Author Topic: UPDATE: Case Study - single and not making loads of money with student loan debt  (Read 7476 times)

No-stache

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UPDATE: I was finally able to find a company that would refinance part of my private loans for a lower APR. I was able to switch the Chase loans to Citizen's. The APR went from 7.25% fixed and 9.42% variable at chase for two loans to 5.94% for both at Citizen's. Still isn't the best APR but it's better than it was and maybe I can refi again when I pay some down. I could have gone with the variable rate of 3.xx% but figured with my luck that'd be the absolute worst choice. Thanks again for everyone's input. I really, truly appreciate your input.





I attached my case study as a PDF from Word. I worked a long time on it and appreciate any suggestions/assistance people can give to me.

Thank you so much! I've learned so much here and on the blog and really want to improve my financial life.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 07:26:06 PM by meredith1629 »

velocistar237

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How can I cut my budget?

Most of your line items look reasonable to me. If your hair is on fire (and it looks like it is), how would getting a roommate compare to giving up concerts? Is it possible to share internet with a neighbor?

Are there any pathways to a higher income in your line of work?

Quote
Student loans recommendations for consolidation company to lower interest rate for the private loans that will work with someone who owes over twice their annual salary in student loan?

I don't, but as your loan to income ratio improves over time, there will come a point where lenders will work with you. The Chase loans look like the long pole in terms of interest rate, so focus your efforts there.

Is it possible to pay extra to your 9.27% loan without also making extra payments to your 7.25% loan, or are the payments tied together?

When does your 10-year IBR period end?

Quote
Retirement help. Right now I put in what my employer matches but Im way behind and need help bulking this category up. Suggestions?

Don't be discouraged about retirement savings right now; any movement toward reducing debt is also movement toward retirement. Keep getting your employer match, but beyond that, pay extra toward your highest interest loan.

Quote
I am morbidly obese but in relatively good health for now. I know if I dont lose weight my health will begin to decline.
...
Question firstly, why do so many people on these forums hate fat people?

Equal parts frustration, attribution fallacy, pride, meanness, concern, and comparison. The obvious thought is that if someone is overweight, their lifestyle definitely contributed to it, so there must be something wrong with them for making bad choices. I have a friend who has bought into the healthy-at-any-weight idea, and that's frustrating, so it's good to see that you have a good perspective. It's also frustrating to realize that lifestyle change is incredibly difficult.

Personal finance and health have a lot of similarities, so on this site, you're likely to find a lot of people who have invested in their health over time. Some of them will be judgmental about it. We expect people to be ready for "face punches," and sometimes that devolves.

Quote
Secondly, any recommendations for bikes that can hold 350 pounds safely that I could possibly find second hand?

A typical hybrid bike would be more comfortable than a road or mountain bike because of its upright position and wider seat, but Trek hybrid bikes (as one example data point) have a stated weight limit of 300 pounds, which is going to have some factor of safety built into it. Talk to someone at a bike shop. You might be fine getting a used hybrid as-is, or it could just be a matter of having a shop swap out some components for stronger ones, like changing to wheels with 32 spokes.

tarheeldan

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1. First off, the 5% of gross you are saving in 401k along with the 20% of gross you saved in March is a good start at 25%! Can you keep up that 20% to ER? Of course we want to increase that!

From your spending, one of the bigger items is restaurants. This could be cut, for instance, to $25/mo.

The concerts at $400/yr are $35/mo so that plus the restaurants and the $40 entertainment/blow put you at $100/mo if you cut the restaurants down. I'd stay that is still high for your income level if you want to crank up the savings here. That's 3.5% of gross but 4.9% of net income. Double that - 9.8% of net - if you keep spending $150 at restaurants.

Cable you already said you wouldn't renew.

The other stuff looks reasonable. Shoes you should have an annual budget and divide that up, I'm sure you're not buying $20 or $40 shoes every month right?

2. I don't have any experience with this.

3. If you do the stuff in 1. you can up you can up your savings! 401k is a good place for the tax reasons. EDIT: sorry! Interest rates are high on your loans! As posters above mentioned, it makes more sense to tackle high interest debt first, once you have received the free money from employer match.

4. I don't have experience with this. Maybe make more progress on diet and other forms of exercise first and then get a bike later?

« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 12:17:24 PM by tarheeldan »

FrugalShrew

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Congrats on taking the first step to improving your finances and your health!

