Monday, March 24, 2008

My Life After Blogging

Boy a lot has changed since I stopped blogging! There are tons of new personal finance blogs to check out and I'm happy to see that a lot of progress has been made towards savings goals and debt repayment. I'm also pleased to see that most people have continued blogging and their blogs are thriving. Yay! It's amazing to see how much it has grown!

The financial times are also so very drastically different. Our credit hungry lifestyle has finally caught up with us and now we're paying the price. No more easy credit.. While it may be tough for a while, hopefully this will be a reminder to us all that a healthy economy is not one based on spending, but one based on saving.

A lot has changed in my personal life as well. Like I mentioned before, I spent a year in Thailand teaching English and traveling and it was such a wonderful experience to have right after such a stressful time in my life. It allowed me to let go and start anew with a clean slate in a new country.

I'll have to admit that the transition to living in the States was rough. Before I left for Thailand, I got rid of almost all of my possessions, except for my car (and I'm very happy I decided to keep it). I had a few thousands dollars saved up but no furniture, no appliances, no bedding, and worst of all no job. The whole "get rid of your earthly possessions and travel the globe" is all fine and good until you come home and you realize you don't have a bed to sleep on. I contemplated getting a room somewhere but I had no idea where I would end up or when I would find a job. I even thought about picking up and moving again to some other exotic land like Argentina but I soon realized that one day I would have to come back and reestablish myself and that this rough patch was going to come sooner or later. So what did I do? I ended up moving back home! Agh! I figured it would be temporary but I'm still here. Between paying for car insurance, an unexpected expensive car maintenance, graduate school admissions fees, CSET test fees, etc. I was seriously low on cash.

While I was in Thailand I realized that I really enjoy teaching. My previous job was absolutely miserable. I hated every minute of it but I endured because it was helping me pay off my debt. That made me vow to never work at a job I didn't like again. I worked part-time teaching ESL to adults while I searched for something more stable and full-time. Now I'm working as a substitute teacher in some really difficult parts of L.A. (ever heard of Watts or Compton?) and while some days I think I may lose it, it's 100 times better than working with a bunch of needy, whiny real-estate brokers.

I recently found out I got accepted into grad school, so soon I'll join the ranks of starving students everywhere. I'd really like to minimize the pain and suffering that comes along from having to pay astronomical sums of money on books and tuition while simultaneously not being able to have a job. Thankfully, I have two things in my favor. First, I will receive a $7,000 fellowship and I may be eligible for even more aid if I commit to teaching in an under served area. Second, the second year of my program I will be working full-time in my own classroom and receiving a normal salary.

That means I just have to save enough money to live on for one year. I've managed to save about $2,500 so far. I'm thinking it might be realistic to save $10,000 by August if I am super-resourceful. Let's see. That means I need to save $7,500 in 5 months. That's just about $1,500 each month. That's a little steep but hey, I was able to pay off $30,000 of debt in less than two years, right? Stay tuned to see if I can do it! :)

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