(Closed) Budget blues and waiting

posted 5 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
4035 posts
Honey bee

@oriskany: First, breath. 

Yes, it can all seem overwhelming at first. When you look at the raw numbers, it does seem like a lot. But when you break it down and strategize, it is managable. 

First, do you have a set job or are you “hoping” to get something right away. Just asking because that will greatly impact your real income situation. If you end up not being employed right away or make less than anticiapted, I would suggest contacting your student loan lenders asap and apply for income adjusted payments. That will likely lower your minimum monthly payments. 

Second, when you have the larger amount left over right after graduating, start saving it. I would not suggest making large purchases, going on big trips or anything of the sort if you really do think that your left over income really will drop that drastically after the the 6 month grace period. (Then again, the situation could change if you apply for income adjusted). 

Third, the things you mentioned (trips, getting engaged, affording a wedding) take time. My Darling Husband and I didn’t do most of those things until the past year, after we had both been out for about 3 years. And we were in a very similar income situation as the both of you. As frustrating as it may seem, a lot of those things are not “typical” for everyone and it takes hard work to get to that stable, economic situation. The benefit is, you are both young, so you have lots of time to catch up and sacrifice now.

Also, is it possible to lower your monthly expenses? Can you move somewhere cheaper? Get a roommate? Eat out less? Habit changes can significantly impact your disposable income. 

The important thing is that according to your estimates, you will still have some money left over and ALL of your bills will be paid. While it may not be ideal, you will still be in a good financial position..

Budgeting tools can also help you identify areas where you can cut back and save. Sometimes tracking your expenditures can go a long way.

Post # 4
213 posts
Helper bee

Where are you planning to love after graduation. And what are you using to estimate rent, utilities etc. also what are your car payments like? My Girlfriend and I have simmilar income to you, she has no loans, mine total 1100 a month, and we have managed to pay down debt, I bought a house and have saved ~25k in the 3.5 years since graduation not including my retirement funds. We we don’t live extremely frugally, we don’t have cable, opting instead for high speed internet and netflix/Hulu. Until 2 months ago when she got her new car we were both driving 2001 model year cars. He have however gone on vacation each year, go out to eat atleas once a week, and have money left over. We are fortunate to live in a lower cost of living area and also moved to the county instead of the city to save more. 

Student loan debt is a killer, I took mine on knowing full well what it would cost to pay back. Unfortunately others aren’t as aware. If you are able to provide more info we could likely help more.

Post # 6
213 posts
Helper bee



I am in Virginia but work for an Engineering company based in Charlotte so I know the area well. Look online for apartments or house rentals outside of the Charlotte-Concord mills area, rent is cut in half by moving 20-30 minutes outside the city. I originally went to look at apartments near my work in VA and toured very nice complexes with $1000 per month rents, I decided to call a couple places on Craigslist and ended up renting a 2 bedroom house outside the city but still only 10 minutes from work for $475 a month. Sure it would have been more fun to be down town but it saved me big money both on rent and removing the temptation of being right next to bars and restaurants when I got hungry. 


Youll have to to make some sacrifices, maybe not living right in the city (Charlotte is easy to commute in and out of), maybe sacrificing cable, or not being able to buy brand new cars, but you can easily live on your combined income while saving and enjoying yourself.

When budgeting definitely don’t count on the bonus, in some engineering industries one event or project can double or cut in half a bonus over night. I budget to live off my income, now that I have a good savings account when I get an unexpected bonus half goes towards student loans, and the othe half goes towards luxury expenses, vacations, new TV etc. 

If I was more strict with the budget I could certainly pay off my loans faster but I enjoy living the way we do, we are living within our means, having a great time and will still be out of debt (except the mortgage) by the time we plan to start a family (5 years). We are going it in a simmilat area as far as cost of living, and you cettainly can as well.

Post # 7
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Another thought re: bonuses.

Bonuses, while not taxed differently than regular income, are withheld differently than regular income. On a $10k bonus, you would probably only net $6k. Additionally, you can never budget in bonus income because then if you don’t get the bonus, it hurts both financially AND emotionally.

The reality is that it is hard. It’s a lot less difficult when you haven’t borrowed the value of a house in student loans. It’s also a lot easier when you don’t have car payments, so my suggestion to you would be that you drive beater cars until the student loans are down to a manageable level. I drive a $1300 car and even buying $700 in tires for it last week, was still cheaper than 5 years of car payments.

Post # 9
308 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I will be finishing up my Master’s this January and still have some loan debt from undergrad in addition to all my loan debt from my Master’s (boo private school). That being said, I tend to like to plan out every little thing for post graduation. What my husband and I decided to do was live in a modest apartment (It’s cheap but it isn’t awful) and cut things like cable and to basically live like we have one income (his) and use mine to pay down debt. It will not be the most fun thing we’ve ever done, but it will only be a few years of tight budgets. 

