Sometimes this debt makes me feel like crying. Sometimes I read the comments sections looking for people who are in situations like mine, but so many people seem to be saying, "I've started this snowball stuff and I'm really excited and optimistic about having this paid off in 5 years!" I've been doing the snowball stuff since January 2009. It seems like it will be an impossibly long time before I will be in a more reasonable financial position, where I can even just move out of my parents' house. I know I'm young, and that is probably part of what makes this seem like it will take forever
when I've already been at this for so long
I had an interview yesterday for two jobs. I am still working, but looking for more money. There are two jobs with similar qualifications at the same library, so I applied for both. First round of interviews was 7 or 8 people, including me, for the 2 positions. Decent chances, but I'm still nervous. The interviewer talked about benefits and pay. That's part of the nervousness. Pay would be between $32,000 and $36,000 (one is a little more than the other) and insurance is more expensive there than at my current employer. When I started doing this job search I looked at rent prices in the area and made a rough budget to figure that I would need to make $40,000 to move out from my parents house and still afford everything. Even if I get one of these jobs, I won't be able to move out. If I were to get the job, I'm nervous about whether to take it or not, I'm not seeing a whole lot of opportunities out there for me to actually make $40,000. I have a few other applications out, one for a job I know would pay $40,000 or more, but for which my qualifications are not really as strong.
I'm doing well in therapy, and that is part of what makes my financial situation so painful (I've already hit my out-of-pocket max for the year, so it isn't therapy payments making it more painful
). The more I admit to how toxic and abusive my parents have been, the harder it is to tolerate living with them. I want out so bad it makes me feel like exploding sometimes, but money says it isn't an option.
I excessively track my spending in a spreadsheet, so here are August's highlights.
Income = $1,467.40
Student loan payment = $6,382.66 ($5,000 inheritance + $400 extra in my budget + $300 for deciding $2,000 is a sufficient cushion in my checking account + $682.66 autopayment for the minimum)
Healthcare expenses = $290.66 (dietitian appointments and allergy medicine)
Gasoline = $63.92
Cat expenses = $225 (ear biopsy, my parents actually paid the rest of it for me)
Food = $38.68 (my parents pay for the household groceries, this includes eating out, a birthday gift I gave of a bunch of boxes of instant risotto, and ingredients for particular recipes)
New phone expenses = $63.68 (I got a new cell phone and a new pay-as-you go plan, the plan is cheaper and the phone is miles more reliable battery- and reception-wise, which is to say, I actually feel now as though it would be useful in an emergency, I don't make a lot of calls and this puts the minimum stay-active yearly cost at $30 instead of $80)
Misc = $13.36 (books, I had two gift cards and an informal gift cert. to use on books, I also sold some books and put that money toward books, this $13.36 covered what went over my "book money" allotment; one cookbook that will hopefully help motivate me to cook and eat better, rather than giving in to my eating disorder too much, and four books about bookbinding as a sort of investment in my future profession)
Current owed on student loans = $84,562.89 (two loans totalling $56,573.66 @ 3.56% and two loans totalling $27,921.97 @ 4.69%, originally having borrowed $87,396.89)
As I mentioned, I decided to keep only a $2,000 cushion in my checking account now. What I usually do is look at how much I have leftover at the end of the month out of what I earned that month and throw the difference at my loan. This month that difference was $400, but the extra $300 was to even out my cushion. I consider that cushion to be part of my emergency fund, in addition to the $3,419.17 in my savings account.
Looking at my student loan accounts online, it looks like some of my monthly payments have decreased, which I imagine they do to try to keep my payment schedule able to fill up the full original 20 year term. However, doing the math, it looks like one of my loans, with its current minimum is on track to finishing 10 years early, so I expect that will probably be reduced soon. If I can't make enough money to afford rent, a full grocery budget, and utilities (being the expenses I would have to add for living on my own) with my current monthly payment, but still earn more money, I am hoping that by throwing all the additional money toward my loans will eventually reduce my minimum payments enough that I will be able to afford it later, when the payments are sufficiently reduced.
I looked at some private loan consolidation options. The only places I found online that showed me ranges of APR without actually filling an application indicated huge rates, over 10%, which is clearly a losing proposition. I admit, though, I still know very little about consolidation. I am considering looking for a nonprofit credit counseling place to talk to someone to see if they have any ideas for me. I'm nervous that they won't understand my need to move out as soon as financially possible, and that they might think I'm just being a whiney 26 year-old who needs to suck it up which, as I am only admitting to myself now how bad it is at home, is pretty much what I think of myself already.