New Teachers and $$$

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Obadiah, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    The other night I woke up and suddenly thought this might be a good thread to start, some advice for new teachers (or anyone new to a job situation). For my initial post, it will mostly come from the Oopsie School of Unintentional Learning, (otherwise known as the School of Life).

    1. Every paycheck, save some money, even if it's just 1.00. This does not include contributions to retirement plans or specifically budgeted money: this is money saved for unforeseen circumstances. Just 1.00 per 2-week payday=$26.00 per year that you otherwise wouldn't have. In 40 years, that will add up to $1040.00. So even that least amount will be something in your pocket should worst come to worst when you are approaching 65 years old.

    2. Budget. I like using a spreadsheet. Be strict with your budget, but also realistic. It's best to budget for more than the precise amount so that you have extra in each budgeted column, again for unforeseen circumstances and for inflation. A mistake I often made was to decide, "Well, I can get by with this much," but I found my optimism wasn't always realistic.

    3. It's important to budget some "mad money" (as my uncle and aunt called it) for frivolous spending. There will be times when you'll want to spend money on restaurants, visiting friends, etc. At the same time, don't be a mad hatter with your money. Popular must have items aren't really must haves. They can wait until you've built up a more solid financial situation. Safety should be at the foremost of your spending. Some apartments are unhealthy, unsafe, or both. Trust me, it's not fun opening an apartment door every night and seeing a guy across the hallway staring out his door all night or watching police investigate a murder in the next door parking lot. Cell phones are a need, not a luxury, but at the same time, expensive smart phones and expensive plans can wait. Always carry a cell phone with you, especially in malls, so that you may dial 911 as needed, and it's important to never hesitate dialing 911. If help is needed, help is needed. (A quick reminder, too, despite current rumors, 711 is not a non-emergency number for police; it's the number to dial a relay service for the Deaf or people with speech differences). A car might be a need, and a reliable car might mean spending extra cash. Keyless entry is an important safety feature. Depending on your weather, the newer control features might be a necessity, too. For single adults, a car that allows you to quickly check under and inside, especially the backseat floor, for hidden intruders is a must. Cable TV might not be a priority. Internet is becoming a necessity, but you might be able to start out with free dial up--check your local library. Back to smart phones, some plans are cheaper than WIFI. Sometimes TV plans on smartphones are cheaper than regular TV, and certainly a large screen might be something to wait on. Libraries provide free entertainment--DVD's and even books. Food: go veggie and limit meat or pre-made foods. It's healthier, you'll have more energy, you'll save on doctor bills and medicine, and the extra energy makes it easier to save money. Watch out for impulsive spending; at the end of a hard teaching day, walking into a mall and buying a small item does give a dopamine rush, but it also eventually wears away at your savings. It adds up. A little here and a little there after a few months becomes a tremendous amount here and there.

    4. Watch out for muggers. Don't trust every person who comes to your door, asks to use your phone (like the lady in my apartment my 4th year of teaching who asked to use my apartment phone--duh! We were in the lobby and the apartment office was open. They could have given her a phone to use. Also we were standing right next to a pay phone); or the people who approach your car in a parking lot. Walk with a purpose, like you have confidence, not like you're nervous, and know your surroundings. Always think, I'm approaching a corner, I'm approaching a large mailbox, I'm walking by a parked car. Back to cell phones, don't be distracted, especially by texting and walking, but...talking to someone on a cell phone, especially in a mall restroom, is a good safety feature. I often talk to Joe, my invisible friend, on my cell phone. Pay attention to your intuition, too. If your brain gives you a funny feeling, it's not just kidding, something barely perceivable has been noticed.

    Any other suggestions from other veteran teachers?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Make sure to contribute to the FSA - the money that goes into that account is pre-taxed money, so you get more bang for your buck when paying for out of pocket healthcare needs. Try and be within the ballpark of how much you would actually spend - it is use it or lose it. The truth is, it works for some over the counter items, dental bills, co pays, and out of pocket expenses of many kinds. Used wisely, it is like putting that dollar a pay period away.

    More common than muggers are the scam artists - they come in all shapes and sizes, and they can empty your checking acount, while most muggers can only take what you have on you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Very good advice.

    An alternative to the budget if you struggle with that is a spending plan. Where do you need or want your money to go?
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    1) Don't spend money on making your classroom look like Pinterest. Student work and anchor charts can be much of your "decorations."

    2) Don't spend money on Teachers Pay Teachers. Most of the time, you are paying for cutesy and the activities aren't that high quality. If you go there at all, set the filter to "free" and only look at those activities.

