The best thing about being NOT broke.

December 2, 2011 · 53 comments

Over the last seven days I’ve purchased seven round trip plane tickets, and I might be purchasing two more. Alaska Airlines has been running some crazy deals lately and we’ve been snatchin’ em up like a boss. It’s insane.

We knew when we moved to Seattle we’d be making trips back to San Diego pretty frequently. All three of Girl Ninja’s sisters live there. The oldest two are getting married and the youngest is graduating college. Between showers, graduations, and weddings, we knew we’d be dropping some serious coin on flights. We may be $1,500 poorer because of it, but are gaining “riches” in life experiences…right? That’s how I like to think of it at least.

And that my friends, is probably the best thing about being not broke. Having a little (or a lot) of cash in the bank can afford you some pretty awesome opportunities. It allows you the ability to take advantage of incredible deals when they pop up. It gives you stability in the event of an “Oh $#@!” emergency like a job loss or car crash. It gives you the freedom to experience things you may have otherwise missed out on like weddings and graduations.

There really is nothing else to be said. Financial freedom rocks my face off. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t there yet. Stay the course. Work hard. Focus on the end goal. You didn’t get in debt overnight, and you probably wont get out if it overnight. Patience and perseverance is the name of this game.

Being not broke is awesome. I hope you are either right there with me, or plan to join me soon.

On a scale of broke to loaded where do you fall? Has your financial freedom allowed you to take advantage of any incredible deals or opportunities lately!?

p.s. I’ll be in Vegas all weekend so if you don’t hear from me on Monday I either struck it rich, or am dead.

{ 53 comments }

1 Jackie Walters

Ninja,

That’s great! We’ve enjoyed not being broke as well. Just paid cash for a 10 day trip to Florida and have cash in the bank for our big trip next summer with the kids to the British Virgin Islands. That trip is expensive ($8000) but well worth it. Renting a catamaran and cruising the BVI’s for 10 days will be heavenly.

Life experiences are so well worth the price you pay if you do it with CASH.

Enjoy your travels to CA.

** Go to Korea ** It’s only 2 months and you might enjoy the food and SKYPE is a wonderful tool to use with Girl Ninja. You’re young and I believe no children yet so just GO.

Jackie.

2 Diana

I love this post! Being not broke is awesome!!

I think you made a typo though and put an extra zero in your estimate for your trips to SF. Unless you spend 15,000!! Which would be crazy…

Anyways have fun in Vegas! Hope you don’t go Hangover style and cause TOO much damage….

3 graduate.living

Broke. Real broke.

No vacations for me until I pay off over $25,000 of student loans – or a significant portion of that. With a grad student budget though, it’s not like I’m going anywhere fancy anyway. The BF and I like to think of our trips back to our hometown as mini-vacations: no schoolwork, see old friends, eat home-cooked comfort foods, etc. I may not be a beach, and I may not have a drink with an umbrella in my hand, but it’s restful nonetheless.

4 Mike

The second best part of being debt free and having money in the bank is the ability to take advantage of deals when they come around without using credit cards (the first is peace of mind and pleasant night’s sleep). We scored a deal on Groupon for our annual January family vacation at 50% to a place we were planning to go even without the Groupon.

5 Larry

“I think you made a typo though and put an extra zero in your estimate for your trips to SF.”

Or he put the comma in the wrong, place.

But you sure are one inconsistent little Ninja. Three days ago you were telling us why being financially stable kinda sucks; now you’re telling us the best thing about not being broke. Trust me, you couldn’t manage those $1,5000 (or even $1,500) plan fares if you were making sandwiches at Subway. :)

6 Larry

I mean “plane fares.” Wish there were a way to edit comments after posting them.

7 Mo D.

I loooove Vegas! It’s getting cold in Southern Ontario; dreary day outside and we’re expecting snow flurries… what I wouldn’t give to go to Vegas to see that sunny blue sky!

