January Update

In November, I was laid off unexpectedly (and illegally) from the company that I had been working for. I am currently in litigation with said company, so I can’t go into too much detail. The holidays are an incredibly difficult time to be searching for a job because hiring managers tend to go on vacation and nothing really gets initiated until the beginning of January. Well as of today I have one solid offer from a prestigious tech company with an office here in New York (though the job isn’t that prestigious) and another job that I interviewed for today that seems promising. Both are in the 30-35k pay range, which is 10-15k under my goal range while I finish school, but I really need to start having an income flow again.

I’m trying really hard to reduce my expenses, starting with my grocery budget, which had previously consisted of $75-100 per week PLUS eating out for lunch on weekdays and dinner a few days a week. I feel that this is a standard practice for Manhattan, but it is an unnecessary expense and very “keeping up with the Joneses”. This week, I’m trying to keep expenses at a bare minimum, and I’ve spent just under $30 and mixed new items with some staple foods that I already had in my cabinets and freezer.

Here’s my current stockpile:

Pasta & sauces – 8 meals

Tuna sandwiches – 7 meals

Cheese sandwiches – 12 meals

Veggie soup – 8 meals

Bean & rice/quinoa – 12 meals

stir fry veggies & rice – 8 meals

eggs- 1 meal

oatmeal – 10 meals

Knowing what is in my cabinets and fridge has really helped me see how much food I have that isn’t being used. My next goal is to cut out soda, which I’ve reduced my spending on greatly, but its an unhealthy addiction that wastes money. I’ve been swapping it out for tap water with lemon.

On a financial note, I managed to get approved for a new credit card from a bank that I had previously closed an account in good standing with. Currently all of my credit cards are maxed out and many are behind and about to be charged off. I’ve learned my lesson and realize that cards should not be used to live beyond one’s means. The only reason I was interested in getting another card was to change my debt to credit ratio and begin trying to rebuild my credit score. My plan is to only use the new card for my reoccurring phone bill, which I will pay in full each month. Once my income starts coming in again, I will save money to pay the cards that are behind, attacking those balances as quickly as possible.

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January Update

First Post: Laying it all out there – Ivy League and broke

When I look at blogs, I tend to believe those people have it all together. I would like to make it explicitly clear, dear reader, that I am not one of those people.

I graduated high school early. Not because I was particularly smart, but because I hated attending classes and I figured out that if I transferred to the “adult school” where they sent all of the pregnant students and other “problem” kids, that I could complete a self-paced program that would allow me to get my diploma much earlier.

Unfortunately, my single-mother who was raising me had no money to send me to college. So instead, I worked.

My mother passed away a few days after my 21st birthday. I enrolled in a local art school shortly afterward to study fashion design and merchandising. By the second semester, I realized the school was pretty much a scam and decided to take a job opportunity at the company I had been working for, which allowed me to train to be a retail manager/buyer. The job was in the automotive industry, but I loved the opportunities it gave me to analyze massive amounts of data every day.

By the time my late 20s rolled around, I felt restless, and several of my friends were returning to school to get the Bachelor’s degrees. This motivated me to take a lower ranking position so that I could attend the near-by university and get my degree. My extended family was supportive of this idea, we all bought into the American dream of getting a good education to get a better career. I applied for a transfer to Columbia in New York, and much to my surprise I was accepted.

I’ve been at Columbia for three years now. I am presently 24.5 credits away from graduation. In that time, I’ve also taken out over $150,000 in loans to pay for this impressive education. Additionally, I’ve racked up around $20,000 in consumer debt (a combo of credit cards and being upside-down on my car which I had to sell when I moved to Manhattan). The worst part? When I graduate I will most likely make the same amount of money as the job I had BEFORE I decided to go back to school.

What I want most now is a stable job where I can put down roots and climb the corporate ladder. I don’t want to move around from place to place. I need to make enough money to have some savings and to pay down my debt quickly. I feel like it would be difficult for me to feel comfortable marrying someone or having a child with so much debt. I know there are so many people now days in similar situations with student loans and credit card debt crushing them. This is, unfortunately, the new normal.

The reason I’ve decided to start this blog is because I was having trouble finding content from people like me. I want to write about fighting my debt. I want to write about learning to cook from scratch. I want to talk about trying to dress like a stylish adult while living on a student budget. Just because I don’t have a husband and a family doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in homemaking and building routines and traditions. I want to share my experiences with other people in similar situations. I don’t have it all together, but somehow I’m making it work and I hope that maybe that inspires others a little bit.

First Post: Laying it all out there – Ivy League and broke