These next two months will be strange ones, because while I have a lot of solid, short-term savings goals, I’m also at the very end of my college career, so my focus has split a bit from “earning money” and is more on “earning my degree”. The money goals I want to accomplish before graduation are more complicated than the ones I hope to accomplish post-grad, because these ones are coming from a place of less resources. I’m not working full-time yet, and although I’ve cobbled together enough money to survive comfortably during my time at school, I now am going to have to tighten up even more to reach the goals I want to reach before I get that little piece of paper and start my Certified Adult Life (with a whole new list of money goals). These four things are goals that I hope to reach before graduation, so I can get them off my plate and “start fresh” once I graduate with new goals. (Except for number four — number for is kind of a forever thing.)
1. Saving for a move.
We live in a nice little apartment, but soon after I moved in, we found one that is just a little bigger, and in a much better location. Bonus: the rent is actually a little lower than what we’re paying now. However, we will obviously need to pay other moving expenses, like security deposits, possibly new furniture that fits better in our new place, etc. I’ve never actually had to pay for expenses like this before, since my boyfriend already lived here when I moved in — all I had to do was start paying rent. I realized recently that I keep thinking “we’re moving to a place with lower rent, which means we will be saving money!” and totally forgetting about the fact that we’ll need to pay a good chunk up-front to actually move in. Additionally, it seems the place we’re moving to is going to be pet-friendly, which leads me to point two:
2. Saving for a dog.
I’ve never lived without a dog in my life until I moved in with Drew, so it is a top priority for both of us to get one as soon as possible. We’re calling it my “graduation present”, but we really just happen to probably be getting it in June because that’s when we will be moving to our new place. However cute and cuddly, dogs are definitely an expense –- one that we’re going to need to start saving and budgeting for as soon as possible.
The dog itself will cost at least a couple hundred in adoption fees, then we’ll have to worry about initial vet and vaccination fees before we even begin worrying about the month-to-month recurring expenses of caring for a little pupper. It is overwhelming enough for me to actually want to put it off a little longer –- and we might, if we crunch the numbers and realize we haven’t saved enough to justify the expense –- but I really hope we can pull it off.
3. Paying off my car completely.
Not long after graduation, I will have to start paying back my student loan again. Although I only have a small loan, and I already know the monthly payment won’t be too high, I’m a little nervous about having that payment on top of bills I already have.
I financed a small portion of the car I bought two years ago, and only have a tiny bit left to pay off. I hope to throw a lot of money at it right away and pay it off as soon as possible, so that one monthly bill can get eliminated as soon as my student loan goes into repayment and I have to add that bill on.
4. Actually growing my savings account again.
Okay, well, I’d love to accomplish this one in the two months before graduation, but this might very well be carried over to a “post-grad” goal.
When I moved out of my parents’ house in December, I realized that my financial situation would quickly change. I do fine, and I’m certainly breaking even each month – but my bank account definitely hasn’t seen any huge growth. That is fine, and I’m not necessarily going into huge debt any time soon, but saving has always been a top priority for me, and I don’t like that it is on the back burner right now. It is important to me, above a lot of other things right now, to save for the parts of the future that will inevitably cost money (like moving to a bigger place, someday buying a house, maybe getting married, possibly having a family — oh god why am I thinking about this all right now, send help). When I was living home, I wasn’t paying rent, and was therefore able to stick a sizable chunk of money into my savings account each month that I would have otherwise been spending on housing. Now that I’m adjusting more to my responsibilities as an adult human who lives without her parents, I’m finding myself slowly better able to manage my new-money-normal. Additionally, I will (god-willing) start working a lot more post-graduation, which means I’ll considerably less cash-strapped. When that happens, rather than increasing my quality of life, I want to put the “extra” straight into paying off my small loan as quickly as possible, and into my savings account. We live in a small apartment, we can’t afford a lot of super nice things, and I budget like hell to make sure we spend too much per month on groceries. But we are happy and safe and comfortable, and a lifestyle upgrade simply isn’t as important to me right now as saving for the future. I keep going back to this article, which I read every time I get bummed that I can’t have extravagant things I want right now, and it makes me excited for the future. Hearing “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all right now” reminded me that if I keep working and saving and not getting too distracted, I’ll be able to enjoy the lifestyle I want at some point –- sooner rather than later if I dig myself out of student debt and build a cushy savings account early on.
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