I was spending, it never even hit me. Since then, I’ve felt like I was drowning. Every time I thought I was on dry land and safe, everything fell out from under me. Never made a budget, never tracked my spending, constantly over drafted my account, and regularly asking my parents for gas money and extensions on my rent (yes my parents make me pay rent). Over time, I got better at measuring my finances, but still overdrafted/needed to pull from savings to cover my consistent spending issue. But it wasn’t enough.
This summer, having to pay my tuition out of pocket really rocked my financial world. It was b-a-d, bad. I really struggled, and realized it was time for me to start taking my finances seriously.
These are the long term goals. Not things to achieve this month, but things I contribute to with every budget. These are all inspired by Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps and this article on the baby steps for college students, as well as my own situation. These are totally subject to change once I get a big girl job and/or graduate, but for now:
- Save Tuition Money – an estimated $3,000 for the Fall 2019 semester
- $500 Emergency Fund – looking to put this in a high interest savings account through an online bank
- Pay off Sallie May Loan – My smallest balance AND the highest interest rate student loan
- Pay off Spring 2019 Semester Loan – I know I can’t afford this semester, so I’m preparing to take this last loan soon
- $1,000 Emergency Fund
- 3-6 Months of Expected Expenses – Getting ready to get an apartment with this little nest egg
Current Financial Situation
So just a quick overview of where I stand, financially as of today. Account-wise I don’t have a lot. I have a student checking account and student savings account through TD Bank, a TJMaxx credit card I opened on accident (a story for another time!), and that’s it. Technically, I also have a Target debit card, but that pulls directly from my checking account, so I don’t count that as an additional account. I’m going to be upfront about my balances too. You’ll see it in my budget, and honestly, why hide it?
Recently big changes, I paid the last of my fall tuition yesterday, which was $500 out of my savings account. A week ago, I picked up a few items at TJ Maxx, (blazers, and a couple of tops), this was about $115, but I DID manage to save about $50 using coupons I had earned over the past couple months. I’ll have another post going more in-depth about credit cards & my cards later
As of today, I have 2 student loans from HESAA, 9 Stafford Loans, and 1 from Sallie Mae. The Stafford and Sallie Mae loans are currently in deferment while I’m still in school. My HESAA loans though are being paid on.
The first loan principal was around $19,000, and is currently $15,230, with an interest rate of, 7.4%, and we are paying the interest and principal every month. The second loan principal is $19,272, with an interest rate of 6.2%. This one, we just pay the interest every month. In total, the monthly payment comes to about $270 every month.
My loan total as of today, principal and interest, is:
HESAA – $34,737.72
Stafford Loans – $22,098.94
Sallie Mae – $3,488.82
Total – $60,352.48 (does anyone else feel faint?)
Dave Ramsey recommends using the envelope system and paying cash for everything, and categorizing the money in envelopes. Aja Dang talks about this method in her first budgeting video. I thought about it, researched it, and decided against it. Usually, I don’t like carrying cash, and what/when I spend is irregular, so it’s easier for me to keep my money in the bank.
I keep two budgets, Cash and Debit. Why? I have a side job that pays in cash, and I’m too lazy to go to the bank twice a week to deposit it. I try to use my cash more often for quick, small purchases. Starbucks runs, getting the occasional lunch at work, and snacks when I’m out studying. This might seem difficult to some, but it’s what works for me!
I started budgeting in September. This was an odd month for me, I was getting back to school, and took a short trip to Washington DC. You can see the debit here, and cash here. I broke my budget halfway through, and clearly, just gave up. I honestly wasn’t going to do an October budget, but I’m glad I did.
There isn’t a lot to say about my October budgets right now, I will do a review of how I did and what changes I’m making for November. You can see my October debit budget here, and my October cash budget here. I try to update as close to daily as I can. I’ve been really tight on my spending lately, so there actually isn’t too much to log
If anyone tells you they got through tight budgeting, cutting down spending, and accepting financial responsibility alone, they are 100% wrong. These are the best and more inspiring people for learning to fix your finances:
Aja Dang – Aja does lifestyle content with a huge focus on her financials, as well as beauty, fashion, and skin-care. She has been killing her student loan debt, and seeing her ups and downs really helps me feel like I’m not alone. Aja’s YouTube is the best resource for all of her financial videos
The Financial Diet – Between Chelsea Fagan, Tasha from One Big Happy Life, and Erin from Broke Millennial, I love these ladies. Seriously I want to hug them all. They are honest, serious, and just so so so so great. Again, I feel like I really can relate to them all, because they share so much of their struggles. Especially with Chelsea’s recent video, these ladies make you feel like a financial equal, unlike a lot of other resources. TFD’s YouTube and TFD’s Book (on my TBR list!)
Dave Ramsey – I won’t lie to you, I’m not the biggest fan of Dave Ramsey. BUT his advice, his content, and his podcast have been extremely helpful to me. You don’t have to love him, but you have to respect him. Dave’s Website really has all the information you need, just have to ignore the ads all over it. For real, everything is online and free somewhere.
I’m really looking forward to taking on my October budget, and we will see how it goes next month! Keep an eye out on the blog for more posts about money and finances; I really enjoy writing them, and hopefully, you get some value from it! Let me know below, what financial topics do you think I should talk about?