Having financial flaxibility sure does R-O-C-K!!!

8 Brian

I would say I’m broke, but my wife would say we are loaded. So the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Good Luck in VEGAS! I’ll be there on MLK Jr weekend for my free Vegas Weekend 2.0 (gotta love FF programs and Harrah’s for running an easy promo to earn $600 in comps for me and $600 for my wife!).

9 Deraileur

I’m on the verge of complete financial freedom. The government still has some student loans on me but it don’t faze me! It don’t!

Speaking of Vegas, I will be there too. If I see a Debt Ninja walking around with a blackout bar across his face, I’ll swing by and say hi.

10 Jeff @ Sustainable life blog

I agree with you 100% on this ninja, and I had the exact same thing happen to me this summer. After focusing on paying down my debt for 18 or so months, I expanded my cash flow greatly and from may – dec this year, i took 14 (!!!) out of state trips. Not all were by plane (about 1/2) but most of them were to visit friends celebrating something big. I went to about 5 weddings this summer, and was in a handful of them. IF I wasn’t diligent with my fiances the 18 months prior, there was no way I would have been able to attend them all.
I had a great time at every wedding/bachelor party/birthday and it was totally worth the sacrifice.

11 Jenny

I love having a cushion of money in my checking account now! I’ve kept it for almost a full year, after going 11 years with $15,000 in CC debt. Now down to $2K on the CC, a nice cushion, and I budgeted and paid cash for my vaca in Florida this summer. Plus, paying off student loans ($11K) and a car loan ($8K). Having money is AWESOME!

12 Melissa Z

Looking at current bank balances, I would say we’re not broke. But considering what I know we’ll be paying in tuition the next 5 semesters, we’re a lot closer to broke than I want to be ;)
However, being frugal for the past four years means that we can pay 3/4 of hubby’s tuition for physical therapy school without student loans. So we’re somewhere in the middle.

13 C

Let’s see. $44,000 in student loans, $700 a month in income, $20,000 in credit card debt that there’s no point in paying back, owing my grandma $2500 because of my car, and no hope for a well paid job. Also, no savings.

All in all, I’d say I’m doing pretty fantastic.

14 Larry

Geez, C, no wonder you were so ticked off on the Tips thread. Seriously, maybe you could explain a little more about your situation; who knows if some of the collective input here might not be able to give you some way out of this mess.

15 C

Well, I’m not sure really what’s to explain. I work two days a week as a cashier at walmart because the customers and management are so intolerable I’d go nuts working there any more. I have applied to other jobs without success.

As for the loans, nobody explained to me or told me how much I was borrowing. I got refund checks every semester and nobody told me that I would be better off just sending them right back where they came from. In the end, it came back to bite me in the ass.

Luckily the student loans are all federal loans, I’m consolidating them, and they’re going to be under IBR, but it still sucks.

In my last year of college I got a bunch of credit cards and ran them up. Not much else to explain there.

No idea how I’m going to pay my grandma back. Half of that came when my car’s struts went a few months ago and she paid $1300 to fix it. I didn’t know that she would be making me pay it back, especially when she knows how little I make. The rest is from when I bought the car and asked for her help. Never again.

I don’t work for tips, but as a poor person, my sympathy lies with other poor people, and people who make tips generally are. Yes, it does piss me off when well off people forget (or never knew) what it feels like to be absolutely destitute.

16 Larry

Yes, it pisses me off too, and I’m not destitute. But you have a college degree, apparently, you sound pretty bright, and you may have some skills that you aren’t using effectively. I can easily believe Walmart is a hell hole, but I hope something else turns up for you. Maybe bankruptcy is the only answer at this point to reduce some of the debt, though it won’t help you on the student loans. Please keep trying, though.