We actually thought of doing it this way because I rented from a family that decided to do that early on in their marriage to pay down debt, save for a house, save for their kid’s to go to college,etc.

Loan debt is scary, but it can be manageable.


Post # 10
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

@oriskany:  Aw sweetie, take a deep breath!

Okay. You guys are going to be totally fine. The reality is, most people don’t throw a lavish wedding, buy an expensive house, and start having kids immediate after college, especially with a large amount of debt. 1 thing at a time, girl! I totally agree with a pp person who mentioned postponing big vacations and things like that – prioritize what you want to pay off/accomplish, knowing that as you get further into your career, you will get raises and bonuses that will you allow to go on trips and splurge every once in awhile.

I would highly recommend reading Dave Ramsey’s books about debt. We have many friends who have gotten out of debt (or are in the process of it) using his methods. He has a great writing style, too, that is engaging and will give you a lot more confidence. Honestly, I’d start out by reading one of his books and then develop a game-plan.

As far as getting married goes, you and your boyfriend will have to decide what’s more important to you – having a bigger wedding in the future, or throwing a budget wedding (or eloping) so you can get married sooner. Neither of those options is right or wrong, and lots of bees can help give you advice and support if you chose either route. If you want to get married sooner rather than later, maybe choose a simple stand-in ring and not worry about a big fancy diamond – you can always upgrade your ring in the future when you guys have more money to spare. We did that (my ring isn’t a real diamond) and I have 0 regrets. I love my husband to pieces with or without a 5 carat diamond, and I’m so glad he saved potential “ring money” to put towards buying a house. But if a ring is very important to you, then make sure you communicate that – we talked openly about ring costs and our long-term financial plans way before we got engaged, so when my Darling Husband finally did buy a ring, we were both on the same page.

With wedding costs, I swear to you that it doesn’t have to snowball into a $30,000 affair. We went to 2 weddings last year that were under $4,000 and they were super fun and very beautiful. Anyways, I’m rambling now but I wanted you to know that you guys are doing great, you’re lucky to be starting pretty high-paying jobs right out of college, and with some resources and good planning you will totally be able to get out of debt and do all of those things you described, even if it’s not immediately the first year after you start working. Good luck!

Post # 11
8446 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@oriskany:  My husband and I purchased a house in Charlotte, NC and it’s very affordable compared to where we were (He’s from NY/NJ and I’m from CA).  Our friends currently rent a 2 bedroom townhouse near us for around $900/mo.  If you do decide to commute into charlotte, I highly recommend staying away from I-77 between davidson and huntersville.  As for the wedding, there are some great vendors here for reasonable prices.  Also, look into DIY; I only spent about $400 on decor and flowers for my wedding.  Feel free to PM me if you’re in the area and need help with anything.

Post # 12
421 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 - Rebar

@oriskany:  Me and SO recently bought a home (yay!!!) and we will be getting married next year in June. And both of us make a little over 100 K. We also live in NYC which makes everything double the expenses. I have also sat down and look at our budget realistcally. SO went to law school and has over 100 K in debt at the moment. It can be a bit scary and overwhelming….but do remember that you absolutely dont have to have a huge wedding or even spend so much on the engagement ring. I believe making sure what your priorities will get you a long way in ur budget…for us was buying a home was one of our biggest priority. Our budget for our wedding is 5,000…i am excited to see how much we can both save for our wedding!  Remember to breathe and that things will work out. Just make sure you both know what your priorities are… 🙂

Post # 14
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

@oriskany:  You’re still very young, I wouldn’t worry just yet.  I know it seems very exciting to get engaged, especially if you’ve been dating your SO for a while, but you still have LOADS of time.  I would still try to get your finances in line.  The transition just from 23 to 25 is huge (I’m now 25, so I’ve just gone through it/still going through it).  Once you graduate, try to start paying off your student loans and just try to adjust to paying for rent, groceries, etc.  That would seem very overwhelming to have over $100K in loans in addition to buying a ring/paying for a wedding, big or small.  Once you start to knock out some of the loans, I’m sure you’ll feel much better, and get a better sense of what you can do for a wedding/house/any other big purchases.  Hope this helps, good luck!  

Post # 16
1231 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I think its sweet your Fiance wants to get married right away! Maybe you can’t afford a big wedding, a diamond ring, a tropical honeymoon, or a downpayment on a house – but are those things more important than having a good marriage? Being financially stable is a goal you can work towards together, especially since you will both be working full time. 

You seem smart and organized and practical. It may be very difficult, but I’m sure you can make the budget work. 

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