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. Long timer lurker, figured things are now getting desperate enough that it was time to post something. I’ve tried to keep this as short and to the point as I can. Throwaway account. tl;dr:
Student loans, developer, student loans too damn high.
— Student Loans
I got an MA from a British university in 2011, although I’m American. Here are my loans:
$51,053.68 at 10%: $555.75 $48,423.55 at 6%: $428.89
Stafford, previously subsidized loans:
Subsidized 4.25%: $5,054.93 Unsubsidized 6.55%: $2,419.39 FFEL Subsidized 5.35%: $5,080.88 FFEL Unsubsidized 6.55%: $2,567.56
The monthly payment for both of these combined is $180.90.
Then, I have two more loans. One is from a friend who bought my 12.5% loan and who I pay back at 6%. I’ve been paying him back for 2.5 years, now, and this loan has gone from $45k down to $25k.
$25,652 at 6%: $700 minimum.
Finally, I have one other loan which was taken out by my step-father. He pays some interest, and I pay the rest, until I have the time to tackle the principal. Current monthly payment: $188.
$21, 225 at 7.9%: $188 minimum.
I also have two credit cards from Bank of America:
Card at 14.5%: $3,928.86. Last payment: $88. Card at 19.25%: $1,560.20. Last payment: $38.
Monthly payment total: $2179.54
General expenses per month:
Rent: $1100 Phone: $76 Spotify: $9.99 GitHub: $7 Dropbox: $10 Email: $5 Adobe CC: $21 Websites: $31 Groceries: $400 Spending money: $300
I have some yearly expenses. I pay an accountant $700 a year to help me out with my LLC (for my invoices, for my freelancing company), and I pay some fees to keep the LLC running. Currently, it has around $500 cash in it. I have two TD Bank north accounts for this, and am getting hit by a $25 fee each month for not having $2000 resting in that account.
I use YNAB. I check it every few weeks, and otherwise ignore it. This is not working for me. I was way over in my expenditures last month - $623 I could not afford. Groceries, and spending money above, are both budgeted for this month.
Currently, I have a remote job as a developer. I earn $72,000 a year - $4160 a month after taxes.
My friends say I could make more elsewhere (that I am a senior developer, basically), but I have massive imposter syndrome and have a really rough time believing this. I have some options in the company, but I don’t know how much. I view the lower pay as the cost of being mobile and not having to go to an office.
I am going to move out of my apartment in a month, put all of my stuff in storage for $120 a month. I am going to go nomadic for a while, move in with my girlfriend and stay on friend’s couches every now and then. This should save me roughly $500 a month, after travel expenses. I will have to track it closely.
Three months ago I quit smoking and drinking, which has helped keep costs down.
I am a freelance consultant on the side, and I get a few thousand here and there. However, it is very hard to focus on this, and the money is not regular.
I have roughly $500 in cash. I keep some saved as a buffer. I normally have $1000, but the last month’s payments and expenditures has brought this down.
I also have $5000 in an SEP IRA.
—— Does anyone have any advice?
I find it very hard to think about my student loans, and I am not sure how best to refinance, consolidate, or otherwise bring down my monthly student loan payments. At this point, though, I don’t really have much of a choice. My stress about money is affecting how I perform at my job, and my quality of life. I have recently taken up long distance running, dieting, sobriety, non-smokerness, and a better meditation and journalling practice to help with my daily stress, but I am not attacking the root of the problem, which is how much debt I have.
Thank you so much for reading.