17 C

I would file but there are a few things. One, I can’t afford to pay an attorney. Two, I think it looks worse to have a judgment (I was sued two and a half years ago over one of my credit cards) and a bankruptcy. If I had filed bankruptcy earlier, I would have just had a bankruptcy. Now I would have both. I don’t know. The worst thing is that I originally only spent about $8000 on the credit cards. They’re all charged off, so paying them won’t make a difference where my credit is concerned. Now my issue is being sued. They want $1400, and I have no way of paying that. I have to keep going back to court over and over because they don’t believe that I can’t pay. It sucks. Walmart sucks, and I definitely have skills I’m not using. It’s such mindless work. I’m angry at still being stuck there after four wasted years. I don’t know what to do. At this point it seems it would have been better not to go to college. Why, if I was just going to be a cashier with 44k in debt? I wasted my time, energy, and now all that money that could have paid for something better is going to student loans…eventually, when I can get a real job. Who knows when that will be.

I know this isn’t a place to complain about my personal financial problems, but yeah. I’m financially fucked. Up shit’s creek. Completely at a loss.

18 Larry

“I know this isn’t a place to complain about my personal financial problems.”

And why not? You’re answering DN’s question, and it’s obvious you’re in a lot of pain and feeling there’s no way out. At least here you can write about yourself anonymously and maybe someone will listen and give you some hope for the future. So unless our Korea-bound host comes along and deletes all your posts (and if he does I’ll personally whup him), you say whatever’s on your mind. I for one would like to hear why you think you got off to such a bad start and what you think you’re good at. I know things look bleak right now, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

19 C

Let’s see.

Being raised by a mom who never ever had a job yet expected me to get one when I came of age (all the while raising me as someone who felt entitled to not work)…being raised in total poverty and never being taught how to manage money…being suckered into believing that I had to go to college to make something of my life when I was actually not a very good student…so many things. The credit cards, I can’t even explain why I did that. I was in a downward spiral and brokenhearted, so I used my then good credit to get all these credit cards and just started buying and buying. Now I’ve been sued. Over what was originally $350. What a slap in the face.

Just generally never being taught about money, never being told about money, never being taught to think about where money goes and how to save and prepare for the future.

Just very unlucky with everything. I guess I can’t blame my mom forever, since I’m 27. Yes, older than the DN and much more clueless about money.

I don’t know if there is a way out, or if I should just be content to have student loans for the rest of my life, just sitting there getting bigger and bigger. I really have no money to pay them. It’s horrible.

20 Nicole

“I work two days a week as a cashier at walmart because the customers and management are so intolerable I’d go nuts working there any more”

Maybe just try and suck it up for a couple of months to make enough money to get the people who are suing you off your back. Many times you’re not going to like the people you work with, or the people that come in for your products or services, but you still need to work.

Perhaps the more you’re able to chip away at your debt, the more tolerable these people will become? Good luck.

21 C

My debt has nothing to do with walmart customers being assholes, unfortunately. It’s true, I’m shooting myself in the foot right now. I just feel stuck.

My student loans are under ibr…and as for the lawsuit, I’m going to just keep putting that off until I have $700 to settle the account.

It’s not really the kind of job where I can suck it up and work there 40 hours a week. It’s horrible.

22 SWR

I really don’t know how to come out on this one.

We are still in school for about three more years, and living solely off school loans until summer 2013 at the earliest. All said and done, our school loans are going to total about $180,000. (OMG)

That said, we live in a modest apartment, share a car, eat a majority of our meals at home, and are being very conscious to limit our spending. While I’m not allowed to work in my program, my partner is, but is choosing not to so that he can finish school more quickly.

We keep our credit cards paid off, a small cushion of savings in the bank for emergencies, and have a few meager investments.

All in all, I’d say we’re broke- but being smart about it.

23 Midwest

I would say we are above average in the wealth to age ratio, at least from what I’ve read online and compared to my friends and family. Definitely blessed to have what we do. Once my wife graduates from her grad program, we should be even more comfortable in about the top 10% nationally for household income. Then comes children. Not sure I’m ready!

