Despite being only 12 days into the new year, it’s already been quite the adventure. I had been hoping to study abroad this summer before I graduate college, accepted that that dream was dead because the money simply wasn’t there, and then woke up to an email telling me I’d been awarded a scholarship that covers almost the entire cost of the trip. So, as it would happen, I’m studying abroad this summer in the country I’m planning to concentrate on in my graduate program and PhD if I decide to continue my education even farther. The whole thing is incredibly surreal and until I’m in the plane headed toward Paris, I doubt it’s gonna feel real.
This whole situation has really shifted my finances into focus for me. Although I still have a while until I need to start paying off my student loans, I still have a lot of other expenses coming up this year and not a whole lot of money to pay for them. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, stresses me the fuck out.
I hate to even think about the cost of graduating college which includes buying a cap, gown, tassels, announcements to be mailed out, etc. Then within that same month I’m moving to a completely different state which means driving my car 500 miles, so lots of gas, as well as paying to register my car in a new state and probably a million other things I haven’t even thought of yet.
Now, I will be the first person to tell you that these things aren’t going to be nearly as painful to my bank account as they would be for most people. I’m extremely lucky to be able to fly back and forth between where I live now and where I’m moving to because my girlfriend works for an airline. I get one free carry one and one free checked bag which I can fill up and transport to her apartment so I don’t have to worry much about the financial aspect of moving that involves actually moving my stuff. However, everything else also exists.
This year I also want to spend time traveling to Puerto Rico to see my girlfriend’s family, as well as traveling to Colombia and Hawaii to explore and see some amazing friends. All of these things are cheaper for me than the average person, but that doesn’t stop me from getting anxiety about all the other spending points I know I’m gonna reach in those trips. It’s time I shut up and start saving money and paying off credit cards while I’m still in college and my life is still relative low cost.
Recently I got a free copy (thanks Amazon Prime!) of the No Spend Challenge and after reading through it I determined that straight up no spending is probably the best way to have money. It’s an obvious conclusion, but the act of actually doing it is gonna be the hard part. The book gave me some tools to use to achieve this goal, but it ultimately comes down to me to actually achieve this goal. I’ve spent some time looking at how exactly I’m going to do this, and as a visual person, I think the best method for this is creating a spread in my bullet journal.
My bullet journal is a hot mess because it’s a direct reflection of my brain at this point. Some elements are perfectly organized and thoughtful, while others are literal pages of unreadable scribbles. My game plan at this point is to create a graph of how much I owe on my credit cards and actually watch that number decline. I figure that if I get a hang of this kind of thing now, it’ll make paying off my student loan debt a lot easier when I get a better paying job.