Worksman Cycles makes sturdy bicycles for all sizes: http://www.worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/big-bikes.html.

Happy biking!

Kaspian

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I think this is overall very good--you live on a leaner budget than I do, so I wouldn't have much constructive advice.  You've already noted the bit about the cable.

Just wondering, for April you have $560 in the ER fund and then added it to the end as part of the "Grand Total Expenses"?  Happily, that's not an expense!  :)  If I was you, I'd have another line--"Savings", " 'Stached", or whatever.  Generally people do--"Income"/"Expenses or Spending"/"Net" (or at least that's how Mint shows it to me.)  With the "Net" line you'd have something to smile at monthly. 

The only caution I would have is, with April, you're cutting it dead-on razor-thin.  I have a little cushion in my budget for screw-ups and stuff.  Sometimes the screw-ups cost, but just as often nothing happens and it gets thrown in the stache.  Most of us here are calculators, so we like numbers to add up perfectly, but a few curveballs can make the wheels fall off as I experienced this month.  My bank upped my minimum balance to waive fees by $500 without telling me, I made a mistake on my income tax and had to repay $140, and in a moment of insanity I bought a $100 coat off eBay.  Suddenly I have to cough up an extra unexpected $750 bucks to keep things whirring.  Even my cushion wasn't enough.  I didn't feel right dipping into my emergency fund (not really "emergencies" and it would have cost me $8 total), so I had to throw it on a 4.8% line of credit.  Now I have debt.  If I pay this off within a month it will only cost me about $4...  Still, $750 throwing me off was a reality smackdown.

But as (I think it's jlcollins?) says, "If it doesn't hurt, you're probably not saving enough."


No-stache

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Quote
How can I cut my budget?

Most of your line items look reasonable to me. If your hair is on fire (and it looks like it is), how would getting a roommate compare to giving up concerts? Is it possible to share internet with a neighbor?

I have a small (600 sq ft one bedroom) apartment that wouldn't be conducive to a roommate other than a romantic partner. I could possibly share internet with a neighbor but am now locked into a contract. Also, I worry about download speed with sharing with someone. You can't control what they do, such as movie watching or game playing.

Are there any pathways to a higher income in your line of work?

Yes, there are. I am underemployed and have been since I earned my graduate degree. I applied for several professional jobs but many want experience I don't have or are for types of positions I'm not qualified for. There may be a chance at promotion from within where I'm employed now so I'm doing my best to gain the experience I need.

Last year I worked part-time in fast food. :( I earned $4,000 which did help me tremendously. I aim to get another part-time job this year.


Quote
Student loans recommendations for consolidation company to lower interest rate for the private loans that will work with someone who owes over twice their annual salary in student loan?

I don't, but as your loan to income ratio improves over time, there will come a point where lenders will work with you. The Chase loans look like the long pole in terms of interest rate, so focus your efforts there.

Is it possible to pay extra to your 9.27% loan without also making extra payments to your 7.25% loan, or are the payments tied together?

I believe it is possible to pay extra on the 9.27% loan as they are separate loans but the payment is consolidated just for ease of payment.

When does your 10-year IBR period end?

I have to look at my paperwork and actually need to update it since switching employers but I believe is is 2020 or 2021.


Quote
Retirement help. Right now I put in what my employer matches but Im way behind and need help bulking this category up. Suggestions?

Don't be discouraged about retirement savings right now; any movement toward reducing debt is also movement toward retirement. Keep getting your employer match, but beyond that, pay extra toward your highest interest loan.

Quote
I am morbidly obese but in relatively good health for now. I know if I dont lose weight my health will begin to decline.
...
Question firstly, why do so many people on these forums hate fat people?

Equal parts frustration, attribution fallacy, pride, meanness, concern, and comparison. The obvious thought is that if someone is overweight, their lifestyle definitely contributed to it, so there must be something wrong with them for making bad choices. I have a friend who has bought into the healthy-at-any-weight idea, and that's frustrating, so it's good to see that you have a good perspective. It's also frustrating to realize that lifestyle change is incredibly difficult.

Personal finance and health have a lot of similarities, so on this site, you're likely to find a lot of people who have invested in their health over time. Some of them will be judgmental about it. We expect people to be ready for "face punches," and sometimes that devolves.

I understand. I just wish some people could also understand that many of us don't want to be fat. It's awful. It's not like the majority of us don't try to do better. We just fail.

