Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Well it's day one, so I think it's best to start off with some introductions.
For the sake of anonymity (and because I can) you can call me Marlee. I'm a college student, pursuing my Master's in Counseling, as well as finishing my Bachelor's in Nutrition. I take at least 12 credits or more a semester, as well as work 40 hours a week.
I live with my boyfriend, who's an assistant baseball coach with a monthly income of roughly $1,000 (can anyone say, sugardaddy?) and a roommate. I own 4 cats thanks to a stint of volunteering at the local animal shelter where I couldn't handle the thought of them being euthanized, so they ended up coming home with me permanently. Needless to say I lasted there for about a month.
My monthly bills (groceries, utilities, gas, etc) come to about $825. My monthly income? About $1,200. Any extra gets saved for school (which is an average of $5,000 per semester, not including textbooks).
And I'm broke.
Beyond broke, really. I budget my income to the exact dollar, and I have to say; it's depressing. Since increasing my income is not really an option (graduate students don't qualify for grants, so it's student loans, scholarships, or nothing at this point), I have decided I have no choice but to decrease the amount of money I spend each month. And before you even think it, just know that Mommy and Daddy have never lent me a cent. Even the idea of asking makes my blood curdle.
So some goals of mine?
I have quite a few semesters left to finish, and I'm done taking out student loans. I'm studying to be a nutritional counselor for crying out loud, and last time I checked nutritional counselors didn't make the amount of money that allows them to pay back student loans equivalent to those doctor's and lawyers owe.
I need to find a way to pay for textbooks, juggle class, labs, work, and (hopefully) play without resorting to signing my life away to yet another loan. No interest while you're in school? Fantastic! And when I'm done? Ha! Lets just say banks salivate at the sight of my graduation date.
As I said, I am also a nutrition major, working on becoming a registered dietitian. Therefore, the classic "Just cut coupons!" line just isn't going to cut it. I know I can probably wrangle up a crateful of ramen noodles at $0.14 /crate, but the fact is I'm not willing to eat like that.
So you guessed it, I want to eat real food, on a budget. I want fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, healthy dairy, lean meats and whole grains...all of it. Yes I'm broke, but someday when I'm inevitably homeless and doing magic tricks on the street corner, someone is going to say to me, "Well at least you've got your health," and I want to be able to agree with them.
Oh yes, we are going for full-on delusional here. I mean come on, I'm 26, a girl, and a sucker for a great pair of sky-high heels.I don't need designer, just something that doesn't look like I'm still wearing hand-me-downs from some long lost Aunt.
For example, two weeks ago I found the cutest little bird necklace online at Forever21 for $1.50. That's right, $1.50. Free shipping. That's what I'm talkin' about!
I know this should probably be higher on the list, so we'll pretend this list isn't yet prioritized (eating and shopping at a higher priority than saving? Nah....). But the fact is, someday my car ('93 Plymouth Duster, with partially working parts), is going to go to the special farm where Dodsons and Gremlins race through open fields, and I'm going to need some other form of transportation. Not to mention all those other things like health insurance, owning a home one day, or hell maybe I want to try sushi before I die.
Anyway, I need to save a little something every month, and I've got to figure out a way to do it.
So this will be my diary. My crude attempt to find some ways to save money in my current situation.
Comments are appreciated!