All in Money

My Journey to Tackling $29k in Student Loan Debt in 1 Year

Last May I graduated college with a student loan balance of $29,000. Being an individual who was always mindful of my spending, this number was daunting. I had never even left a balance on my credit card.

Yet, I could still find relief in knowing that I was below the national average. 2017 graduates average nearly $40,000 in student loan debt. The United States altogether holds $1.48 Trillion in student loan debt. Talk about monstrous. And honestly, I don’t see it declining in the near future.

Even though $29,000 seemed immense, I knew that if I made smart decisions and planned accordingly I could make it work. Fast forward to June of 2018 and I’m officially free of student loan debt.

With graduates taking on increasingly more debt each year, I thought I’d share my story.

6 Tips for Renting Your First Home

Dealing with landlords can be a serious game of chess. In my first rental home, I didn’t tend to the daily maintenance that was required on my behalf and karma came for my roommates and me when it came to moving time. We were required to give the rental a deep clean before we moved out, which we overlooked in the contract. Since we didn’t tend to these areas throughout our time living in the house, it required much more work than if we had.

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2017

We owe everyone who has contributed their stories at least a year’s worth of lattes as a token of our gratitude, but alas, this simple “thank you” will have to carry the weight of our appreciation instead. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has written for, read, and supported That First Year this past year. We exist because of and for YOU and we can't wait for what 2018 will bring to this community. 

Here are the top 10 most-read posts of 2017. Enjoy these stories from some incredible writers.

4 Ways to Earn Free Starbucks

As I’m sure most of you can relate, my budget has been openly shaming my excessive coffee spending habits. But I bring tidings of joy to you Starbucks-lovers-on-a-budget: there are ways to earn free Starbucks.

5 Meal Tips for the Broke and Busy

If you do grocery planning and shopping right, it can be easy, fun, and budget-friendly. As a recent college grad, I know your time is limited, money is tight (maybe more than expected), and healthy food just doesn’t sound good at the end of a long work day. But I have some tips and tricks that will make this transition easier for you when it comes to planning and preparing your meals. I’ve also included one of my favorite recipes below, fried Quinoa; it’s both healthy and mouth-watering!

Holiday Spending: A New Way to Spend Your Holiday Budget

Oddly enough, Christmas shopping has become more difficult now that I can afford presents. With a decent budget and dozens of people to gift, my creativity and shopping abilities have been put to the test. My Google searches are all paraphrases of “what to get (insert relative/friend here) who likes (insert hobby/interest here).” After hours on Amazon and Etsy, I found myself at Walmart last Saturday staring at prepackaged spa gifts and touch sensitive desk lamps. My mind spent the whole time trying to fit items to recipients and price tags to budgets. I spent my money, spent my time, spent my energy, and spent my patience. Hours later, I lay on the couch still searching for the right present for all the right people in my life.

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of 2016

One of the best parts about running That First Year is getting to read all of the stories y’all send to me and thinking “Wow, that gal or guy is one helluva writer!” I’m forever grateful to be given this opportunity to take care of this space, creating community through stories shared of That First Year after college and beyond.

Below is a list of 10 posts that received the most reads this year. Give these posts a read as we bring this year to a close.

The Weary World: Practical Ways to Give This Christmas Season

So how can we help the oppressed around the world during this season of giving? How can we help bring forth a “new and glorious morn” for our brothers and sisters who are suffering? One way is to donate to the charities and nonprofits who are doing the hard work on the ground to alleviate suffering. Here is a list of suggested organizations who are in need of your support this Christmas season.

A New Blog, A Better Blog

New things, better things.

That’s been a go-to phrase for me for the past several months, a reminder in a rather transition-heavy and emotionally-turbulent time in my life to keep my eyes set on the good things to come rather than the worries I usually burden myself with needlessly.

And in the spirit of new things, better things comes along That First Year getting a makeover.