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 $$|
|Future Car Fund||$10,000||$55||$10|
|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.
|Name||Goal Total||Progress||Monthly Payment|
|Bro’s Wedding||?||$0||All extra $$|
|Future Car Fund||$10,000||$76||$10|
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.”
the weakonomist says
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!
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 🙂
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?
@theweakonomist: Oh, I do plan on upping the contribution, it’s just that right now, my income is limited to my “side hustles” and freelancing. Also, my GE fund is a bit of an emergency fund. And if I have a real emergency, I have family nearby that would help me out, so I’m not worried about medical emergencies or anything like that.
@Jessica: Yes, sadly, my GE fund only reached $1068 (it earned $2 in interest!). It doesn’t make much sense to add to it now, so much as to just avoid drawing from it for as long as I can, and pay out of pocket for as much as I can. I definitely won’t be buying any furniture, either! Thankfully, I’ve got a lot of hand-me-downs.
@Les: Ugh, yes, the quarter system. I feel like I should have gotten two degrees by now! 😉 And yep, I plan on walking, but mostly because my family is all local, and they want to go to the ceremony and all that. My boyfriend is also graduating with his Masters this May, so he’ll be walking as well.
Thanks to everyone for the congrats – it’s good to be (almost) done!
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.
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.
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.
J. Money says
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.
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.
Hi Cory! Glad to hear the site is helping you. 🙂
Do not worry too much about getting a small and necessary student loan in order to help you finish getting your degree. Student loans are not inherently a bad thing. They just get bad when you take on more than you should, like I did. A great thing to do is run a student loan calculator to see what your payments will be like, and how much money you’ll need to make to comfortably afford those payments. I like this student loan calculator quite a lot: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml
Best of luck to you!