Quote
Secondly, any recommendations for bikes that can hold 350 pounds safely that I could possibly find second hand?

A typical hybrid bike would be more comfortable than a road or mountain bike because of its upright position and wider seat, but Trek hybrid bikes (as one example data point) have a stated weight limit of 300 pounds, which is going to have some factor of safety built into it. Talk to someone at a bike shop. You might be fine getting a used hybrid as-is, or it could just be a matter of having a shop swap out some components for stronger ones, like changing to wheels with 32 spokes.

Yeah, no way I could do a mountain or road bike. I always joked I needed a bike with a John Deere seat. I thought about getting a cheapish bike off Craigslist and getting the sturdier wheels but honestly haven't looked that much into it.

Thank you so much for your responses. I really appreciate it.

No-stache

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1. First off, the 5% of gross you are saving in 401k along with the 20% of gross you saved in March is a good start at 25%! Can you keep up that 20% to ER? Of course we want to increase that!

Unfortunately I can't. The vast majority of my savings in ER fund in April came from my federal tax return of $582 and the $97 refund from my utility deposit for my previous apartment.

From your spending, one of the bigger items is restaurants. This could be cut, for instance, to $25/mo.

Kind of hard to tell from my spreadsheet but restaurant spending is between $10 and $20 per month and regular grocery food is $150ish.

The concerts at $400/yr are $35/mo so that plus the restaurants and the $40 entertainment/blow put you at $100/mo if you cut the restaurants down. I'd stay that is still high for your income level if you want to crank up the savings here. That's 3.5% of gross but 4.9% of net income. Double that - 9.8% of net - if you keep spending $150 at restaurants.

Yeah, and unfortunately I've spent more than $400 for the year on concerts already which is why I'm on a halt.

Cable you already said you wouldn't renew.

The other stuff looks reasonable. Shoes you should have an annual budget and divide that up, I'm sure you're not buying $20 or $40 shoes every month right?

Correct, I take money out each month for shoes but don't buy shoes each month. I save up for several months to buy a pair.

2. I don't have any experience with this.

3. If you do the stuff in 1. you can up you can up your savings! 401k is a good place for the tax reasons. EDIT: sorry! Interest rates are high on your loans! As posters above mentioned, it makes more sense to tackle high interest debt first, once you have received the free money from employer match.

4. I don't have experience with this. Maybe make more progress on diet and other forms of exercise first and then get a bike later?

That's what my plan is. I am hoping with the construction they will put in sidewalks so I can more safely walk to work. Two miles per day is doable for me and I live close to stores so one or two weekly trips in the car shouldn't be too bad.

Thanks for your suggestions and response. :)

cashstasherat23

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Quote
How can I cut my budget?

Most of your line items look reasonable to me. If your hair is on fire (and it looks like it is), how would getting a roommate compare to giving up concerts? Is it possible to share internet with a neighbor?

I have a small (600 sq ft one bedroom) apartment that wouldn't be conducive to a roommate other than a romantic partner. I could possibly share internet with a neighbor but am now locked into a contract. Also, I worry about download speed with sharing with someone. You can't control what they do, such as movie watching or game playing.

Are there any pathways to a higher income in your line of work?

Yes, there are. I am underemployed and have been since I earned my graduate degree. I applied for several professional jobs but many want experience I don't have or are for types of positions I'm not qualified for. There may be a chance at promotion from within where I'm employed now so I'm doing my best to gain the experience I need.

Last year I worked part-time in fast food. :( I earned $4,000 which did help me tremendously. I aim to get another part-time job this year.


Quote
Student loans recommendations for consolidation company to lower interest rate for the private loans that will work with someone who owes over twice their annual salary in student loan?

I don't, but as your loan to income ratio improves over time, there will come a point where lenders will work with you. The Chase loans look like the long pole in terms of interest rate, so focus your efforts there.

Is it possible to pay extra to your 9.27% loan without also making extra payments to your 7.25% loan, or are the payments tied together?

I believe it is possible to pay extra on the 9.27% loan as they are separate loans but the payment is consolidated just for ease of payment.

When does your 10-year IBR period end?

I have to look at my paperwork and actually need to update it since switching employers but I believe is is 2020 or 2021.


Quote
Retirement help. Right now I put in what my employer matches but Im way behind and need help bulking this category up. Suggestions?

Don't be discouraged about retirement savings right now; any movement toward reducing debt is also movement toward retirement. Keep getting your employer match, but beyond that, pay extra toward your highest interest loan.