    3) Don't buy unnecessary things for your classroom. When considering purchasing something, consider if you really need it or if it's just something you want. Only get it it's truly going to make your life easier and you have the money. I have seen some new teachers spend hundreds, if not thousands, on cutesy Pinterest type things for their rooms. I spent a grand total of $12 last year, for an online planbook that made my life easier. Yes, I could have just used a word document or something, but the set up of the site saved me a lot of time and effort in creating something.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I’ve gotten some good finds on TPT. Their bilingual products, though, have left me underwhelmed. I’ve often had to email sellers to let them know that the translation is incorrect/inappropriate.

    This year, I found a really good Check-In/Check-Out sheet and an awesome Forced Choice Reinforcement Survey.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Agreed!!!
    A few years ago, one of our newbies’ classrooms gave me sensory overload! Far too overdone, unfortunately!
     
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  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I once took a few things from TPT in Spanish. Husband, who speaks fluent Spanish, totally edited them.
     
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  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Item three covered a lot of ground. :dizzy:

    My brain in on travel overload, so I'll come back and check later when I have more time. I can probably add some things. I'm old, so I've learned some things the hard way. :)
     
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  10. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    The first year teaching can be expensive. You will be tempted to buy all of the spirit shirts and all of the cute clothes. Buy a minimum until you find out what is the norm for your school. Where I student taught, it was jeans and stylish tops. Where my first job was, it was polo shirts and khakis. Then, I changed to a school where it was dressier.
     
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  11. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I feel like that "can be" is key -- it's easy to get sucked into the pinterest/TPT culture and feel like your room has to be stocked to the brim with all this stuff. But the first year teaching is hard enough without comparing your room and lessons to the stuff on Pinterest and TPT! I hardly bought anything my first year, partly because I'm just cheap and partly because I didn't know what the heck I even needed. I have nothing against cutesy classrooms, but that's way down the line for me in my teaching timeline because I have so many other things that I want to focus on first. 1st year was classroom/behavior management. Next year will be really nailing down content and curriculum (which may be a struggle since it's a new grade and I'm essentially starting over). Once both of those are at a good spot, then I'll think about decorating my classroom. I'm pretty minimalistic anyway because I tend to be a bit messy, and adding more stuff to the mix is basically asking to lose a kid in the clutter. :whistle:
    Plus I get sensory overload from too many colors or decorations; I can't imagine what it's like for a high-energy first grader.

    Teacher clothes are more of a necessity than a want, but even Target has a lot more professional clothing for decently low prices. I'm not going all out on clothes when I can run to Target and find a nice pencil skirt on clearance for $7.
     
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  12. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    This is really good advice too! My first year of teaching, in addition to a bunch of supplies/school stuff I didn't really need, I ran out and bought a "teacher wardrobe" as soon as I got a job. My best friend is also a teacher and I remember us both being really excited about buying our "teacher clothes."

    This is another thing that ended up being totally unnecessary. In my home state (at least in the schools I was in) teachers dressed up for work. Here, things are very casual and I was WAY overdressed my first year. Basically, clean and "put together" are the only requirements here- nice tops with jeans or tunics with leggings are very common here, with school t shirts being worn on Fridays. My first year, people kept asking me what I was doing after school that I needed to be so dressed up for :oops:.

    Keep in mind that people are likely to be dressier in the first week of school or so than they are the rest of the year, so don't assume you need to go buy a bunch of dresses if that's what you see the first week. You can also ask teammates what the normal dress code is at the school too.
     
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  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    New teacher here! The one expense I am worried about is teacher clothes. I look young so I like to dress nicely. In my student teaching, I started to dress nice but I realized I was the most dressed up person. Most people wore jeans and t-shirts every day. So, I started to dress down. I didn't wear blue jeans, but I wore a lot of colored jeans. I really didn't build a teacher wardrobe but I realize I need to now.
     
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  14. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    I'm with you. I kept a minimalistic classroom for my entire teaching career which had a mutual benefit for my students and I. I'm a tightwad by nature and tend to be disorganized and easily distracted - my special needs students were also easily distracted by decorations or learning aids attached to the walls. My priority every year was on creating innovative instruction to deliver the curriculum.

    Target's OK, but don't underestimate a good thrift shop. I've bought a brand new pair of SAS shoes (normally $200) for just $3 and Teva river sandals at another more expensive store for $6. My wife has also purchased high quality designer clothes that can only be found at places like Neimann-Marcus for just a few bucks.
     
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  15. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I am always dressed up! I wear what I am comfortable in, and that's dresses, skirts and dress pants. Most of my colleagues dress casually, but that doesn't influence how I dress.
     
