Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Broke, Scared, and Desperate: My Life on Student Loans

It's official. My student loans are now in repayment. This is depressing for two reasons. 1. This means that I have graduated more than 6 months ago. It also means I have been job-searching for six months...with no success. 2. It makes me broke. SUPER broke.

The thing is- my private loan payments are relatively (I stress relatively) low compared to other people I know, and my federal loans are currently in deferment for one year because I qualify for an economic hardship (Yay?). But none of that really matters because before my loans were in repayment, I was already teetering dangerously on the edge broke-dom. Simple math will tell you that low paying job + rent = trouble. Now factor in student loans and that's some kind of crazy equation I don't even wanna think about. Of course I did and still do live comfortably. But 'pre-loan repayment Ann' could order her favorite iced decaf tripio in a Venti cup from Starbucks without feeling guilty. The current 'loan repayment Ann' shops at Aldi. Old Ann would treat herself to a movie currently playing in theaters. Current Ann only sees free screenings offered by marketing companies for movies she doesn't even care to see. Old Ann would buy $5 Garnier shampoo. Current Ann buys $1 Suave and mops the floors using dishwashing soap. Old Ann would buy toilet paper in bulk. Current Ann will occasionally take a roll of toilet paper from the gym to bide time before buying more. I'm not proud of my behavior people! So, until some genius employer realizes what they're missing out on and hires me, I've devised a list of things to make a few extra bucks.

1. GET SENT MONEY WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING. This seems like the most obvious way to earn extra cash. I accept cash, check, money order and all major credit cards. You might think that I'd be ashamed to blatantly ask such for such charity but no, I'm not. If you offer, I will accept. This also goes for major businesses. The way I see it, there are some major corporations out there who have financially benefited from my endorsements, and I haven't seen a penny! The following entities should consider paying me for my patronage and contribution to their livelihood: Target, Subway, Disney, Taco Bell, Aldi, the city of London, YoBerri, Queen Elizabeth I, Borders Books, anyone who grows watermelons, OPI Nail Polish, and Daniel Radcliffe and the rest of the Harry Potter cast.

2. GET SPONSORED. Okay, I understand some of you might be a bit leery about sending cold hard cash and receiving nothing in return (besides my gratitude and you can't put a price on that!) so I have developed an alternative plan. If you have a small business you would like advertised, I will be happy to wear its logo on my T-Shirt, paste a sticker on my purse, sport a temporary tattoo, or even just find opportunities to mention it frequently in casual conversation. Even if you don't have a business to advertise, I'd be happy to just promote a general idea or particular thought you'd like to be made known. For instance, I hate Velcro. Maybe I'd want to spread the word about the atrocities of Velcro. A casual conversation could go thusly:

Me: "Hey Amanda, cute shoes."
Amanda: "Thanks, I got them at Aldo."
Me: "Wow, you know what I like about Aldo?"
Amanda: "What?"
Me: "They don't use Velcro on their shoes! You'll never find Velcro on Aldo shoes."
Amanada: "Well gee, what's so bad about Velcro?"
Me: "What's so bad? More like, is there anything good? Have you ever heard the sound Velcro makes? It's enough to make your ears bleed. And talk about unfashionable! Yeesh! No siree- no Velcro for me.
Amanda: "I had no idea! But you've sure got me convinced. Velcro stinks!"

Imagine the possibilities...

3. GROW A GARDEN. Refusing to buy Ramen for its attractive cheapness (think of all the sodium!), I'm sure I spend hundreds of dollars a year on fruits and vegetables. Why pay for something I can do on my own? However, an apartment in the city of Chicago doesn't allow much space for gardening (or much of anything else for that matter). So that would require someone to lend me their backyard for free in which to grow said garden. In addition, I would also need to someone to lend me their green thumb.

4. GET A BIKE. Well, I should say- get a better bike. I have a 12 speed bike meant for 6th graders (literally, it's Grace's bike from when she was 12) sitting in my apartment building's foyer unused save for one ride about two weeks ago. My bus pass had expired and determined not to spend an extra $2.25 on a bus ride, I dusted off the old bike to ride up to a soccer field about two miles away where Eric was playing a game. Of course, the tires needed air and the closest place was a FANCY bike shop a few blocks up. I once saw a bike in the window going for $700!! My plan was to sneak to the air station, pilfer the air, and flee without being seen on my ridiculous children's bike. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out the air pump for the life of me so I had to ask a clerk for help. His conversation with me went as follows:

Clerk: "Are you gonna attempt to ride this?"
Me: "Um, yes. I know it's for 12 year olds."
Clerk: "Nothing about this bike looks comfortable."
Me: "Oh, it's not."

And then I walked off in shame. Having a grown up bike would not only save me embarrassment, ridicule, a sore ass, and bruises on the palms of my hands, but also God knows how many dollars on bus passes. Actually, I know how many dollars. A CTA week pass is $23. That's $92 a month! That could be used for, well, student loans!