Quote
I am morbidly obese but in relatively good health for now. I know if I dont lose weight my health will begin to decline.
...
Question firstly, why do so many people on these forums hate fat people?

Equal parts frustration, attribution fallacy, pride, meanness, concern, and comparison. The obvious thought is that if someone is overweight, their lifestyle definitely contributed to it, so there must be something wrong with them for making bad choices. I have a friend who has bought into the healthy-at-any-weight idea, and that's frustrating, so it's good to see that you have a good perspective. It's also frustrating to realize that lifestyle change is incredibly difficult.

Personal finance and health have a lot of similarities, so on this site, you're likely to find a lot of people who have invested in their health over time. Some of them will be judgmental about it. We expect people to be ready for "face punches," and sometimes that devolves.

I understand. I just wish some people could also understand that many of us don't want to be fat. It's awful. It's not like the majority of us don't try to do better. We just fail.

Quote
Secondly, any recommendations for bikes that can hold 350 pounds safely that I could possibly find second hand?

A typical hybrid bike would be more comfortable than a road or mountain bike because of its upright position and wider seat, but Trek hybrid bikes (as one example data point) have a stated weight limit of 300 pounds, which is going to have some factor of safety built into it. Talk to someone at a bike shop. You might be fine getting a used hybrid as-is, or it could just be a matter of having a shop swap out some components for stronger ones, like changing to wheels with 32 spokes.

Yeah, no way I could do a mountain or road bike. I always joked I needed a bike with a John Deere seat. I thought about getting a cheapish bike off Craigslist and getting the sturdier wheels but honestly haven't looked that much into it.

Thank you so much for your responses. I really appreciate it.

Honestly don't think you need a bike now. If it's only a mile to/from work and the grocery store, you're better off walking. A bike seems to be an unnecessary expense for you, especially if you're going to buy one that is a heavy duty bike to hold your weight. You can get one of those cheap foldable shopping carts if you need it for groceries, or just bring a backpack if you are not buying a ton of stuff. The walking will be great exercise!

No-stache

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Congrats on taking the first step to improving your finances and your health!

Worksman Cycles makes sturdy bicycles for all sizes: http://www.worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/big-bikes.html.

Happy biking!

Thank you! Those are about what I'm looking for but the price would prevent me from getting one. Maybe I can score a used one cheaply.

I think this is overall very good--you live on a leaner budget than I do, so I wouldn't have much constructive advice.  You've already noted the bit about the cable.

Just wondering, for April you have $560 in the ER fund and then added it to the end as part of the "Grand Total Expenses"?  Happily, that's not an expense!  :)  If I was you, I'd have another line--"Savings", " 'Stached", or whatever.  Generally people do--"Income"/"Expenses or Spending"/"Net" (or at least that's how Mint shows it to me.)  With the "Net" line you'd have something to smile at monthly. 

You're right, it's just easier to list it as an expense as far as my spreadsheet goes. It already has enough lines. :)

The only caution I would have is, with April, you're cutting it dead-on razor-thin.  I have a little cushion in my budget for screw-ups and stuff.  Sometimes the screw-ups cost, but just as often nothing happens and it gets thrown in the stache.  Most of us here are calculators, so we like numbers to add up perfectly, but a few curveballs can make the wheels fall off as I experienced this month.  My bank upped my minimum balance to waive fees by $500 without telling me, I made a mistake on my income tax and had to repay $140, and in a moment of insanity I bought a $100 coat off eBay.  Suddenly I have to cough up an extra unexpected $750 bucks to keep things whirring.  Even my cushion wasn't enough.  I didn't feel right dipping into my emergency fund (not really "emergencies" and it would have cost me $8 total), so I had to throw it on a 4.8% line of credit.  Now I have debt.  If I pay this off within a month it will only cost me about $4...  Still, $750 throwing me off was a reality smackdown.

Honestly, most months are razor thin. Some months I have savings but not much. Usually in the $100-$200 range which is better than nothing. My "cushion" is $800 that is in checking so I don't have to pay the bank fees. I've not included it in my $2,000 cash assets, it's just sitting there so I don't get charged for my checking account. When I run out of checks I will change banks to a bank local to where I live now. I get what you're saying though and that is why I'm trying to make my ER fund bigger. Seems like I take one step forward and then two back sometimes.

