Student Discounts

I just read this article on How to Get Student Discounts Forever on Lifehacker. It’s an interesting read.  It basically tells you where you can get discounts with your old student ID or .edu email address, but then it leaves the ‘gray area of morality’ and dives right into fraudulent, explaining ways to fake class schedules and enrollment stickers.   An interesting little article, nonetheless.

I will admit, I did use my student ID loooong after I graduated.  This was usually at movies or other events like it.  I never used my ID for anything really substantial.  I have since stopped, partly because I really don’t look like the picture anymore and partly because I feel guilty.  Plus, how ridiculous would I look if I got busted for using my old student ID when I’m no longer a student?  I’m not sure what getting busted would really look like, but in my head it’s quite the embarrassment.

I am super bummed that I didn’t realize all the great software freebie’s and/or discounts out there for college students.  Those would have come in handy!  If I ever decide to go back to school (which isn’t out of the realm of possibilities), I’m definitely taking advantage of DreamSpark!

What do you think about getting student discounts after you’re done with school?  Do you think it’s okay, a gray area of morality, or just plain wrong?  Have you used your ID for discounts after graduating?

Single Income Family

The Mister and I recently made a pretty big lifestyle change – we became a single income family. The Mister had worked at the same restaurant, doing the same thing for 6 years.  There really wasn’t any opportunity for movement (except lateral), cooking isn’t really his passion, it was physically laborious and he was getting burned out on the job.  He’d been talking about finding a new job for a while, but with an exhausting job that has erratic hours, job searching wasn’t a simple task.  So, we looked over all of our finances, bills, etc and decided we can totally make it on one income  – at least for a while.

Since The Mister can’t sit still for 2 seconds, he immediately found a part-time, temporary gig with a university doing surveys door to door.  Kind of a way to ween him off of a full-time job.

We’re ending month 2 of our single income status and so far things are going well.  There have been some hiccups, certainly.  We’re not used to co-mingling money and now the money is just together, which takes some getting used to.  We’ve switched to an envelope budgeting system to make sure we stay within budget.  We’re no longer eating meals out. We also sit down together every Sunday and menu plan for the week before we hit the grocery store together.

So far, the menu planning has been the most difficult change.  I’ve done it on and off for myself over the past 3 years but I’m pretty easy for me to deal with :)  The Mister, however, has never had to meal plan.  The first couple of weeks we did it was a shock – you mean I need to know what I want to eat AND what ingredients I need almost a week in advance?  That’s just crazy!  Now that we’ve done it a few times, we’re starting to get into the groove.

Not quite so simple!

Thankfully being a single income family won’t be too difficult, since we don’t have children.  This gives us a lot more wiggle room and discretion to change things up as we need.  We’re still putting money into savings and I’m still making sizable payments toward my student loans.   We’re getting back to the basics of what we need vs want and re-learning how to have a little self-control.

Is your family a single income family?  What helps make it work?  Any advice?

Foiled by Interest!

Blarg!  I guess the payment I made the other day was the 2nd to last payment because I didn’t take interest into consideration.  Can you imagine how disappointed I was when I logged onto my account this morning and didn’t see ‘$0 due’, but instead saw this:
loan foilAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Fine, loan company.  I’ll play your stupid little game.  They should just give me the $2.28 because that would be a nice gesture!

Soooooon, it will say ZERO.  Next week it will say ZERO.

Stay tuned!

The Last Payment!!

Well friends, I did it.  I just sent in the LAST PAYMENT on my private student loan.

I can barely believe it.

I’m so happy, I feel like doing a happy dance!

Since January 2011, I have paid off $33,123! 

What’s even more mind-blowing to me is I also had a wedding in that time!  Imagine how quickly I could have done this if the wedding hadn’t happened!

I will be so relieved once I see that $0 owed statement on that student loan.  Then it will be official.

Then, I just have another pesky $27,000 to go before I’m completely debt free :)

Scavengers

Do you know what I like about you…No…What I love about you?  You’re a scavenger. -The Mister

The Mister said this to me on Sunday, as we were walking to a church down the street.  I had seen earlier in the week that this church was having a ‘neighborhood party’ and BBQ.  The sign said FREE FOOD, which always gets my attention.

