One year out from graduation, I evaluated my life. How was I doing? Most importantly, why was I still living paycheck to paycheck? Since finances are easily the thing that send my stress levels flying, I decided to start planning and sharing my experiences.
With starting salaries smaller than our student loan debt (okay not quite…but alarmingly close), we’ve entered a working world that doesn’t give a crap about our top-notch liberal arts degrees, all those [unpaid] internship hours, or our pink scented resumes (kidding…name that movie). There are plenty of candidates to choose from, many with more experience than most recent grads and willing to take a pay cut.
Want a white collar job that offers health insurance and will get you out of your parent’s house? Sold! To the lowest bidder. Sure, you can’t see a window from your solid grey cubicle. But you’ve got double monitors and you are not a part of the unemployed 9%. Rejoice!
When it comes to maintaining (or faking) the lifestyle you had or desire on the salary you have, you quickly have to learn shortcuts. Maybe you scraped by in college, maybe you had parents who helped you. Either way, now you’re a “grown up”…whatever that means. Let’s be honest…sometimes it sucks!
Stuff that sucks the most:
- Electric bills – Who knew they could be so expensive? This California girl was not prepared for the heating bills during the east coast winters. However, if there is snow on the ground than this moves to the “totally worth it” category. Instantly.
- Gas – Expensive. Enough said. Am I the only person who never has a full tank of gas because they can’t bear the thought of $60 all at once? Just call me Miss puts-5-dollars-in-the-tank-every-two-days.
- Cell phone – Gone are the days of Mom paying the bill. Man do I miss those.
- Toilet paper – It’s like wiping your tush with money.
And what’s totally worth it:
- Student loan payments – Yup, you read that right. Those four years were worth every. Single. Penny. I like to reminisce about the good times every time my payments are auto-deducted from my account (hey thanks, 0.25% interest rate reduction)!
- A salon dye job – Especially true for blondes. My dirty blonde hair has to be highlighted and doing this myself has proven disastrous on more than one occasion. Let’s never again experience the unfortunate tiger stripes incident of 2006. Or the time I almost fried every hair out of my head. I leave this to the professionals.
- Having money in savings – My personal security blanket. It’s not a lot (not nearly enough) but it’s something I’m working towards. And at least right now I could fix my car if it broke down. That’s a start, right?
- My once a month splurge at Goodwill – Yup, that’s right. Once a month I allow myself to go in a Goodwill and buy whatever calls to me. Usually I come out with a variety of clothes (usually Loft, Banana Republic, and J. Crew), several books, picture frames, and maybe even a piece of furniture.
And the priceless:
Just keepin it real…xoxo