But as (I think it's jlcollins?) says, "If it doesn't hurt, you're probably not saving enough."

True...and I'm not saving enough.

No-stache

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Quote
Honestly don't think you need a bike now. If it's only a mile to/from work and the grocery store, you're better off walking. A bike seems to be an unnecessary expense for you, especially if you're going to buy one that is a heavy duty bike to hold your weight. You can get one of those cheap foldable shopping carts if you need it for groceries, or just bring a backpack if you are not buying a ton of stuff. The walking will be great exercise!

That's really why I haven't put forth much effort to find one. I look on Craigslist occasionally to see if there is one selling for quite a bit under retail but otherwise I don't really need one right this second. The only thing about the walking is I live on the main road in my town and there aren't sidewalks for a lot of it. :(

tarheeldan

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I was thinking each month varies quite a bit and it might be helpful to see everything as a sort of monthly/yearly - this is a lot like the template I use myself. Hopefully you find this helpful, and don't mind the details of how things are labeled or categorized (e.g. charity under luxuries, etc.) as that's easily changed:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rzuwia2bdyuvont/Case%20Study.png?dl=0


No-stache

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That's actually a great spreadsheet. Thanks for taking time to do that. I've been wondering how I can better tweak my spreadsheet and I might use this layout. Thanks again!

galliver

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Hasn't been asked yet: What's your degree in? Sounds like you've done some graduate work (in fact that's the bulk of your loans), but you're making the same as my graduate stipend is right now. You're also putting me to shame with your spending habits, well done! Although no one would really call me a hardcore mustachian so that's not saying too much. Nonetheless, consider me impressed.

About fat-shaming/antagonism: some people are just mean and judgemental. I think the unapologetic MMM rhetoric and "facepunches" might attract an element that is skewed that way and/or more vocal about it here. And I think a lot of the arguments they make stem from ignorance; someone who has never been so much overweight may not actually know or believe how much that changes your body and metabolism. That it actually runs differently from a body that has been thin/fit all its life. It probably doesn't help that there isn't any true scientific consensus on how to lose weight (particularly: in a healthy way). "Eat vegetables and don't eat cake, candy, or soda" are about all I've found unilateral agreement on from all sources.

I know two people who have made a turn-around change in their body composition. One was a stay at home mom who did this after her youngest child was in middle school. They lived walking distance from both the middle and high school, so she had very few responsibilities that might keep her from making her 2-3 hours of pilates and swimming every night. She did do most grocery shopping and cooking, and drove the younger kid to some activities/classes, but there was a lot of flexibility in her schedule to make exercise a priority. Someone who is working or in school would have a very different set of priorities. She also got into some weird foods/food combinations: seaweeds, specialty "superfood" vegetables, and almost entirely cut out starches (except crackers, sometimes). I'm sure their food budget is not very mustachian. The second person left his desk job and became a yoga instructor. And while it's clear he found a passion in that, it was a clear choice of choosing his fitness/health/body shape over the contributions he could have made with his linguistics and CS background and the entire rest of that career. As well as paying back student loans on the yoga paycheck. He also admits in a couple public blog posts that he went overboard at times, that his friends were concerned he was malnourishing himself. I'm not trying to say it's impossible, because obviously people have done it. But it is *hard*.

I feel like I'm being discouraging, so I'll end on this positive note: You're literally stronger than most of the haters. Take one of them, assume they're 150-200lbs, and give them another 150lbs to carry around with them all day every day. How long would they last? [Oddly enough I must give credit to an episode of The Biggest Loser I accidentally caught once. I don't like the show, generally, though, particularly after its many issues were exposed.]

I don't know what your story is, how you got to where you are now. But you're doing your personal best to accomplish *your* goals, in the order of their importance. And I'm sure some days are good and some days are bad and that's humanity right there. All the best to you! Ignore the haters.

No-stache

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Hi galliver, my degree is in library science. If I were in a professional position I *could* possibly make $15,000+ more per year but it just hasn't happened for me yet. Every single cent of my student loans is for two years of graduate school. $10,000 a semester tuition, plus books and living expenses. I worked some during grad school but only part-time and didn't make much money. The government loan is for the tuition and the private loans covered living expenses. I lived in the cheapest apartment I could find ($350/month) and paid my car off right before I began school.

