When I realized that I was not going to grad school immediately after undergrad I came up with some financial goals for my year off:
- Pay at least the minimum amount on my student loans and avoid deferment until graduate school starts. I have both government (subsidized and unsubsidized) and private bank loans. Most of my loans have accrued interest since I have taken them out and will continue to rack on interest until they are paid off. So if I managed to pay off a bit now, it would result in a lower total repayment during the life of the loan.
- Have a relocation fund and funds to cover bills the first month of graduate schools. Luckily I have managed to stay out of credit card debt and I hope to keep it that way. The diciest time I saw financially was was going to be the beginning of graduate school. I would possibly have to move, which would require transporting stuff, maybe buying new stuff, and probably providing a security deposit for an apartment. I don’t know for sure how stipends work at various places, but I am assuming that I would go for at least a month without it. So I didn’t want to be stuck with a lot of bills and no income.
- Have a small emergency fund. Kind of obvious to why I want one, but again I want to avoid credit card debt.
So how am I doing? Awful. Well, it started out ok but has recently tanked. Because I overestimated the costs of my last year in college, I had some left over student loan money. In addition to that I had a job from April to September. It was crappy pay, but it was still some income. I also started tutoring a couple of hours a week, which brought in about $60. Since I didn’t have anything stable or permanent (I don’t count the tutoring as stable), I lived pretty frugally (read: had no life and ate a lot of ramen). Fortunately, that left me some money to live off of, apply to graduate schools, and pay the minimum amount on my student loans. At least it did until now.
At the moment, I’m pretty broke. I’m scrambling right now to get a job to pay for things. I have yet to create a moving fund or an emergency fund. At this point, even if I had them I would have to use it to pay for current bills. I am applying to everything I can think of, but because the midwest was hit pretty hard the last couple of years, there isn’t a lot out there. Seriously, Starbucks won’t even hire me. Luckily I have some people who love me who are willing to help for a little while, but I don’t want to be a burden to them.
So the game plan right now is to continue to look for jobs where I live now and around my hometown, and I’m not going to be picky. I am also hoping to see some postings for seasonal or temporary jobs soon. Maybe I can get a field job for the summer. That would bring in some money, and add to my CV (which would be really important if I have to reapply to school next year). Wish me luck!