24 krantcents

I am booking a couple flights to Italy for next summer using frequent flier miles. We are going with friends for a cruise.

25 Matt

This is one of your better posts. Cash is really important. The more you save, the more flexibility you have and the less reliant you become on other people (lenders).

26 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

Can content be in the middle of the scale?

I like being able to attend events, grab lunch or drinks when I want too with friends and not have to worry about my budget (with reason).

27 Happy Homeowner

Not broke, but not jumping on a private jet any time soon.

I’ve come a loooong way though. C, if you’re reading this, check out my blog–I once had $1 to my name and had to move out of my apartment b/c I couldn’t pay the rent. Maybe my story will offer you a bit of inspiration. I’m with Larry–good luck & don’t give up!

Ninja, rock those trips/deals like you’re going to rock the trip to Korea. I just booked 8 days in Ireland this spring–I’m paying to take my Grandmother on her dream trip as a retirement present. Def. couldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t kicked my own a$$ into gear a few years ago and got my finances on a better foundation!

28 C

Thank you.

I remember reading this blog, and Ninja saying that 28,000 was a big, scary number. Mine is even bigger and scarier. Almost 20,000 more than he had, and I have no real job. : (

I guess my net worth would be negative something. lol.

29 The Happy Homeowner

4 years ago my net worth was almost negative $30K. Now it’s positive $94K and that change happened 100% on my own (no spouse, family, outside help). I had just over $14K in credit card debt, $26K in student loans, $8K in car loans, etc, etc, etc. I had about $25 in the bank. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. But somehow, some way, something clicked. I took my head out of the sand, picked up 3-4 silly side jobs, and worked my butt off to dig my way out. I found a part-time job that provided all living expenses (yes, they exist!), and I know that’s really the reason that I was able to jump-start my sound financial habits. All of this when I was 25-26….

Sorry to jack the comment thread on something unrelated, Ninja. Just want to put it out there to anyone who’s reading this, including C: it CAN be done. Maybe not as quickly as I did it, but there is almost always some way to figure it out, even if it’s hard and takes a long time.

30 C

What was the job that provided living expenses? Other than teaching English in Korea, I don’t really want to do that.

31 Financial Uproar

I’m confused. I thought being financially stable kind of sucked.

32 Larry

I know. That was three days ago. I teased DN about that already at the top of this thread.

33 Ninja

Fiancial stability, double edged sword.

34 Larry

Perhaps so, but one side of that sword is considerably sharper than the other. After all that C has written here, do you really think financial stability still “sucks”?

35 Kristin

Interesting question. I just had a surprise interview with someone from the census department, mostly about medical stuff. For once in my life, I was spontaneously organized enough to answer all of her questions about income, benefits premiums, and how many times I saw a doctor in the last year – just pulled out the folder with all the info or looked it up on Mint. One of her questions was, how confident are you that you could pay a large emergency medical bill? With insurance, I have a large enough emergency fund that I think I’d be OK with anything that ended up beyond that and the world wouldn’t end. But there’s specialists that I should probably be seeing that I haven’t been, partially because of the cost.

Compare me to the median net worth of my age cohort (20-35: somewhere around +$3500), or my fellow grad students, and I look good and loaded. But I spend like I’m (almost) broke – my splurges, when they occur, are premeditated and budgeted for since I have a lot of savings goals.

36 StackingCash

A great goal to have, financial stability. Freedom to do what you want when you want. However, as you said before it is double edged because you better have other goals to keep yourself focused. I think that is my problem right now, I’m lacking short term goals and my long term goals are way outta sight.