I still live very cheaply. My budget is somewhat fluid. Maybe I was invited to eat out after I've spent my $10 or $20 restaurant budget for the month so I'll "borrow" (or sometimes outright steal) from the cosmetics envelope, etc. You can't spend what you don't have. If I made more $ I might spend a little more in certain areas, maybe not. It's a challenge for me too. I write the dates in permanent marker on just about everything when I open it to see how long it takes me to use it and if I can beat my record. For instance, it takes me around 4 months to completely use a bottle of Bath & Body Works shower gel. I'll try to beat that record next time.

People love to body shame everywhere. I'm pretty used to it. I've been obese almost my entire life. My entire immediate family is morbidly obese. Lifelong habits, emotional eating, binge eating disorder, depression, etc. all contribute. I don't drink soda too much. I drink tea I sweeten with liquid stevia that doesn't have propylene glycol in it. I try to be very health conscious but if I get lonely (which has happened more lately after moving away from family to a new state) or sad or depressed or whatever, I can't seem to stop myself. Generally I'm obsessed with food. Counting calories, how much I can have, thinking about what I'm going to eat before I'm even done eating my current meal. Sometimes to stop myself I'll have to throw the rest of what I'm eating in the trash and cover it in something nasty like cat litter. Every single day is a struggle.

Carrying around the extra weight does make me strong but it also makes me weak. My body is so stressed because of the extra weight it can't do much more than carry that extra around. I've been fortunate to not have high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, etc. but I know that will happen eventually if I don't change my life.

But anyway, trying to stick to a strict food budget really helps with the binging. Can't eat what's not here. :)

caliq

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For the eating disorder stuff, check out Recovery Roadmap -- it's a free app meant to replace stuff like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt! and get you away from the obsessive calorie counting and towards fixing your emotional relationship with food.  You really should also be seeing a mental health professional and a nutritionist to work on this stuff, but I get that there's budgetary constraints there. 

No-stache

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Thank you, caliq. I'll look into Recovery Roadmap. I've seen several therapists about my food issues and also done Overeaters Anonymous, etc. Not much of it helped me. Maybe I just didn't find the right person to help me.

Spondulix

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I'm really impressed with the thoroughness/organization of your doc - it shows a level of skill, detail and care in what you do. I'm wondering if there's some sort of side work you can do that would really capitalize on those skills. I've got a couple resources you may like -

Iheartbudgets.net. They have sample budgets every Friday, which have a lot of great information (especially if you can find one that's similar to your own situation): http://www.iheartbudgets.net/budgetfriday/

A book by Geneen Roth called "Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money." She's an author who's written a number of books about women and food (emotional eating, compulsive eating, perpetual dieting), but wrote this one after she lost most of her savings in Madoff's Ponzi scheme. She talks about how our relationship with food and money are very similar. Here's a brief article she wrote for the Huffington Post about it (but I'd totally recommend the book):
https://geneenroth.com/2014/01/07/what-i-gained-by-losing-in-madoff/

No-stache

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Spondulix- Ooooooo, the iheartbudgets site looks right up my alley. I love looking at people's budgets and comparing. Since I don't have much of a social life because I always say "no" to going out I sit at home and scour frugal living sites, blogs, pinterest, and other sites. You learn a lot that way. People think I'm nuts for most of the stuff I do but hey...unless they want to pay for the lifestyle they want me to have I'll kindly continue to pay for the lifestyle that I can afford. (And I'm using "afford" loosely.)

Thank you for the compliment. I am a very detail oriented person most of the time. And somewhat of a control freak. I think I am going to apply to be a course assistant for online college courses. They basically go through and make sure the students have posted what they are required to post for discussion boards, etc., help students with basic questions and the like. I can do it from home at anytime.

I believe I may have read one of Geneen Roth's books a long time ago. I didn't realize she had written several books about disordered eating though. I'll have to look for those...I work in a library after all.


Kaspian

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But as (I think it's jlcollins?) says, "If it doesn't hurt, you're probably not saving enough."

True...and I'm not saving enough.

No, but you will.  I think I overlooked the last few pages of your case study where you list your student loans and say:

Quote
Total Liabilities: $ 74,257.47
This makes me ill. (I used the principle balance for Chase loans so this is slightly off.)

You're 33 and you have time on your side.  I know it doesn't seem that way considering many of the young, financial whiz kid keeners we have on this site, but you'll get it paid off.  ...And you'll build savings.  Stick to the program and you'll be alright.  Sadly, I'm almost 44 and wish I knew about FIRE a decade ago.  That said, since I first read MMM mid-2012, my net stache has gone from $90,000 to $225,000.  That's in less than three years!  It adds up quickly and you're just beginning your attempt at this.  You'll get there--don't be ill about it.

