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 Post subject: Untangling.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:15 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
Current situation:
$11,000 in student loan debt at less than 3%.
Minimum monthly payment $138.
$5,000 in savings.
Adding $1,000 monthly.

I am fine with minimum payments on the student loans until interest rates rise, I'm more interested in savings right now.

Currently living at home, after finishing university. I am having trouble untangling my career from the family business. I meant to have gotten a job in my field approximately two years ago, but keep putting it off. I have one potential interview this month, and have found four potential jobs to apply for since starting looking properly this weekend.

The plus side of working for the family is that I have no rent expenses outside of household duties (grocery shopping, yard work, family paperwork, etc), no commute, etc, etc. I've paid off $25,000 in student debt in the past two and a half years. The minus side is that my mother isn't really kicking me out of the nest. One could even say that she is not in a hurry to be alone in the house, and that she finds me working for her cheap/pleasant. It doesn't help the rut.

Goals:
$1,000 into savings in December for moving expenses, bringing my unexpected-but-non-emergency money up from 1,000 to 2,000, where I like it.
All Christmas presents bought/wrapped this week. I'm very flaky about presents, and I really want to avoid my frugality leading to skimping on showing appreciation for people I love.
4 job applications sent off this week.
Update social media profiles this week. (Monster.com, Facebook, etc. I want my facebook picture to be a bit less nerdy.)
Make 20 tins of homemade hand cream for neighbors for Christmas (I have commitments for 15 tins @ $7, for a profit of $40-$50 depending on how much cute labels cost.)


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:35 am
Posts: 7
Wysteria, are you looking for advice or help in making decisions or are you journaling so that we can support you from a distance?


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
I'm hoping that a little accountability will make the difference between another year drifting along meaning to getting around to taking care of my career properly and actually doing so. So, in short, I'm hoping for advice.

On that note! A small frustration: I've had a nasty cold since last week. I did get some pictures taken to put on my Facebook page that are way, way less nerdy, since Facebook is my main real-name online presence if I was googled. I can use it for LinkedIn etc, too.

A small happiness: one of my college professors that I reached out to wrote me back and wants to get together and catch up. Networking! I hate it with a burning passion, but it does seem to work. I made an excel sheet of contacts, email addresses and dates last contacted and have it scheduled to keep in touch every six months. These things do not come naturally to me at all.

Another small happiness: I went to the bookstore with a budget of $30 for a gift for my father. I found two books for 50% off, one for him and one for me, and a new hardcover, and it all came to $33.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm handling my savings goals for December. I have $5000 right now, and wanted to get it up to $6000 this month, but then I look at my gifts budget, do the math, and come up with $5500 for the month instead. That's still saving a third of my after-tax income, but it irritates me. (This is why I need to work on my income.) I think the budget busters there are that I'm tempted by an aikido class and a bellydancing class, both over $100/month, and have one person I need to get gifts for who's going through a rough patch - it makes me want to buy them things until it's all better. We're talking 'hey, I should just spend $400, that'll make everything work.' Not having bills besides my student loans spoils me. Focus!


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:57 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
Decided to cut savings stash from 2/3rds of my take home pay this month to 1/3rd. I have two nights booked at a hostel next week for a mini-working-vacation crossed with a job interview. Pricey city, so even though I'm going to look into free entertainment and spend a lot of time at Starbucks working remotely, I don't think my budget could handle it. I'm also, on a lighter note, buying my mother and myself massages at the really nice place in town for after Christmas. All my other Christmas presents are accounted for.

I don't think I have any spending money, at all, once this trip and my presents are bought, but if I do pull through on this not-actually-well-thought-out entrepreneurial experiment, that would be $100 back in my pocket, even if I am unlikely to turn a profit thanks to ordering the wrong jars twice. From an online store, so the shipping fees were horrendous. Worst comes to worst, I have a lot of neat essential oils I didn't have before.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5276
Just a comment, not necessarily a criticism...

The longer you put off "getting a real job" the more difficult it will be. Employers don't want people with stale skills. I've done enough hiring myself to know how true this is. It's fine in theory to not discriminate against the parent (male or female) who stayed home with the kids for a few years for example. But in practice it's very hard to see them favorably when you know they have been out of touch with their field for a few years.

In many ways you get a pass on this right now but it is still something you should be concerned about. It is very hard for new grads to get a job now so there is not so much negativity associated with it.

If your family business is something related to your career then this does not apply. But if not then this consideration should be something you recognize and hopefully use as motivation.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
One interview on the 20th. It went well, but I haven't heard back since I sent my thank you note. This is pretty typical of the organization, so I'm not counting not hearing from them as a positive or negative sign. They don't move quickly.

End-of-year student loan balance:
6276.13 @ 3.15%
4451.17 @ 2.36%

Total $10,727.30

The larger balance just verged above 3% interest, so once I finish topping my savings back up to $6000 I might start paying it down in earnest. Both are variable interest loans. Not sure yet. I need to think about retirement savings goals and my risk tolerance.

End-of-year savings:
$5,800.

I have found a job that I really, really want - a seasonal research position starting in May, ending in October. To do: get my college transcripts, read their website and about the area, revise my resume to emphasize why I am right for the position. Pay is based on experience level, so I don't think I will be making all that much, though it is a paid position. Housing is included in pay, which is always a great bonus. It builds off my college internship, but would give me experience in other related aspects of the field, and I think it would look good on a grad school application. I want to get either a teaching or research assistantship in grad school, and this would give me (more) experience assisting in scientific research. I'm not entirely sure how I would go about getting teaching experience. The reason I am tempted by a teaching assistantship is that I would like to know how teaching suits me.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:42 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
Alrighty! So, I've achieved a job - a summer position in my field. Pay's the same hourly as my current position, but my expenses will go up because I'll be paying rent and groceries and gas. I need to make a proper summer budget.