C, Ninja had a great quote for you “Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t there yet. Stay the course. Work hard. Focus on the end goal. You didn’t get in debt overnight, and you probably wont get out if it overnight. Patience and perseverance is the name of this game.” Trust me I can totally understand where you are comming from after reading your posts. Especially when the wealthy are flaunting themselves on TV or just driving some ridiculously expensive car right by your clunker. I grew up poor, but my parents worked hard to provide for me. I went to school but was a bad student too. I got extremely lucky and got a decent job. I also was lucky that I was disciplined enough not to get into any serious debt. Yes, I do believe luck plays a major role in life because I could have easily been in your position and you in mine. However, you should do your best to make your own luck by fighting for your life to get out of the hole you are in. Sometimes hard work actually pays off. Good luck C! ;)

37 Therm

There’s NO way I could see C’s comment and not say anything. First off, this was a good post ninja. And I can completely understand your “Kinda Sucked” post as well as this one. Must look at situations from all angles. By the way, forgive me in advance for the long-windism.

These will be out of order, so forgive the lack of a good timeline of events.

C, I understand your situation. I understand how you’re feeling. I’ll try to sum up where I’ve come from to give you some insight. I grew up broke, in the hood. My parents knew nothing about money and neither did everyone else around me. My pops was able to save some money and buy us a house, but I never knew how significant that was because he never taught me. Had no money for college, went to the army. Great experience, taught me a lot. An officer once handed me Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I read it and had my first knowledge of money. At this point I’d already ran up credit card debt and paid it back down with a snowball. Well after I left the army, real life hit. I ran up credit card debt to the point where I filed for bankruptcy in 2005. Didn’t help because I went right back out and bought a car that came with a 450 dollar monthly payment. I called the dealership trying to give it back a month later when I couldn’t make the first payment. I opened new credit cards with 300 dollar limits that I eventually ended up owing 900 dollars on somehow. My credit is currently filled mostly with charge-offs. I’ve totaled two cars, had another repo’d, cosigned a car for my mother that SHE got repo’d and had two at fault accidents. I got used to living with an eviction notice on my apartment door for most of my adult life, I got the electricity cut off while rooming with my brother, cable was cut numerous times also. From 2004 to 2010 I had an average of 5 payday loans rotating (this was the single biggest downfall of my financial life). I borrowed to pay off other payday loans repeatedly. It was THE WORST experience of MY LIFE. The calls, the stress, the anxiety. It was CRAZY. I was writing bad checks, at my worst I had about 3000 in over draft charges in a year. The payday loans were taking my money before I could even touch it. I’ve been sued multiple times. As I mentioned, I joined the army, so I had access to the GI Bill. Yet somehow, attending a community college for less than two years earned me a 15K balance with Ed financial and a 13K balance with Nelnet. The VA rep constantly reminded me to “only borrow what I needed”. I didn’t listen.
It wasn’t until the end of last year that I decided that I was going to change the way I thought about money and the way I behaved. There’s light at the end of the tunnel man. I’ve had the most horrible financial situation ever (along with some major negative life events). I’ve been slowly paying down my debt and have a plan in order. Even though I’m still in mounds of debt, life is better because there’s a plan. I hoped this helped somehow. I know where you’re at and how you’re feeling. Something like this would’ve helped me when I was in your situation. Good luck.

38 Matt, Tao of Unfear

Certainly not financially free. I have a modest savings, but I’m also unemployed, so I’m stretching that savings to last me as long as I need it to. *crosses fingers*

39 Annabelle

For “C” re your comments….”As for the loans, nobody explained to me or told me how much I was borrowing. I got refund checks every semester and nobody told me that I would be better off just sending them right back where they came from. In the end, it came back to bite me in the ass.”