RexualChocolate

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Financially, I think you're on the right track. TN can have limited opportunity, but have you thought about going into teaching? Even a first year teacher makes 7k more a year than you do.

As a kindred soul with terrible metabolism, I have some bad news.

Whatever you're eating now, you're eating way, way too much of it. You need to cut it down by over half. Likely 25% of it.

Your body (and brain) will fight you, constantly, but once you have ketosis symptoms you know you're on the right track. I'm not going to lie, the first 2-3 months are terrible and uncomfortable. But this is the equivalent of fasting and will really help you with blood sugar and attitude. No diet or shake or exercise will help, its literally all portion control. People with better metabolisms will argue, but it's just not the case. Its 90+% calorie intake. I also went to 2 meals a to help with portion control and people will constantly tell you that 'slows your metabolism,' but no study has proven that out. I'm now trying to transition to one to lose the last 5-10lbs.

I go to the gym and do 2 hours of hard cardio a week as well as weights, resulting in approximately 4 hours a week of commitment total.

It really just comes down to willpower. It shouldn't be so hard for us and easy for other people, but these are the cards we were dealt.


No-stache

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Kaspian - thank for the encouragement. It is a little discouraging (although I'm super excited for them) to read about a 24-year-old with no debt, 125k in retirement, 50k in cash, and an almost-paid-off house. What you've managed to accomplish in three years is amazing and gives me hope!

RexualChocolate- I don't have a teaching degree and I don't want to go back to get one. The only teaching I'm interested in remotely is information literacy, or teaching library skills to students.

Yes, I am eating way too much of what I'm eating. And yes my metabolism is probably all kinds of messed up. I know what I need to do to lose weight. I probably know more about nutrition than 80% of the population. But knowing what to do and being able to do it are separate issues. I wish it were as easy as, "I'll just reduce my calorie intake, exercise some, and make sure what I'm eating is healthy." If it were that easy, no one would fat.

Dee18

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You seem to have considered many possibilities and I am sure it must be incredibly frustrating to be underemployed after all the time, effort, and money you invested in graduate school.  Be sure to use that school for a continuing job search for the professional position for which you are qualified.  Stay in touch with the career services office.  Also, if you do not have a mentor in your field, do you have a former professor you could talk with to make a plan for getting the experience employers are looking for?  Even if it is only a couple days a month, perhaps you could volunteer somewhere to work toward that experience.  Alternatively, is there a market for tutoring where you live?  That could be a potential side gig if you have a lot of patience.  As for the concerts, check to see if you can volunteer in exchange for free admission.  This isn't a huge saving, but it would probably be fun.  And you might meet another music lover to share expenses with at future concerts.

Best of luck to you and keep us posted at MMM.  We will be cheering you on from afar.

Apples

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On food-I'm a stress/emotional/boredom eater.  And I crave carbs and fats.  Working out helps stave off some of that, but a big thing for me has been finding hobbies that occupy my hands.  I have always loved reading, and if I can dive into a story that distracts me from wanting the food.  But really, knitting and crocheting are the bomb.  They keep my hands occupied-it was always possible to snack on some popcorn while reading a book, that's basically impossible with this hobby.  If I can't stop thinking about craving food, I'll turn on an audiobook or podcast (there are zillions of free ones out there).  I teeter with being overweight, and really need to lose a bit of weight.  While food changes and exercise really makes me lose weight and live healthier overall, this hobby is a great way to prevent my problem eating.  Just 2 cents :)

swick

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Just wondering - does the festival you like going to have options for paid staff or volunteer? Usually you get at the very least a free ticket and meals and usually the schedules are arranged so everyone gets to party too. Some festivals even have pre-show volunteer positions so you can go a couple of days early, help set up (very neat behind the scenes) get priority camping and enjoy the whole festival.

onwisconsin

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Hi there,

I'm a librarian (got my MA in 1995) and I sympathize with your job issues.

One thing I always tell new graduates:  1) either work for a huge library system (like San Francisco) that belongs to a union or 2) get a government job.

I work full-time as a librarian for one of the big government agencies, but I live in Baltimore (low cost of living compared to DC) and the pay and benefits are excellent.

Good luck and PM me if you want to talk shop.

