Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lessons Learned

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I've mentioned casually (read: I slide it into every conversation) that after 10 months of job searching, I finally hooked one.

If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know I am from the great, majestic state of Pennsylvania. Having gone to college in Pittsburgh and absolutely falling in love with the city, I wanted to stay and work. After graduation, I went back home and kept submitting applications for jobs in PGH. But, I never made it past the in-person interviews—if I made it that far. So I expanded my search. I applied up and down the northeast. Ya'll, I applied to a job in Binghamton, NY ... I'm still not quite sure where that is.

Eventually, I found myself deep in the interview processes for two jobs: one at home, one in Washington, DC. One day, I was cooking lunch and my phone went off. It was a job offer in DC. I cried immediately after hanging up. After, I (sort of) pulled myself together, I called everyone. One call was made to my uncle who lives in Maryland and works in DC. He was my saving grace.

I was a girl who was operating on a retail paycheck. I was a girl who was NOT going to be able to afford housing in DC right off the bat. It's a great city, but like all great cities it is not very budget friendly, especially if you're right out of college.

All of the great support I got through my transition into the next phase of my life was from my family. I could not have remained sane without my crazy family. :)

My uncle has opened up his home to me, which has made saving my money so much easier. My mother gave me a short course in budgeting before I became a responsible, salaried employee. My dad answers literally every money question I have regarding what would be smart for me to do in the long run.

With all of these great people in my corner, offering up the warranted (and admittedly sometimes unwarranted) advice, I made some great adult strides: I got a credit card, I bought my cell phone up front to keep monthly payments lower and not be tied down by a contract, I've acknowledged a consistent weekly budget for things like groceries, I've made larger payments toward my student loan to lessen the duration even by just a little bit.

All this responsibility, and the experiences I hear about from my friends, really has me thinking about all sorts of potential moves down the road. I have friends who have had to take out loans to afford rent; those who have research student loan refinancing; friends who have explored ways of making payments easier for them. One of my co-workers mentioned I name I knew when we were talking about finance, Earnest. You may recognize them from a previous post. She spoke more directly to their student loan refinance options, but they also boast low-interest personal loan options to make life a little easier if you are looking at loans.

As scary as the prospect of all the financial decision making was when I was younger, I actually am enjoying the real life education I am getting along the way. I've looked to not only my family, but also resources like Earnest which have provided great explanations of the various options that we all have, but may not be so quick to think about.

- Ashley

How was your transition out on your own for the first time? What was the best advice you received?

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