“Just generally never being taught about money, never being told about money, never being taught to think about where money goes and how to save and prepare for the future. Just very unlucky with everything. I guess I can’t blame my mom forever, since I’m 27. Yes, older than the DN and much more clueless about money”.
“No idea how I’m going to pay my grandma back. Half of that came when my car’s struts went a few months ago and she paid $1300 to fix it. I didn’t know that she would be making me pay it back, especially when she knows how little I make. The rest is from when I bought the car and asked for her help. Never again”

DId you ever ask all the questions about the student loans to find out what your financial responsibility would be at the end of the day? We all need to be smart consumers and ASK the qusetions and we can’t blame anyone else when we don’t! I’m so tired of people saying “but I didn’t know…no one told me”…you’re smart enough to go to college, you’re smart enough to ask questions and you’re certainly smart enough to read some financial books to teach you want you need to know. You certainly can’t blame your mom forever and what made you think that you wouldn’t have to pay your Grandma back?? Unless she’s independently wealthy, she probably needs your money more than you do! ! With a college degree/diploma you are definitely underemployed. Even if you think working at Walmart is horrible, you need to suck it up and get more hours there until you’re able to find yourself a better job. No one with that much debt can afford to work only 2 days a week. Quit whining and blaming your mom and your grandma for you bad financial decisions (like the credit cards you got as a student) and get yourself out of it!

We’ve all made bad financial decisions – I myself had $36000 in stupid debt a few years ago and through lots of hard work it’s almost paid off….I didn’t learn much about money from my parents either, but I also didn’t blame them that I didn’t learn about finances from them. My financial issues were all my own fault. It’s taken me a long time to become financially smart but it can be done! I won’t apologise for my comments because I think they’re what C needs to hear.

40 Em

Well said!!! I understand that C is in a stressful situation, but it seems like he/she is drowning in self-pity, rather than taking self-control over the situation.

In regards to working at Walmart, C wrote “I work two days a week as a cashier at walmart because the customers and management are so intolerable I’d go nuts working there any more.” I’m not sure if this is the case, but it seems to imply that you COULD work more, but is choosing not to because the work situation is undesirable. There are 24 hours to a day, and if you are young, healthy, and without other responsibilities such as child-rearing, then you should be able to accomplish a lot – you can work at Walmart AND temp jobs AND other part time jobs (it is the holiday season afterall) and spend the rest of your time searching for a better job. There are also things you can do to minimize your expenses. For instance, if you live in a place with public transportation (even if not the most reliable), you can sell your car and get a bike. If there are absolutely no jobs in your area and you have no dependents, then move.

There could be so many situations that are out of our control that can destroy our finances, such as having a very expensive medical condition, having to become a full-time care taker for a family member, being unable to work, having your house destroyed by natural forces, etc. Half of my pay goes to supporting my family’s medical expenses and it’s been like that for several years already. But I have reworked my life so that I don’t have debt so far (keeping fingers crossed). I also work 80 hours a week. I am sure if i worked “smarter” I would have to work less, but that’s another story.

But since C did go into detail about how she/he got into debt and didn’t mention any uncontrollable situations, I’m going to assume that C isn’t dealing with any longterm or short term catastrophic circumstances, so he/she can make changes to his/her life. But C, if you are, then I apologize and wish you the best.

41 C

I just feel paralyzed, honestly. You’re right. I could work a lot more, and I want to, but I can’t do that at my current job. I’m desperate to find something that’s not totally mindless and that pays decently so I can start cleaning this mess up.

I’m so grateful I don’t have kids, or a mortgage, or a huge car payment, though my car will probably die soon.

I just feel like a fool, honestly. So stupid and so preventable, all this debt. But in all fairness, at 18, if nobody tells you anything, you aren’t going to make wise decisions. The bad thing is that I did it at 20, 23, and 26. That’s what my mistake was…continuing until I was 42k in debt. I don’t know what I was thinking. And as an extra slap in the face, it’s just an undergraduate degree in a not that marketable major from a not that great state school. *sigh*

42 C

My grandma actually does well. She has a lot of money. It’s not classy to go on much about that but I will say she is more than comfortable, especially since selling a valuable property for a nice chunk of change.

She overidentifies with me because I’m the oldest sibling and a girl, just like she was…so she wants me to be strong and get myself out of messes like this. I guess it’s her form of tough love. She most certainly does not need the money but she’s trying to teach me a lesson, a lesson that really fucking sucks may I add!

