The Worst Things to Say To Someone In Debt, Part II

17 May

Since I started this blog back in January, I’ve gotten a lot of penny advice about my student loan debt.  (Actually, I got a lot of it before I started this blog, but I didn’t bother to write it down.)  Penny advice, for the uninitiated, is any piece of advice that is obvious, unhelpful, or just downright rude.  It comes from people trying to offer their two cents, but what actually comes out of their mouths isn’t worth half of that.

In March, I wrote a post called The Top 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Debt.  A lot of people liked it.  Some of them wondered if it was all true (sadly, yes).  Others wondered if it made people stop saying things like that to me (sadly, no).  Still others wondered if I’d ever considered carrying a taser to silence the stupid people (Ok, there may have only been one person wondering that, but part of me felt like they may have been on to something).

The good news is that since people are still offering me terrible advice, I’m still writing it down to share with you.  You’re welcome.  So sit back and enjoy, or sit back and cringe inwardly like I do.  Either one works.

The Worst Things to Say to Someone in Debt, Part II

5. Why don’t you sell some of this stuff?  This is a hold-over from Part I.  It’s still on the list because it is still so commonly asked.  The short answer is, keep your hands off my books.  More diplomatically, I have sold (or tried to sell) the things I don’t use.  The problem is, no one wants to buy CDs from the 90s, and even fewer people want to buy a sibling.  The things that I still own are things that have a higher value to me than their prices.  They are books that I can get lost in over and over, movies that can still cast their spell, CDs with autographs and memories attached, and siblings that for whatever reason just don’t sell.  I’ve got a dozen or so DVDs listed on half.com right now, but the point remains the same.  If I buy something, I plan to use it until it breaks.  I’m not interested in its resale value.

4. Have you tried clipping coupons?  The short answer: yes.  Yes I have.  Coupons are very nice, when I can find them for the products that I use.  I have food allergies, and it’s rare to find sales or discounts on gluten-free foods.  Also, I have an extremely picky rabbit who has demonstrated several times that she would rather be hungry than eat any other type of food than her normal brand.  Naturally, that is the brand that never goes on sale.  So yes, I do hunt for deals and I do take advantage of sales, but I won’t sacrifice my health (or my pet’s health) in order to save 30 cents.

3. What do you want to do with your degree/ what are your goals?  This one isn’t actually unhelpful, but it still bugs me.  Mainly, I want to get out of debt.  Beyond that, I have no idea what I want to do.  Ok, that’s not true.  I do know what I want to do, it’s just hard to admit to it because it has little to nothing to do with my Master’s degree.  I want to write, I want to create things, and I want to be able to use my imagination every day.  When you say things like that to people, they smile politely and say, “Well, that’s nice.  But what do you want to do for a job?”  Convincing people that what I just said IS what I want to do for a job takes a lot of effort, and I usually just cave to the social pressure and say that I’m still trying to figure that out.  Lack of direction seems to be a more acceptable answer than the desire to work in creativity.  Go figure.

2. Isn’t there a better job out there?  Oh, I do love this one, especially when it’s said to me while I’m at work.  Actually, that’s really the only time I do hear this line.  I’m not sure why people feel the need to ask me if I’m looking for other employment when I’m obviously already employed somewhere, but I do wish they’d stop asking me that in front of my boss.  It makes for an awkward conversation later on.  While I’d love a full-time job, the simple answer is that there just aren’t many of those to be had, and even fewer of those in my field of study (or my field of choice).  Besides, I like my jobs.  They let me be silly, nerdy, and/or stay in my pajamas all day.  So no, there really aren’t better jobs out there.

1. Why don’t you go back to school?  The simple answer is because that’s how I got into this mess in the first place.  While being in school does defer my loans, I’m pretty sure that the loan companies would eventually catch on if I just went from degree program to degree program.  And before the inevitable follow-up can be asked, no, there actually aren’t grants out there that I can apply for.  I’m a middle-class white girl with a Master’s degree.  No one wants to give me money so I can go earn another degree.  Those grants are for first-time college attendees and single moms and those with more variety in their genetic backgrounds.  My Scottish/Irish self just does not qualify.  Believe me, I’ve checked.

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So there you have it.  Five more unhelpful things that people say to me regarding my student loan debt.  The good news is that for every bad thing someone has said to me, there are at least a dozen good things that I’ve heard.  Also, I checked my student loan balance this morning, and it’s $7,533.  That’s exactly $4,000 lower than my starting balance of $11,533.  4K paid off in five months- not quite where I had hoped to be, but much further than I would be without the blog.  I’ve found a lot of support through this blog in just five months, and I could not have gotten this far in my quest without each and every one of you.  Thank you.

And look- a pretty graph!  (You all know you wanted to see it.  I know exactly how many of you clicked on the picture of my budget last week.  73).

The colors are nice, but that blue line needs to get its act together pronto.

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3 Responses to “The Worst Things to Say To Someone In Debt, Part II”

  1. Filbert May 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Trick on the rabbit food if you really need to save that 30 cents. Mix in the new food with the old food. Little bits at first, then work up to 50/50, then increase until you change over to the new brand completely. Usually takes about a month, and the Rabbit migh be fussy at first. But eventually it will eat everything, as soon as that happens start the switch.

  2. Whoa_Mary May 18, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Congrats on paying down your loan $4,000 in just 5 months. That is an incredible accomplishment. 🙂

    • Losing My Cents May 18, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks. There have been some ups and downs along the way, and I’m sure there will be more in the next 7 months, but I am very proud of that $4k. 🙂

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