settling in for the long haul

As I look forward to the end of my student loan debt, I’m kind of relieved, but also kind of intimidated. I think that years ago when I imagined being out of school, with the loan paid off, and employed, I was also imagining feeling less broke — like I could travel without guilt, for example.

Well, nope.

The thing is, I MUST get serious about remedying years worth of not saving. I’ve committed, beginning in July, to sending 25% of my pre-tax income to a 401(k) and any and all “extra” income to a Roth IRA. This is a rate far above what most people recommend, but what else can I do? I’m not getting any younger, and that’s not even going to get close to maxing out for the year, anyway.

On top of that, I need to put something aside every month in a housing fund (maybe a down payment, maybe just a future security deposit); in a car-replacement fund because I’ll likely need a car within the next 5 years, given the age of mine, and I’d want a decent down payment at least; in a medical-emergencies fund. I need some new clothing pretty soon and I’d like to have the money for that put away rather than have to have everything on the credit cards.

The reason why I’m sounding glum rather than excited about this is that I just decided I can’t go to a friend’s wedding this summer. It’s on the opposite coast, and a round trip flight is over $500, plus lodging and assorted other (transportation from the airport, probably some meals out, etc.) And the friend isn’t a close one; a college friend I always liked and would love to see get married, but I just think I can’t justify the cost of it.

It’s bumming me out though because I wasn’t thinking I’d be more income-restricted as an employed person than as a grad student. When you want/need to route basically all your income to savings, though…. I think there’s just not going to be much extra for a while. Maybe a long while. And it’s kind of a downer.

4 thoughts on “settling in for the long haul

  1. It is frustrating when you’re in debt paying mode and you have to forgo an event because it doesn’t balance financially. Once you start to see your 401K climb you won’t feel as glum, I promise. Stay strong and don’t give up!

    1. The thought of the 401(k) is enticing! I can’t wait to start seeing money held out of my paycheck for that instead of directly to the student loan company!

      Thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it.

  2. Zoe Tucker says:

    First off, awesome blog! I’ll definitely be following your journey. I feel the same way about “wasn’t adult life supposed to be financially easier than grad school?!” comment. I lived on $1000 a month in grad school and never really worried about money. But now more than half of my paycheck disappears to five kinds of insurances, debts we have, plus 401k plans and IRAs. We also did a 15 year mortgage which doesn’t leave us much wiggle room at the end of the month. We have a great net worth as a result, but never have any spare cash and it’s hard to chip away at the debts. It’s super frustrating. But anyways, I’m whining. Best of luck as you move towards your goals, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading all of your earlier posts. ~Zoe at

    1. Thank you for reading! I look forward to checking yours out as well. I am really kind of bummed about the toll fiscal responsibility is going to take on my lifestyle! I hope some it will pay off in the future, though. Good luck to you too and let’s keep in touch as we go — mutual support FTW.

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