She isn’t demanding payment any time soon, but I feel so shitty not being able to pay her back. When I can afford it, I want to pay her something each month until it’s gone. In my defense, i have given her $250, but I know that doesn’t mean jack.

You’re right, mostly, but nothing is that easy or simple. What I don’t understand is why colleges let students borrow more than they need to pay for tuition, let alone issue refund checks. I wish they had just taken it and applied it to my next semester’s tuition. *sigh* : (

43 StackingCash

Most colleges just want your money, or the banks, at any cost. Reminds me of home builders, banks, realtors, etc. during the housing boom. Colleges have to pay big bucks to their deans and professors, so they really need all that easy money from student loans.

44 C

I think what might hurt more than owing all this money and seeing no way out is that my grandma is ashamed of me, and she’s not proud of me. With my job and all this debt, I can’t see how she would be proud of me and that hurts a lot.

45 C

Sorry to keep replying but I also want to say that she pays my sister’s rent, bought my sister a car and paid my sister’s vet bills, food and other expenses and never asked my sister to pay back one dime. So I feel very bitter about that too.

My sister also went to a better school and owes like half what I do.

46 Larry

C writes: “But in all fairness, at 18, if nobody tells you anything, you aren’t going to make wise decisions.” OK, but now you’re – what, 26? – and people are telling you things. Annabelle and Em are largely right, and I think you know it. You can’t keep blaming Mom and Grandma and Younger Sister and Walmart and the College forever; the only thing to ask right now is what can you do to get yourself out of this? And if Walmart won’t give you more hours, you need to find comparable part-time work that will increase your income. I don’t care if it’s Target, K-Mart, the grocery store, McDonald’s – unfortunately as things stand, beggars can’t be choosers, and there are a lot of people in this world who work multiple part-time jobs at low wages because they have no other options and no one to help support them. In your case, it would be better than just moping around the house five days a week and feeling useless, which just adds to your depression. But if you work 4-5 days week, that will double your income and you can retire this debt in 5-6 years.

You write also: “it’s just an undergraduate degree in a not that marketable major from a not that great state school,” and “I definitely have skills I’m not using.” Yet after 7 or 8 posts, not once have you said what you majored in or what skills you think you have. So you made some financial mistakes. Who hasn’t? The very fact that you’re writing all this here indicates that one part of you is looking for a way out. But you’ve got to listen to what’s being said to you, and to accept that it’s probably going to be a hard road for the foreseeable future.

47 C

*sigh*

I’m embarrassed, but here goes.

I majored in Comparative Literature. Skills…um…typing. Maybe proofreading. I could probably get an office job. I’m so sick of being a cashier. It’s so, so beneath me, it really is. I’m better than this crap.

I have a lot of skills, but having never had a real job, I have no idea what people are looking for.

48 Annabelle

For C – enough with the self pity and the whining! Get your act together, get yourself as many hours as you can, take another job even if it too is “so, so beneath me” and get on with your life!! Maye Grandma is trying to teach you a lesson that you need to be more responsible….and how do you know that she hasn’t asked your sister to pay her back? Unless you’re privy to each and every conversation they’ve had about it, you don’t know. “I think what might hurt more than owing all this money and seeing no way out is that my grandma is ashamed of me, and she’s not proud of me. With my job and all this debt, I can’t see how she would be proud of me and that hurts a lot.”…and has Grandma ever said that’s she’s ashamed of you because of your debt? If not, then don’t automatically assume that she is.

“What I don’t understand is why colleges let students borrow more than they need to pay for tuition, let alone issue refund checks. I wish they had just taken it and applied it to my next semester’s tuition.” You’re kidding with this comment right??? You knew that you had tuition costs for the following year, why couldn’t you have applied it to your next semesters tuition?? Stop making excuses that “I didn’t know” or “no one told me”…they wear out very quickly! If you don’t know what employers want, START ASKING QUESTIONS!

