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Savings Update: Last Day of School Edition

Today is my last day of college… assuming my presentation tonight goes well (which it will!). You would think I would feel… elated? Scared? Hopeful? Hopeless? Helpless?

I don’t feel much of anything, really. Maybe I’ve become jaded by years of final exams – being on the “quarter system” instead of the semester system means I had 50% more “finals weeks” than my friends from high school. You get pretty used to the drill – presentations and multiple choice exams, or, as it was when I was in film school, endless screenings of films.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a brand new day! My first day as a graduate! Except I don’t walk the stage to get my diploma until May, and job applications and cover letters just feel like more homework. Nothing feels like it’s changing, because changes are more gradual than that. Like graduating from high school: nothing really changed then until my mom and my sister put the last box in my dorm room at the end of the summer, and said “See ya!”

So maybe it won’t feel different until I start a job, or move. But regardless of what it feels like, things are different. My student loans have come due, and I can only be a mooch for housing for so much longer (Thanks Mom! Please don’t kick me out yet.). And my savings goals? Those have to change with me.

The Old Savings Snowball

Here’s what my savings snowball looked like the last time we checked in:

Name Goal Total Progress Monthly Payment
Getting Established $2,000 $1066 All extra $$
Emergency Fund $10,000 $425 $10
Future Car Fund $10,000 $55 $10
Retirement Infinite $36 $5
Student Loan Interest $500 $68 $60

Remember, the idea is that I pay the monthly payment on every goal except the top one. For the top one, I throw as much money at it as I can, so that I can achieve it as soon as possible.

What’s Gotta Change?

Getting Established Fund: It doesn’t make any sense to contribute to this anymore, because it’s time to start drawing from it. I’ve officially entered the Getting Established period. I don’t intend to spend the money all willy-nilly, but it’s there to get me on my feet now. Basically, I’ll pay for what I can out of pocket, and if I need more money each month, I’ll draw it from this fund, first.

Emergency Fund: It’s a little bigger now! Is $10,000 an insane goal for this? Kinda – but it’s a long term goal. Right now I’m just happy that there’s anything in there at all!

Future Car Fund: My current car is still running fine, thank you very much. Although it seems like I’ll be needing new tires in the near future, the rest of the car is just dandy. Passed inspection not too long ago, actually.

Retirement: Ah yes, my teeny tiny fund. No plans to up the contribution to this until I, you know, get a job.

Student Loan Interest: Dead! I’ve paid everything in the fund to my loans, again. Now some of my loans are going to enter repayment, so I won’t be saving money up for them anymore, I’ll just be, you know, paying them.

So, two categories gone off the list – is it time to add a new goal?

Yes! Last week, I was asked to be a part of my brother’s wedding party, and it’s probably going to cost me more than a pretty penny. I don’t have solid numbers yet, but I do know the wedding will be around October of 2010 and it’s a destination wedding. So, it will be my Bro’s Wedding/Travel Fund all wrapped up in one. I’m estimating I’ll need to save at least $150/month for that. I’ll adjust that number as plans become more solid.

New Snowball!

Name Goal Total Progress Monthly Payment
Bro’s Wedding ? $0 All extra $$
Emergency Fund $10,000 $514 $10
Future Car Fund $10,000 $76 $10
Retirement Infinite $47 $5

I considered “upping” my contributions to my Emergency Fund, but that doesn’t make much sense if I’m drawing money out of my GE fund, now does it? It’s just shifting money around at that point, and may cause me to have to draw from my Emergency Fund, as well. I’ll reevaluate contributions when I have… that thing… what’s it called again? Oh, a “job.”

11 responses to “Savings Update: Last Day of School Edition”

  1. the weakonomist

    I suggest you up your contributions to your emergency fund. It is the most important part of any personal finance strategy. If you don’t have the cash to take care of unforeseen problems, all your other goals will feel far away.

    Congratulations on graduating! It wasn’t too long ago I was doing the exact same thing. School burned me out, but in retrospect, I really learned a lot and loved the entire process!

    Way to go!

  2. Jessica

    Just wanted to cheer you on your snowbally way. I think it’s a GREAT idea, only it somehow never ends up working for me. I think I need to quit with the CC so that I have extra money at the end of the week.

    Was 1066 the total that you ended up having in your GE fund or did it grow more than that. I know that when I was moving out that I went through my GE so quickly and I didn’t end up buying a couch, table or computer chair. Thankfully I ended up with an unexpected windfall and money well spent on my apt 🙂 Email me and I’ll share pictures 🙂

  3. Les@spillingbuckets

    Hey, Congrats! The quarter system isn’t easy, its the same amount of work in 2/3 the time.

    Are you actually going to walk in May or just get mailed the diploma?

  4. Roger

    Congratulations! It’s a tough road, at times, but it’s very satisfying when you are able to graduate. Good luck with your new snowball; hopefully, your brother’s wedding won’t be that expensive, and you’ll be able to start putting money to the rest of your snowball soon.

  5. studenomics

    Congrats on the graduation! You are making me jealous because I still have another year left. Or maybe even longer it depends on if I decided to take a year off to do an internship.

  6. 2.26.09 Featured blogs of the day – Student Bloggers

    […] A student financial blogger assesses her economic state as college ends and the “real world,” with student loan payments and job hunting, begins. [Poorer Than You] […]

  7. Eric

    Congrats! I am sure a girl as bright as you will do just fine. I found my first job about 2 months out of school at a bank.

    I would encourage you to pay off those student loans as fast as you can now that they have entered re-payment. I pay $150 per month to mine and they are not even in repayment yet.

  8. J. Money

    Oh man, soooo exciting getting out of college! Congrats 🙂 Just hope you don’t wanna get back in again after a year like i did! haha….man i miss it.

  9. Cory

    Sounds scary. I’ve been going to a community college on and off for like 3 years (instead of high school), I’ve finished my first year for my AA and am just this quarter getting my first student loan so budgeting and financing is becoming a serious part of my life now that I’m literally putting my financial stability on the line for an education.

    [I decided to do it since I went 2 quarters w/ a 3.5+ average, last quarter I got a 3.85 avg. so now its time to be a responsible adult].

    This site is motivation for me to find out how to budget myself and to stick to it.

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