Oct 28

Do I really need a smartphone?

really need a smartphoneEverywhere you look around you today, someone is most likely going to have their smartphone out. Whether it’s talking, texting, browsing the internet, or playing a game people have integrated their smartphones into daily life. And it seems most of the time it is rightfully so – smartphones are incredibly useful as we now have the power of the internet right at our fingertips and are able to look anything up on the spot. Now you can even play games that are as advanced as we were playing on TVs and computers as little as 10 years ago – all on a device that fits in your pocket. As of now though, I am surprisingly not one of these people. Continue reading

Jun 18

Getting a Raise

Well it seems that I have stumbled upon some good luck as of yesterday, getting notice from my boss that I would be receiving a 6% raise. But I’d like to think it was also having to do with all the hard work I’ve put in, after all we do create our own luck, don’t we? My salary will now be bumped up to $53,000 from the $50,000 that I had started from. Needless to say, I’m still thrilled – just the $50,000 I had started at was more money than I could have ever imagined to be making in one year in my life and I know I am extremely lucky to be in the position I am in, even if it includes all of this debt.

So what effect will this have on my finances? I’m thinking that it wont be too big of an effect – but it definitely will be large enough to notice. My current monthly net income is around $2,800 and now I estimate it will be at around $2,900 after receiving this raise and making a few changes. The raise will take effect starting the month of July and I receive two paychecks a month, one on the 15th and one at the end of the month. That should be around $100 more a month, or $1200 a year. Maybe it will end up going to my student loans?

The few changes that I plan on making are towards my 401k contributions with my employer. I’m currently contributing 6% of my salary pre-tax to my employer 401k, and they match 50% up to 6% – so I’m taking full advantage of that 3% free match. I’ve decided that because of this raise I’m going to up my contribution to 8%. I’ll still only receive a 3% match, but I figure I’m still getting a raise this way and contributing more to my future at the same time. My take home pay might have been closer to $3,000 a month without increasing my contribution rate, but I don’t mind this at all in my current situation.

You might argue that it would be smarter to keep putting as much money towards my loans at the current interest rate they are at, the chances of me earning more on the market in my 401k are slim. Paying off my loans are guaranteed interest. The reasonable side of me would definitely tend to agree with you! Unfortunately the psychological side of me does not agree with that…I enjoy seeing my loans go down, but I also like to see my wealth grow on the other end of the scale too.

It already kind of sucks watching most of my paycheck going to pay most of my loans instead of being able to take advantage of the years of compound interest, so this is my compromise to myself. I’m working on getting my huge “emergency” fund down, maybe the next step will be to increase my loan payments even more! I’m definitely trying to target $1500+ to my loans each month though, and will stick to my budget. For now I’ll just enjoy my raise, and stick to the new plan I have outlined – saving more money and maybe putting a little extra towards my loans as well.

Photo Credits for this post: Stockvault.net

Apr 24

Who I Am and How I Got Here

In my first post, I really just wanted to give an overview of my current student loans and maybe that was actually more for myself as opposed to you – the readers of this blog. Well, now I am going to tell you a little bit (maybe a lot of bit) about myself.

I’m currently 23 years old, recently graduated from school last May. I currently live in the Northeast, and I will admit that the cost of living does suck here. I’m quickly approaching my first full year of working full time post-graduation! Time definitely flies…when you’re having fun…when you’re paying off loans. Ha ha – the complete opposite in reality, but don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I don’t stay positive. I try to remain optimistic and enjoy myself as much as possible.

Back to my story…upon graduating, I had already accepted a job offer near my home for $50,000 annual base salary. I was very excited, as I know the job market has been really rough. I attended a private university with a good reputation, I had received a large amount of merit-based scholarships and compared to the few state schools I had looked at offered me much less so the cost of attending was ‘only’ the difference of a few thousand, and I figured the school’s reputation would easily pay for that difference.

I may have ended up being right about school’s reputation, and I don’t regret my decision at all. I had a great time at college and it was a great experience. I do regret the amount of debt I have taken on, which probably could have been reduced by going to a community college for 2 years and then transferring to a state school for little to nothing.

I was one of those people that just assumed that you had to go to college, you had to get this debt and it just kind of disappears once you graduate and get a job. I just clicked through the loan application and signed my life away, not realizing the consequences. I had nobody to go to ask in my family, nobody had gone to college before me. I just pretended that the debt wasn’t there as I took out another loan for each year.  I didn’t realize the absolute scale of all the money I was borrowing, or the amount of interest that would be piling up!

But I don’t like to dwell on past decisions, and now it’s time to execute my plan from where I’m currently at. I absolutely DID want to go to college, and I graduated with a degree with Technology in Business and I’m working at a great company with great people. I hope you will join me on my adventure as I work to eliminate this debt, and maybe we can even share some tips and advice with each other.

Photo Credits for this post: anshustock @ Veezzle
Apr 24

The Beginnings of a Debt Journey

Where do I start? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself pretty often and one that I will be trying to tackle throughout the course of this blog. I have a huge amount of student debt, one that makes me cringe and nervous to look at as I make the payments for these loans. I’m hoping that you will be able to follow me along on this debt journey. Maybe we can learn a few things from each other and pay off our student loans together.

Continue reading