No-stache

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Thank you everyone! :)

I really appreciate everyone's feedback.

Dee18 and Swick: Honestly, I don't want to volunteer or work at the concerts. It's my "vacation" and I want to enjoy it. My friend and I go to concerts together and she's frugal as well. We take her Corolla over my Sable (better gas mileage) and don't mind to sleep in the same bed if it means saving money. She's also down for taking our own food, etc.

Apples: My Mamaw told me I needed to do something with my hands as well. The problem is I'm not motivated to do knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, etc. I'm not good at crafty stuff and honestly, I just don't wanna. It's a good idea to keep hands busy for sure...just not something I'm into.

onwisconsin: I do work for the state so I get very good benefits (though not as good as my last job - however, the pay is higher and there's room for advancement here). Too bad I can't combine the benefits of my last job and the salary of this job.

No-stache

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Update in the top post!

velocistar237

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That's great news! Congrats!

Looks to me like you're changing your luck.

MMMaybe

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Sounds like you are moving forward in a great direction :)

Just a thought about your weight issues. Have you ever been tested for insulin resistance? A friend of mine had always battled with her weight (she was obese) and after she was diagnosed with this, they put her on a special low carb diet and she was able to lose weight more easily. Turns out that some people just do less well with carbs than other. Carbs almost are a drug/craving to them, while at the same time, playing havoc with their blood sugars and metabolism.

I can't remember the name of the author but there was a very interesting article in the NY Times about his work in this area. Explains the science better than I can. But it suggests that it isn't always as easy as eat less/do more exercise for some people (although thats certainly important)...

velocistar237

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Something I forgot to ask before: the PSLF program has some hoops to jump through. Have you made sure you're jumping through them correctly?

A friend of mine said that you can lose weight with both high-carb and low-carb eating if the amount is right, but that it's easier for people to stick to eating a right amount if they're eating low-carb. Also, I'm reading a book on mindfulness that mentions the idea of learning to pay attention to and savor each bite. (Hope this unsolicited advice is at least not unwelcome.)

No-stache

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Something I forgot to ask before: the PSLF program has some hoops to jump through. Have you made sure you're jumping through them correctly?

A friend of mine said that you can lose weight with both high-carb and low-carb eating if the amount is right, but that it's easier for people to stick to eating a right amount if they're eating low-carb. Also, I'm reading a book on mindfulness that mentions the idea of learning to pay attention to and savor each bite. (Hope this unsolicited advice is at least not unwelcome.)

I'm getting ready to submit documentation from my new employer as soon as I figure out which person has the authority to fill out the documents. I actually didn't realize I had to fill out the paperwork annually so I'm going to get in contact with FedLoan and see what I need to do about that. From what I can tell on the gov website it's just getting the paperwork filled out after the fact. This forgiveness will save me over 40k if everything goes as planned.

I think I'm going to try to get back to a vegan/mostly vegan diet. Last July I had my cholesterol/yearly blood work done and my total cholesterol after eating vegan for one month (June) and vegetarian before that was 155. Had it checked two weeks ago after eating my regular vegetarian diet and it jumped 51 friggin' points to 206. WTF? I've been walking lately and my plantar fasciitis has flared up. Not to mention I can barely flex my left foot because I've injured it somehow. So now I look like an obese penguin when I walk. :/ I think that's why so many obese people get discouraged. We try to eat the best we can and exercise but either hurt ourselves or hurt so badly from the exercise that we quit.

I'm still trying. Most of my problem is the binge eating and I've been really working on that lately. Thanks for the advice. :)


Sounds like you are moving forward in a great direction :)

Just a thought about your weight issues. Have you ever been tested for insulin resistance? A friend of mine had always battled with her weight (she was obese) and after she was diagnosed with this, they put her on a special low carb diet and she was able to lose weight more easily. Turns out that some people just do less well with carbs than other. Carbs almost are a drug/craving to them, while at the same time, playing havoc with their blood sugars and metabolism.

I can't remember the name of the author but there was a very interesting article in the NY Times about his work in this area. Explains the science better than I can. But it suggests that it isn't always as easy as eat less/do more exercise for some people (although thats certainly important)...

To my knowledge I have not been tested for insulin resistance. I'll have to talk with my doctor about it and see what she thinks. I think my mom had/has that. Both my parents are diabetics so I know I'm predisposed and my weight and tendency to binge on carbs/sugar does not help at all. Thanks for the recommendation.