49 C

The problem is that when a job is too shitty, I mentally can’t take very much of it, which is exactly where I am now.

Anyone want to be a cashier at walmart? How many people reading this blog want my job? Come on, think. It’s mentally draining and doesn’t pay for the shit I have to put up with.

I need a different job, and then I can start chipping away at the debt. I need a job that doesn’t feel like torture. That’s not too much to ask.

And I know my sister hasn’t been made to pay anything back because my sister would have whined and bitched about it. It’s literally in the tens of thousands of dollars now, my sister would have said something.

50 Em

No one WANTS to be a cashier at Walmart………but only IF they had the choice of another job that is better.

But if I had debt and it was the best possible solution right now and I have nothing else lined up? You bet I would jump on as many hours as I could possibly take. With a college degree, I could probably even try to move on up as supervisor or manager within Walmart.

Many of us have worked these low-end jobs for years, some of us even do it on top of a “real” job, just to make ends meet in the short term.

There are millions of people that would love to trade places with you. I know someone who has been sick for years with a mystery illness and she would give anything just to have the ability to work, even at a very very shitty job. There are tons of people who work 2-3 shitty jobs at once so that they can make ends meet. You have no idea what “torture” is.

Many of these comments posted here are trying to help you, but you are deliberately ignoring the advice and making up excuses instead. I don’t know what you want from us. So what if you wouldn’t even clear 15k of debt? At least you would have cleared SOME debt, instead of incurring more debt by trying to live off of $700/month. You have to start somewhere.

The problem isn’t that you have a shitty job, it isn’t that you made some mistakes, it isn’t that you were financially uneducated, it isn’t that you chose an “unmarketable major”. The problem is your attitude and your unwillingness to take the action needed to change your current situation.

51 C

I’m not incurring any more debt, unless you mean the interest building up on my student loans, which luckily will be very reasonable for the next 3 years under IBR.

I get what you’re saying. But for me, the best solution is to find a better job and work my butt off to pay off these loans. More hours at walmart just isn’t going to work. I do have depression and anxiety and my job makes it much worse. I could not handle it. I’m sure it sounds like excuses to you, but it really is absolutely unbearable. I can’t even put how much into words. I also have a college degree. Someone with a college degree can do better.

52 C

Not to mention, a job that pays properly. Even working at walmart full time, I wouldn’t even clear 15k a year. Horrifying, right?

53 Larry

C: I’m thinking of a college classmate of mine who took a BA in English and a PhD in comp lit, and later became editor of the Washington Post Book World. What’s happening is that a pattern is emerging here – on the one hand you feel ashamed of your background; on the other you feel the work you’re doing is beneath you. Reality check: no job is “beneath” any one. Further reality check: no major is “worthless.” I myself have a BA, MA, and PhD in English literature, and after teaching for seven years at the college level (I lost a close tenure decision), I’ve been working in the business world full-time since 1986, except for only one six month period when I lost my job in 1991.

My advice for you stands: for the short term, get whatever additional work you can, no matter if it’s Walmart, Target, K-Mart, whatever. You have too much debt and too much time on your hands not to be working more. For the longer term, if you haven’t done so already, get in touch with your college placement office, with every professor from your department, with every classmate in your major you used to know, and ask for their advice or help. College departments want to see their majors succeed, because that becomes a marketing tool for them to attract more majors. Google every possible combination of “jobs for humanities majors,” “jobs for comp lit majors,” etc. Look for any online forums where you can talk with people in similar situations. Contact the Modern Language Association in New York and ask for information. If you have a foreign language, look into the US State Department.

Ninety percent of these leads probably won’t go anywhere, but you have to keep trying. And do have a talk with Grandma to understand the reasoning behind her apparent favoritism.

That’s all I can do for you. I wish you good luck, but you must get beyond the self-pity and your own “whining and bitching.”

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