Before I graduated from high school, I really wish someone would have sat me down, smacked me across the face, and said "Listen up, 'cause this shit is important" and then proceeded to tell me the following things:
1. Go to community college for two years and get all the stupid core classes out of the way, and then transfer to a real university. Because if you don't, you'll be in college an extra 3+ years because you can't manage to show up to Sophomore English.
2. Don't get a credit card, because you're going to be way too broke to make the payments, and then lawyers and creditors are going to start calling and harassing your 80-year old grandma.
3. Don't be a Music Major! Get a real major so you can get a real damn job when you finally graduate.
4. Start exercising, because you're going to be too broke to buy real groceries and your main form of sustenance will be something off the McDonald's dollar menu. Every. Day. And fat ain't cute and you can't afford to buy new jeans every time you gain or lose a pound.
5. Live at home until you're 30. Yeah, living with Mom sucks and you hate her rules, but having roommates with alcohol/drug problems who do things like beat your dog, file false police reports on you, and bail two days before $1100 of rent is due are WAY worse than being home by midnight.
6. Just don't date. Boys will ruin your grades and the bad sex is way overrated. Just make sure you make it to a certain bar on September 16, 2010, 'cause that guy is actually worth keeping around.
7. You can't raise your brother, make good decisions for your mom, or repair the relationship with your dad, so quit stressing out over it. All that crying you do while driving is probably going to cause you to wreck (again) and you can't afford to total another car.
That being said, I think it's pretty apparent I'm under a LOT of stress right now, most of it being caused by financial burdens. I wish just a few short years ago I'd really understood what living above your means actually meant. More importantly, I wish I had understood the consequences.
I've been feeling really overwhelmed lately, and when that happens I tend to just hide from everything so I don't end up having a giant panic attack (been there, done that, ain't fun). Seriously, I didn't get out of bed until 2 pm today.
When I get like this, I remember what my friend Jamie told me, and it's some of the best advice I've ever gotten: "You can't do everything all at once. You need to break things down and take care of one thing at a time." So that's what I'm going to try to do.
Here's what needs to happen in the next month:
Tomorrow I'm going to wake my ass up sometime before noon. I'm going to take Bear and go for a jog. Because like I said before, McDonald's is making my ass bigger than it already is and I don't need that extra stress.
Tomorrow I'm also going to apply for Federal Student Aid for next semester.
On Friday I'm going to send off the check to make the first payment on my student loans. It's due on Monday and I can't afford to deal with any late charges.
On Monday I'm going to pay off the $140 hold on my student account and attempt to get registered for the last two classes I need in order to graduate.
On December 1 I'm going to pay my rent.
Through December, I'm going to save up for all the money that moving requires (damn you, security and pet deposits!).
Once Ryan and I move in January I'm going to call those pesky debt collectors and set up some kind of payment plan.
I've got to get a handle on my money, I can't keep living life hiding from my bank statements. And I'm pretty sure my family is going to disown me if those lawyers don't stop calling.
On the up side, my car will be paid off in May, and that means that not only do I not have to worry about car payments, I can also drop my car insurance down to liability and that will save me a little money too.
Breaking things down I just realized that I only need $250 by Monday to make sure my immediate concerns are taken care of, and that has alleviated the stress a little.
Am I the only 20-something that feels like they've been thrown out on the wind with no sort of idea how to be a grown-up? You'd think they'd have some kind of class or handbook for this sort of thing.
I wish I was rich enough to just have some kind of financial advisor. But then, if I were rich, I guess I wouldn't worry so much about my car being repossessed.