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  16. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I've heard tale it also helps to make friends with the employees of thrift and consignment stores... they can "hide" good deals for you.
     
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  17. MaleTeacher

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    You should always look on craigslist. You can find lots of useful (and cheap) stuff on there. Sometimes there are teaching materials and supplies that a teacher (who retired or is moving) decides she or he no longer wants. The other day I got a sequin dress for free, and today I am selling it to a neighbor for $60.
     
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  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    A home school coop in a nearby area went out of business recently, and sold a ton of great stuff for cheap!

    To add to the teacher wardrobe, I spend way less money on clothes now, because I've figured out what works for me. I have five pairs of trousers (from Dress Barn, all the same style but different colors) and maybe 8 blouses, and five cardigans. I mix and match. I mostly do solid colors, and add ballet flats with a fun print, or a scarf in the winter. I have two pairs of jeans, and a ton of school shirts. I have two dresses: a casual one and a fancy one. I do laundry every other week. I need to replace maybe one pair of pants a year, and treat myself to a new shirt or two each semester, and rotate out the oldest ones. I used to buy practically a new wardrobe each year, but now I spend maybe $200 a year on clothes.
     
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  19. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Bargain hunting online is a strong asset, but from what I've read in the news, you also need to exercise extreme caution. Online sites are not as regulated for security as physically shopping in Walmart or the mall, but then again, on the other hand, physically shopping has its dangers too, nowadays. It seems each week we have an armed robbery in a neighborhood(s) that, when I was growing up, rarely if ever saw an armed robbery. The most violence that happened was in our living rooms, either on Gunsmoke or Batman.
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I am also going to think about how I can cut costs in terms of expenses. I like to buy coffee every day, but I am going to stop because it is expensive and honestly unhealthy! I am going to try to just make tea instead.
     
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  21. MaleTeacher

    MaleTeacher Rookie

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    That is something that I stopped doing and I saved tons of money. Every day before school I used to buy a grande iced caramel macchiato. I spent over $900 on that macchiato. After realizing how much money I was wasting I quickly stopped.
     
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  22. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    This may seem a little funky, but having played this game a few years ago, the biggest piece of financial advice I can give is to have someone you trust on EVERY asset in your name. This is important should you die or end up in a situation where you are unable to care for yourself.
     
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  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    1. Don't buy too much for your classroom in the beginning. It is very tempting to go overboard and make huge lists of things that you just *must* have for your classroom. Then you end up finding out that a lot of the things that others love are things that you don't even need or want. Also, it's been mentioned that you don't need a "Pinterest classroom". That doesn't mean you can't decorate you room a lot, but you don't have to spend a lot to do that.

    2. Invest in good-quality clothing pieces that you can mix & match. Again, don't buy too much until you decide what you really need.

    3. I won't actually go into any specific budgeting skills because, well, that's got more to do with just being an adult more than with being a new teacher. However, I do think that it is important to learn about what your school offers for retirement planning. Good retirement planning is something you start when you are early in your career, not when you get close to retirement. Know what you are required to do, then find out what you can do to supplement on your own. Do an actual plan of some kind, not the "even $1 every paycheck" method. That much wouldn't make a significant difference in any retirement plan.

    4. Learn the difference between what you have to do and what you think you have to do. Teaching is a job that can consume your while life if you let it. There is always something that I could be doing for work, but I'm not going to do it. I very, very rarely do work at home. I also very rarely stay more than 30 minutes after school.

    5. Find a good mentor at your school. I know that some states/schools have official mentoring programs, but if they don't (or even if they do) have someone at the school who can be a touchstone for you.
     
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  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    A will and a durable power of attorney can take care of these issues without you having to put anyone's name on your assets. I don't trust people enough to put anyone's name on my assets, but it's good financial sense to plan for what would happen to your assets in the event of your death or if you are incapacitated.
     
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  25. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It’s better to be overdressed than the opposite. We’ve had some new teachers who dressed far too casually and did not look professional at all.
     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It may have changed as the years have passed, but I named a beneficiary for my accounts back before I was all grown up and had a will. I, too, didn’t want someone else on my accounts, but wanted my family to have access to any money I might have had. With land and homes, I think you definitely need a will, but many new teachers don’t always have that immediately.
     
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  27. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I had to sit on an interview panel today. One of the candidates wore Bermuda shorts, flip flops, and had her hair tied back. She looked sloppy.

    To those of you who are interviewing: dress for the job you want!
     
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  28. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Yipes! One should dress for success, not recess.
     
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  29. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I recently did not get a job offer because the teacher decided she was going to go full-time (therefore making the part-time position obsolete). They told me that was the sole reason they weren't hiring me. They were going to!

