Personal Finance

In the last few months, I've become a bit personal finance-obsessed. While I'm still not especially sophisticated when it comes to personal finance knowledge, I feel like I've learned a few useful things in the last year. I did not think about managing my money carefully in the first few years after I graduated college because I found personal finance intimidating, which proved to be a mistake, albeit one that I can hopefully bounce back from fairly quickly. Because I spent the last several years as a graduate student who had to take on substantial loans to cover the cost of living (despite a generous scholarship that covered a little less than half of my substantial tuition), I still have a long way to go, but I enjoy working on my personal finances now, and will hopefully continue to make better choices.

Student Debt

I'm one of those people who finished an American graduate school program with a solid six figures in student debt, basically all of it from law school. I'm fortunate enough to have gotten my professional start in a biglaw job that will allow me to repay my debt with reasonable speed, and I project that I will pay off my student loans entirely with about six years of aggressive repayment, seven because of the time I'll be spending in a judicial clerkship. (A kind commenter on another blog directed me to this spreadsheet template for calculating how much time it will take to finish paying off debt.) Because of my career goals, I took a pay cut to do a clerkship, a short term position, a year after I started work, though I intend to return to biglaw afterwards.

Shopping and Budgets

In the meantime, I post quite often about spending decisions through my monthly shopping budgets. My shopping budget for clothes and accessories is now $2040.00/year for an average of $170/month. I do plan on a few big-ticket purchases that will be separate from my month-to-month shopping budget. I keep track of my spending on beauty products each month too, but because I'm more confident that I won't over-buy in those categories, I don't have a set budget for the year.

My monthly budget posts include almost everything fashion and beauty related that I buy each month. The fashion shopping reports disclose all clothing, shoe, and accessories purchases, with the exception of items such as sleepwear, activewear, socks and the like. For beauty purchases, I now report everything except for items I buy while abroad, which comes out of my travel budget.

Other Personal Finance Thoughts

My posts that are more directly focused on how I manage the big picture of my finances are tagged as "money" posts. 

For those who are just getting started, I highly recommend both I Will Teach you to be Rich by Ramit Sethi and On My Own Two Feet by Manisha Thakor and Shannon Kedar, as well as the software You Need a Budget (YNAB) (old version). I find that highly involved, near-daily micromanaging of my finances and budget with YNAB is the best way for me to begin meeting my financial goals, while still allowing me to shop and occasionally spend money on indulgent things like vacations and dining out with friends. 

1 comment:

  1. It's never too late to start learning about personal finance. This is especially true since it's not something than anyone bothers to teach you in undergraduate or law school. Who knew that managing your Biglaw income would be a part-time job in and of itself? And yeah, it's a good problem to have, but it's still a problem figuring out all the things you should be doing and learning the lingo.

    Congratulations on the clerkship and the solid plan to get the debt paid off!


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