At first I thought nah, we shouldn’t go – it’s not our church and it seems wrong to show up just to get some free food.  But then, after more consideration I thought to myself: The sign says it’s a ‘neighborhood  party’ and I live in the neighborhood.  I’ve become more involved in my ‘hood in the last year and it’s a great way to get out and meet some fellow neighbors.  Plus, their big sign did invite me.  If they didn’t want me to come they wouldn’t have posted such a big sign.

So, we went.  They had some blow up castles for kids, some other games going and booths set up.  The booths showcased some of the great things this church is doing, like hosting a women’s homeless shelter 2 times per week.  We chit chatted with a couple of people and then made a b-line for the food.

They actually had it catered by a food truck, which was awesome!  The food was tasty and nobody tried to convert us or get us to join the church.  The only suggestions anyone had was to volunteer if we’re so inclined.

A couple of years ago, I would NEVER have even thought about doing this.  But, sometimes, you’ve gotta look at what’s presented to you, suck up any pride that’s getting in your way and accept the gifts that others give.  And know that there isn’t always a catch – sometimes things are done out of the goodness of others’ hearts.

 

The Free Spot

The mail boxes in my apartment building are a very special place.  Not only is this the place where I gather my mail, but it is also the place where other residents of my building discard items they no longer want.  This is why I call it ‘The Free Spot’.

The Free Spot is a truly magical place.  Sometimes people leave some really cool and useful things.  I’ve seen printers, TVs and microwaves there.  I’ve seen book shelves, dishes and other random things.  The Mister and I have done our fair share of taking from The Free Spot and we’ve also done our fair share of giving to The Free Spot too.

It seems there is an unspoken idea among the residents that if something is still useful, it’s better to discard it by the mailboxes where fellow apartment dwellers can make use of the items and not by the dumpster where it will probably end up in the hand of a hoarding dumpster diver.

Today shortly after The Mister left for work, he called me.  “There’s a huge bookshelf down here.  I’ll wait a minute if you want to come check it out cause you’d  need my help getting it up to the apartment.”  Unfortunately it was too big and we don’t actually need another bookshelf now, so we left it for someone else.

This short interaction got me thinking about some of the other things we’ve acquired over the years from the free spot.  Then, because I have some extra time on my hands, I decided to take pictures of some of the items and make a collage.

For your viewing pleasure, I present the collage of free stuff…

free spot collageWhile pretty impressive, this is by no means exhaustive.  I just can’t think of other things right now.  We’re always happy to find cardboard boxes in the free spot, as we hoard them.  Yes, we’re cardboard box hoarders.  We’ve come to accept this fact.  And it comes in handy for shipping, arts and craft projects and creating donation boxes.

I love finding free things!

If you live in an apartment building (or used to) is there a generally accepted ‘free spot’?  Do you have any qualms about taking things you find?

Latest Thrift Store Find: Hiking Clothes!

Last year, I had a $25 gift card to REI and found some sweet hiking capris on clearance.  I think I ended up spending $10 on them.  I was super excited to finally have some official hiking clothes.007Well, unfortunately a couple of weeks ago I sat on a damn log and got tree sap all over the arse of the pants!  Then later I slipped, landed on my bum and got dirt ground into the tree sap.  Needless to say I completely ruined those pants :(

I decided I wanted to get some other hiking pants to replace them, so I headed back to REI, sans gift card.  I looked through the clearance stuff with no luck.  I looked through the *gasp* regular priced stuff and wasn’t all that impressed.  I was especially unimpressed with the price tags.  Uh, I’m so not going to pay $60 for some pants I’m only going to wear hiking.  Lets face it, I’ll most likely sit in some more tree sap at some point.

While discouraged I was not defeated.  I headed off to the thrift store…

After scouring the racks, I found a pair of convertible hiking pants – the kind with the zippers on the legs to make them shorter.  I also scored a pair of Columbia hiking shorts.

As I dug deeper, I also found a light weight Columbia jacket AND a Lands End rain jacket.

Lets review -

REI wanted to charge me $60+ for ONE PAIR OF PANTS.

ARC charged me $17 for 1 pair of hiking pants, 1 pair of hiking shorts, 1 lightweight jacket and 1 rain jacket.

That’s what I call awesome.

What Does the Future Hold?

Time has flown and I’ve been MIA from this blog for almost 2 months now.  I can’t believe it’s been two months!  Boy time flies.