    I showed up at that interview in jeans, a t-shirt, and, in a horrible twist of fate, a blazer my daughter had sneezed upon. (It was a spur of the moment interview).

    99.9 times out of a hundred, dress nicely! But apparently I did something else right at that interview.
     
  30. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If you can truly dazzle with brilliance, you will be seen for more than what you are wearing, IMHO. That said, clean and somewhat moderate are usually nice - tried and true. FWIW, one of my favorite outfits came from a thrift store, picked by my sister, who has become my personal shopper. No one every questions her style sense.
     
  31. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    That’s why you always dress business casual. :D

    In my case, I wear a nice collared shirt (popped collar or unpopped, depending on how I feel), slacks or slim black pants, and converse or very nice tennis shoes (no crazy designs). I gets lots of compliments on my outfits and my administration has no qualms with it.
     
  32. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Tennis shoes are not business casual.
    For men, business casual shoes are a dress boot, loafer, wingtip, or oxford.
    For women, business casual shoes are a flat, wedge, oxford, or pump. Closed toe & heel.
     
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  33. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You’re right! Maybe I should have said quasi-business casual, haha!
     
  34. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I stopped drinking coffee over a year ago. Before this I kept saying that I was just going to make it at home rather than getting it out and it just wasn't happening. So after getting really sick I decided to stop drinking caffeine since I couldn't drink it for a few days (one of the hardest things I've done - I was SUPER addicted!) and that took coffee out of the equation. I got an electric hot water kettle for school and drink tea now. Over a year later I have a stack of Starbucks cards I need to use that I've received as gifts over the year - I plan to use them to buy a "fancy" water cup lol.
     
  35. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I also use a spreadsheet for my budget - on google sheets so I can access it at home or at school, and on my phone as an app. And it is free. It has helped a lot with keeping track of my spending and changing unnecessary habits, planning things out. There is something to be said about writing down everything you spend, at least for me that has helped me to change a lot of things.
     
  36. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Oh, and don’t be afraid to say no to things. If it costs you money that you don’t want to spend, then don’t do it.
     
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  37. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    You spent nearly a $1,000 on morning coffees in one year. Seriously? :eek:
     
  38. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Not as shocking when broken down: consider about 250 work days (200ish for a teacher, perhaps), and with Starbucks drinks being around $5-6 when considering those, that's easily $1,000. Especially when adding on the occasional other day in there.

    I say this not from myself (coffee is gross :p), but the significant other who tends to get a mocha each day.

    Now books on the other hand... (thankfully Scholastic points and Amazon gift cards have covered 90% of that :p)
     
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  39. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Coffee IS gross. I can see spending that amount on books, but on coffee?! Heck no.

    My question was more rhetorical than anything. It defies credulity that someone would spend that much just on morning drinks. That was approximately 1.82% of my teaching salary this year, not including my tutoring money. That’s just crazy!
     
  40. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    See - I've had this thought too. In the end, though, I realize that - like spending a bit more on a comfier car, or going out to eat once a week, or taking a vacation here and there - it's another thing that might boost one's mood. If one's budget is extremely tight, perhaps it's not the best idea. Otherwise, oh well! It's probably around the same (perhaps a little less, given dual income) percentage, but it's a comfort, and she loves interacting with the people there too (and now borrows books from a couple of them all the time).

    We're still putting plenty of money away each month (silly house prices in the area...ugh), so it doesn't worry me whatsoever.
     
  41. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I feel like every time I set more money aside, the farther I get from my housing goal. Right now, I owe less than two grand on my car — I’ve sacrificed savings recently to pay it off quicker — and I’ll have much more to save after, but still. I have $32,000 in savings as a down payment, and you might think that’s a lot of money, but I look at the housing prices and the only houses that are decent in my area are in the $400k+ range and it pisses me off.

    How am I supposed to buy a house outright at this rate? It’s not fair that you could get a MANSION in adjacent states for that, but in California you get a shack for anything less. “Oh, you only have $250,000? Well, I’ll see what I can do. Ah! There’s a decrepit hellhole on the outskirts of the city with what appears to be a rabid rodent infestation. I know, it needs a little work and it’s drafty, but it’s perfect for someone in that price range! You just need to sleep with one eye open and not have any food in the house!” I’m like, “How does this piece of crap have any value at all? Better yet, how is this piece of crap still standing?!”

    I figure I’ll have to save at least 50% of my income to even have a chance at buying a house in full in the next 7 YEARS — this amounts to saving like at least $60,000/year or something and I’ll be 33 at the time and getting old. I want to buy a house NOW, gosh darn it.

    Rant over.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018

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