A Pennsylvania School Psychologist's Money Habits

  • SALARY: I make $35,550 per year. 
  • SAVINGS: I have about $10,000 in savings right now. I categorize my savings into several buckets - one for my car, one for Christmas gifts, one for birthday gifts, one for a house, one for our dog and one for a vacation. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My boyfriend purchased a house last year. I currently contribute to the mortgage, paying half, or about $445 per month. I also pay half of our utilities. I am still on my parent's healthcare plan, and I don't yet contribute to a 401K. My boyfriend and I split Netflix and Spotify subscriptions, so I pay about $10 on those monthly. I pay $165 per year to belong to a professional association. I also have an Amazon Prime subscription, which costs $99 per year. I have a car from my parents so my car payment is $100 a month to them plus insurance which is about $70. I also pay them for my phone which is $50 per month. The car payment is an area where I am privileged to save some money thanks to my parents. 
  • DEBT: All of my student loans are from the federal government. I am currently on the standard repayment plan, which is ten years at a fixed rate. It's the lowest overall payment plan, and I pay $694 per month on the loans. I am on this plan because my graduate school loans have an insane amount of interest. The longer I wait to pay them off, the more, in the long run, I will have to pay thanks to interest payments. I currently work in a private school, if I get a public school job and hold that job for 10 years, then I can qualify for loan forgiveness. Getting my masters degree was the biggest hit to my loans. For my master's program, other than a small scholarship, I paid almost everything using unsubsidized loans. So while I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket, the loans are huge and collecting a crazy amount of interest.  If I had not gone to graduate school, my loans would be less than half of what I am paying now.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever spent money on is either the vacation I took with my significant other to Barbados or Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is super convenient. For example, my dog chewed our food thermometer and I was able to immediately order the same exact one. I didn’t have to try to find a similar one in a store. The second that goes along with that is that it lets me be lazy.  If I do not need something immediately then I almost always order it on prime because it saves me a trip to the store. As for our vacation, we kept costs down by putting up with long layovers. If you are willing to deal with layovers and long travel days, you could fly to Barbados for around $300 any time of the year. It’s cheaper than flying most places in the U.S., and it was amazing so we will for sure be going back.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I can't really think of one...Maybe unnecessary doctors' appointments that didn't actually help me.
  • CHARITY: The last charity I contributed to was a nature preservation.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I babysit when I get the chance. I also tutor students outside of school. 
  • GOALS: I would like to continue adding to my vacation budget so that we could go on annual or semi-annual trips. I will also be getting married sometime in the next two years…I hope. That will be an expense that I know I need to save for, but have absolutely no idea how much. The internet tells you to start saving for retirement at 25, and I'll be off of my parent's healthcare plan at 26, so those are big milestones too. Where I work the insurance isn't great and I have to pay for it. Worse, there is no retirement plan and my pay is less than ideal. So my biggest goal is to find a new job in the next two years, as soon as possible, but the competition is fierce. My most immediate goal is to ask for a raise in the next month. It’s a tricky situation that I don’t know how to navigate quite yet because my boss controls most everything, but the owners of the school control the budget so I will need to ask her and then she will need to ask them and it’s a whole, stressful thing.


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She Spends Issue #3