Student Loans and Budgeting

Bullshit.

When I told them my income was inconsistent they gave me a payment too high. So now I have to resubmit. What the fuck, Great Lakes?

I know I felt incredibly pressured to continue into college. I didn’t take a year off to work or anything. Some part of me thought working in the summer and then on campus would be enough for me.

And if people tell me I need to budget properly, I lose my absolute shit. 1) They don’t know my financial situation 2) Even when I tell them they think I’m doing it wrong 3) I stress out because I think about what I need to prioritize and what comes after – the “free” amount of money I have left.

Tsk – and I’m not the one with 2 cats, 2 dogs, a guinea pig, and 2 cars and was living in my 19 year old wife’s parent’s house because I COULDN’T AFFORD MY OWN APARTMENT AFTER THE EXPENSIVE WEDDING I THREW. RIGHT? I DO WHAT I WANT, WARREN. 

Anyhow, I am working through this program called LSS Financial Counseling and they have been amazing. You can even get a free credit report a year, I believe. And there are 3 accredited businesses that can check it. And what LSS did was consolidate all of the credit cards that my dumbass had maxed out (we moved into our first apartment, we needed a second car, the car was totaled, emergencies happened) and then they spoke to all the credit card people to either eliminate my interest rates or get the really far down that they didn’t matter. So I make 1 lower payment for all 5… cards… rather than paying the minimum on each, and then have insane amounts of interest.

So that’s what I have been doing for the past two years which helped me set up how I budget on a regular basis. Because a part of the terms of a short-term loan I took out from my university for $400 (to pay off the rest of the totaled car loan and then put down for a bed) was that I see an LSS counselor to help me plan for my financial future. And I rolled my eyes and shuffled off to meet her.

Usually you have to pay to see a financial counselor (which is baffling to me – you’re using her services because you have issues with money). But she gave me some planning sheets which help me a lot today – put in how much you make, what bills you need, difference between them, add in gas and groceries and fun money; all that good stuff.

You have to make the mistake to realize that it was a mistake. It was probably a mistake to rely so heavy on the cards. I was trying to be like my mom who said to use them only for gas, groceries, and emergencies and to pay them off ASAP. Paying off cards consistently helps build credit. And I’ve taken a ding to my credit. I’m almost to the low end of average though 🙂 but I cannot take out another credit card until I pay off my remaining almost $5,000 debt.

The point is – no amount of budgeting can help me pay off student loans with money I don’t have and cannot have unless I get more hours. Does that make sense? Great Lakes people don’t think it does – I should just shit money with my BA, right?

So I have to talk to them again and reapply for an income based repayment plan again… I just want the loans to go away – how can I be productive if I have anxiety over money? The one way to help the economy is to put money into it, which creates demand for stuff which creates jobs that help keep the supply up. That’s what I learned in my Economics 101 in high school (over the course of 2 class periods).

This is the push into the adult world that I somehow prepared myself for.

The reason I even am thinking about this is because I ran into the woman who helped me get my loan and sent me to the financial aid counselor. I ran into her while I signed up for my TAIKO DRUM CLASS (which is FREE to graduates!) and I had to thank her even though I was a complete bitch to her when I first met her.

You have to drop a certain level of your ego to seek help and that can really suck. But it’s good to realize that, in the end, you usually can end up with what you want by seeking help rather than going juggernaut and trying to do it by yourself.

She pointed me to another resource: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/

I haven’t checked it out yet, but it’s worth looking into.

Lessons for today:

1) Get financial help if you need it. Ask your parents or your school. I don’t know if I’d recommend searching online because there’s a lot of douche bags who try to lead you from reliable sources, to them.

2) Learn how to budget. You can do it in your head if you want to. I find it easier to write down on this sheet (and if I did it right, you can download it): PayDay Plan

3) Don’t just save on all your money and abstain from fun. What I did was limit fun to $40 a paycheck. So that’s $80 a month to do whatever I want with. Even to save.

4) If you live with a significant other and both of you pay for the bills a) Open a joint account b) have your own individual account. I just recently opened mine and it freaked out Drew a little bit because it seemed like I was just going to take the money and break up with him. No. I’m so anal about my money that I can smell if he spent 10$ at Jimmy John’s. But that isn’t his fault – it’s the fault of my parents telling me at age 5 that they couldn’t afford anything and that I was a problem.

5) If you can’t pay a bill and you know ahead of time, ask to defer it, or if you can pay half now, half later. This happens with my car insurance a lot – it’ll be due 2 days before my next paycheck so I ask them to push it back 2-3 days. Apologize and then make sure you pay it. People like money so they are willing to be flexible assuming you can pay them later.

6) Don’t buy a dining room set you NEVER use except as some kind of tall coffee table, where you put everything on once you walk through the door. Just don’t buy things you don’t need. I love clothes, I’ll spend $90 on 3 pairs of pants if I need pants. It’s hard though, because something inside of me won’t allow myself to wear the same thing more than 12 times, and I hate eating leftovers, weird shit like that.

7) Dragon horde your money. Like Smaug. Or Thorin. Anything you can spare to save, I recommend. Building a savings account, or a money market account (we do through our credit union) makes you look good. Plus, if there is an emergency then you can deal with it. It’ll be sad, but you can rebuild.

I think I’ve run my mouth on enough. You get the point. Hopefully, I could have helped a little. That PayDay plan is what helped save me.

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