Student loan balance: $10,410.
Savings balance (including all targeted funds): $7,800.
+ tax refund to come: $600.
Total: $8,400.

I have five weeks until my summer position starts. I'm hoping by either the day I start the job or the day I end it, I'll have more cash on hand than I owe out. That would be lovely.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5276
Congrats. Was this a result of the December/January interview?


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:27 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
No, this was a later application to a very similar job. Once I realized what I was looking for, I went hunting for a few similar jobs to hedge my bets. The first few didn't pan out, but this one did. I had a very nervous time of it because I made it into the second batch of interviews, not the first batch (that is, they interviewed one set, didn't find someone they liked, so they called a second set). I was quite lucky.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:21 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
Car I was planning to have for the summer will not be available. I don't need a car out there as far as I know, so I am adjusting my plan and budget. I have a bike, so lots of biking. My plan on the budget is to buy as I need things, stay careful, and then look over my numbers later. Three months isn't a long time, even if it feels that way.

To expand on the car thing, which I'm tossing around in my head and is worrying me a little:
-Work has work vehicles I will be driving.
-I will be living on a US military base. I think that means everything I need will be within biking distance, but I don't have a map.
-I have asked for details about housing, but apparently that's a different department than the one I have contact with. This makes me uncomfortable. I'm someone who really wants lots of diagrams, maps, structure.
-There's no way buying a car will be more cost efficient than biking, taking a taxi or the bus, right? Especially with the price of gas lately.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:47 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Ontario, Canada
Congrats on the job. I think you are doing the right thing by planning to use your bike to get around. I'm sure you'll have lots within easy reach, and you can only buy what you can carry home - much less on a bike than in a car :)

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Kate


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:31 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
So, the team of summer seasonal types I've been working on for the past month (yay!) has been offered a one-month extension through the end of September, if we want it. The other three members of the team seem inclined towards taking it. I have no other plans that can't be put off a month, but I get the impression my mother very much enjoyed having me around at home. Tell me that's not a good reason to make adult decisions? I'm pretty sure I should be striving towards the independent lifestyle and an actual career. Even if I can save more living at home, saving more on a small salary won't earn me as much as working towards a larger salary, which is what I'm doing right now.

I do field ecology for work (which is awesome! not a very lucrative field, which is also on my mind, but awesome). This job has been great about training, including hooking me up with a wilderness fire class for free. I wanted to take a summer class, but didn't think I should try to fit anything in around the new job, but since the new job arranged and wants me to take this one....

Field work is also very good for my health, which will save me money in the long term. Just feeling very insecure about it.

At the end of the month I plan to do a budget update and see whether my savings have topped my SL balance. Not having a car has been working out fine so far, though bus fare is unpleasantly expensive. I'm just not traveling much. I have a roommate I've been carpooling with. Biking, I have discovered, is awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:48 am 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 10:05 am
Posts: 960
Wysteria wrote:
I do field ecology for work (which is awesome! not a very lucrative field, which is also on my mind, but awesome....

Field work is also very good for my health, which will save me money in the long term. Just feeling very insecure about it.

At the end of the month I plan to do a budget update and see whether my savings have topped my SL balance. Not having a car has been working out fine so far, though bus fare is unpleasantly expensive. I'm just not traveling much. I have a roommate I've been carpooling with. Biking, I have discovered, is awesome.


Glad the job is working out. Is there a possibility this could become a permanent position? That sounds very interesting! Have you considered going back to school, getting a graduate degree in ecology, and teaching? Or perhaps combining it with something else in the long term?

I walked or carpooled with my roomates in college for the first three years. I borrowed a bike when available too. Those are great choices!

As far as your budget goes have you made subdivisions in it for wants/needs and fixed/variable expenses respectively? Consider this thread in ways to save money.

_________________
~ Eagle


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:55 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
Eagle: I don't think this has the potential to be a permanent position, but I am glad about the month's extension. I wouldn't want to stay on permanently, in any case. Ecology is very seasonal work, so they need a lot of help in summer and not so much in winter. Yes, I do want to go to graduate school. I'm currently trying to gain experience so that my applications will look good. I want to get a professional-style masters, not a PhD, because I'm not all that interested in exploring my own avenues of research.

Highlights from my work with my budget this month:

Rent higher than expected, because of some confusion in communication with the higher ups. It doesn't make the work unprofitable, it just makes my budget tighter.

I spent more than I wanted to on food ($445) but most of it is nonperishable or baking supplies that double as a fun expense. I love baking, and made brownies for the office that were a hit.

Try as I might, I can only find $56 in expenses for fun this month. I've joined the local library and I get internet TV, so I'm not feeling too pressured. I had one trip that I had to chip in $20 gas for carpooling expenses. I'm not feeling deprived, but I should keep an eye on that. I tend to underspend and make myself unhappy.

10% of my take home pay transfered to savings. I also have some side work I'm doing that I'll toss in savings.


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 Post subject: Re: Untangling.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:14 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:04 am
Posts: 43
Big milestones today. Updated my student loan spreadsheet and did a monthly transfer to my savings account. Student loan balance: $9995.38. Savings account balance: $9995.38. I also have money in my checking account, am getting paid by one job Friday, and have outstanding bills for a few hundred from my part time job. I have positive net worth! And liquidity! Yay! I've been so close to getting here for months, this is awesome. Today is awesome. Everything is awesome.

(My friend is jealous and I feel awkward. But not very, because this is awesome!)


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