5. SELL MY EGGS. It seems drastic, I know, but Sara and I both are very attracted to prospect of $5,000 to $10,000 in our pockets. The way I see it, if it's advertised on the CTA, it must be legitimate. Yes, there's talk of a long, painful, and invasive process, and not to mention the psychological effects of knowing there's a child in my likeness roaming the planet but that's worth about eight grand, right? Just ask any twenty-something woman if she's ever Googled "Egg Donation" and I think you might be surprised. As an alternative, I would also consider surrogacy- for the right price.

6. GET PUBLISHED. What I mean to say is 'Get published and get paid for it." Anyone can publish a blog (though probably not with the finesse and hilarity of mine) but not everyone gets paid for it. My readers may not believe this but- I don't actually get paid for blogging. I know- I think it's ludicrous too. So, I need to find opportunities that allow me to do what I do best- write thought provoking and earnest prose- AND receive compensation for it. I've decided to specifically direct my efforts to The Onion. For those of you unfamiliar with The Onion, it's a weekly nationwide satirical newspaper that's uproariously funny and just plain awesome. To get an idea of what I mean, visit http://www.theonion.com/. With that in mind, I have written a mock article similar to what one might find on the pages of my beloved Onion.

Scientists Develop 'Romantic Comedy' Theory

CHICAGO- Scientists at the University of Chicago's Center for Sociological Studies have developed what they've dubbed the "Romantic Comedy Sequential Equation." In a press conference on Wednesday, the scientists and media alike have hailed the discovery as "groundbreaking," "earth-shattering" and other similarly geological descriptives. The study aims to dissect and explain the long unknown Romantic Comedy, or RomCom for short, succession of events.

"We've spent years decoding the intricacies and plot twists of hundreds upon hundreds of RomComs. Some said it couldn't be done, but my colleagues and I have developed what we believe is a solid base for future RomCom dissection," said Dr. Ian Pinkerton at Wednesday's press conference. When asked to elaborate on the theory, Dr. Pinkerton explained, "Essentially, Romantic Comedy Sequential Equation can be applied to most RomCom's and prove true. In laymen's terms, the equation states, if boy meets girl, boy will fall in love with said girl, boy will lose girl in a series of unfortunate and often hilarious circumstances, and boy will then win girl back. The equation allows room for minor variables such as the 'cooky friend' or 'persistent ex."

Dr. Pinkerton and his collegues cite classic RomComs like When Harry Met Sally, Pretty Woman, and Sleepless in Seattle as evidence to support the theory. In what's known as the Meg Ryan Effect, audiences will come to know a particular actress only for RomCom roles. Actresses Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston have come to suffer from a mild variety of this effect.

However, Dr. Pinkerton stresses that the study and resulting equation is still only considered a theory. "Films like The Breakup have really thrown us for a loop. In this instance, we see the complete obliteration of 'boy wins girl.' While these films are still categorized as RomCom, we firmly believe they are, in fact, a species all their own," states Pinkerton. Until such a distinction is made, the Romantic Comedy Sequential Equation will not be labeled as fact. Dr. Pinkerton's next pursuit will be improving upon the existing Meryl Streep Nominations to Wins Ratio.

7. APPEAL TO A HIGHER POWER. Oprah. The fact of the matter is, Oprah has loads of cash and I would wager that she wouldn't miss a measly few thousand dollars. I'm not even talking spending cash, just student loan cash! And with my powers of persuasion, I think I can make it happen. But here's the secret- she always wants to help people who've had some kind of hardship like illness or loss or blah blah blah. Frankly, aside from the whole broke thing, things have been going pretty well for me. So I will just own up to the fact that I don't really deserve the money per se, but it certainly wouldn't go unappreciated and, she will, in turn, appreciate my honesty and frankness. Isn't being shackled to the mediocrity of middle class enough to warrant a helping hand? I think so Oprah.

8. ROB A BANK. I recently saw Public Enemies, starring the incomparable Mr. Depp as John Dilinger and I liked what I saw. It's not my first choice, but if push comes to shove- you may soon know me as the Blogging Bandit.

9. GET A MASTER'S DEGREE. Getting a Master's Degree doesn't directly supply me with money but it does aid me in circumventing my current student loans. If I were to go back to school, they would defer my loans until I've completed my degree. Some of you might be asking, "But aren't you only creating more student loans for the future?" The answer- yeah, for sure. But- that's another time and another blog.

10. GET A JOB. This should probably be number one on the list seeing as how it's the most likely to happen. However, as the days go on, it continues to seem more unlikely, but it's not for lack of trying. So if you know someone who's looking to hire an Ann like me, I would appreciate it. And even though my degree is in Public Relations, I'm actually quite skilled at a number of things such as writing (duh), taking naps, reading books, painting nails (mostly my own), sipping tea, baking, and watching Arrested Development on DVD. I have a current resume and references available upon request. Obviously, if I were to get a job, numbers one through nine can be disregarded- except maybe number one, I'm still up for that.

I'm happily accepting further suggestions or money saving tips. I'm also accepting money.

1 comment:

  1. We have adult bikes we're not using here. Let me know if you want one, 'kay? I think we have about 3 of them.