I think about TTSW site often and many times think to myself I really should update things.  I have this sense of obligation to the site, to you, to myself even though there really is no obligation.  I’m just a 31-year-old woman getting herself out of debt.  I started writing about my debt journey 2 years ago as a way to hold myself accountable and share some of the nifty things I was learning (like about vinegar and impulse control!).  I got a bit distracted at times, mainly with a wedding and traveling.  I was never the dedicated blogger type – I don’t make money off of it with ads, I don’t do a bunch of guest posts and I don’t line up blog posts when I have an extended absence planned.

The fact that I didn’t do some of the things I just mentioned used to give me some anxiety.  Nobody will continue reading this if I don’t keep it updated!  I’m going to lose readers!  Uh, then again, if you like what I write well enough, you’ll come back when I write something.  Plus, who am I to say this is even worth reading?

In the beginning it was really fun to keep this site updated.  I was learning new things every day, battling demons and fighting the good fight in the name of frugality.  But I think I’ve figured something out just recently -

I’ve changed.

I mean, I’ve changed in a pretty permanent way.  The person who started this blog 2 years ago is a whole different person.  In that 2 years I’ve paid off $27,000+ in debt, I’ve lost a ton of weight, I got married, I got a promotion at work – need I go on?  Life as I knew it then is over and I’m growing into my new life quite well.  I do believe much of the awesomeness I’ve experienced over the last 2 years is because I decided to take control of my debt.  Once I figured out what I was capable of and figured out that I could actually succeed at something, new doors opened up for me.

I didn’t start any of this to become a financial blogger or a financial expert (I’m still neither of those things).  I didn’t start this blog to become famous and make a bunch of money.  Hell, when I started it I wasn’t sure I’d even stick with it for more than a couple of posts – I tend to get bored easily :)

I’ve tried to figure out what’s in store for The Thrifty Social Worker.  I haven’t been compelled to post much lately because nothing I’m doing really feels novel.  I don’t feel like I’m really learning a lot right now.  I finally feel like I’ve found some balance, which is what I’ve striven for all along.  I don’t think I’m too polarized in any part of my life.   That pendulum has finally stopped and it’s hanging out in the middle.  That isn’t to say it doesn’t start swinging a little once in a while…Whenever I do start to feel unbalanced I think I’m able to reign myself back in.

To answer my own question – What does the future hold? – I have no idea!  I’m still trying to figure that out.  I can certainly still post some updates once in a while about my financial life and otherwise, but I’m not really too interesting.  I can broaden the scope of what I write about to include anything my little brain can come up with.  I can also retire TTSW and move on. I’m not really sure.

I will say this, with only a little over $5k left on my private student loan, I will absolutely keep updating the progress bars.  I want to see that at 100% paid off!

So, I’ll throw it out there.  If you’ve been reading this blog, what do you think?  Continue the sporadic posts?  Widen the net of content?  Retire it and call it a day? What should I do?!

A little update

Hiya!  How’ya been?

Life has been peachy here – just a little busy.  Since I haven’t had time to even really think about posting lately, I thought I would at least gather together a financial update.  April and May (so far) have been VERY good to me!   I have officially paid off more than 75% of my private student loan.  That means less than 1/4 of it left to pay.  I think I can say with complete confidence that this loan WILL BE PAID OFF BY THE END OF 2013!  Woohoo!

Check it…

April_May 2013

That’s right, I have around $7 Grand left and it’s done!  I then have another $27,000 to tackle the other loan, but I’ll deal with that when I get there.

Aside from paying off this loan like it’s my job, I went to Hawaii last month, which was amazing!

018

I had planned to post a bunch of pictures, but I took so many!  Perhaps another day.

I’m also about to graduate from a citizen’s police academy this week, which has been a blast.  I highly recommend anyone looking into this and participating in a local CPA.  You learn a TON about how the police operate, they make it fun and it’s FREE :)

I’ve also been involved with my neighborhood association and committees associated with that.   Unfortunately with all of this, plus my full-time & contract job, The Thrifty Social Worker site has suffered.  I’m hoping to unload some of this to at least post weekly again.  Until then, thanks for reading my sporadic posts.

How’s your life going?  Are you one of the people who are becoming less frugal and eating out more these days?