General chatter - anyone else poor?

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06-07-2008, 08:01 PM
I know this sounds weird, but I wanted a little reassurance. My DH has 1 more year of college and is working at an electronics store, and I'm a teacher. I'm also trying to save money to take Master's classes. We live in a cheap apartment, don't have cable, and I'm paying off my car (his is paid for!).
The problem is, I feel so bad we live paycheck to paycheck. I'm one of those worrywarts that likes to be prepared for anything, lol. I even made my DH sock away our income tax refund to have as "rainy day/emergency money."
We've been married a year and don't have kids. When he graduates in a year, his starting salary should match mine, which is great. We eat out twice a week (I know, I know, that's too often), but we really don't splurge on anything. No credit cards, no vacations, we don't drink or smoke. I even buy my produce at a farmer's market to save money.
So my question is: Is it just us, or are most young couples just starting out this pitiful? I know that sounds funny, but I think I'd feel better if I knew this was normal.
I'm proud of the fact that we don't use credit cards, and our cars are pretty fuel efficient (plus I only live a mile away from my work). I think I'm pretty thrifty, and my family agrees. In fact, my mom still likes me to grocery shop for her because I'm good at finding deals, ha ha! But do any other young marrieds have any tips on living cheaper?
Sorry for the ramble--like I said, I'm a worrywart and I was just curious if DH and I were the only young couples who weren't millionaires!

06-07-2008, 08:12 PM
First of all, you're not pitiful at all. You've got little debt, good futures, and you're smart enough to put some money away for a rainy day. Nothing pitiful about any of that.

Secondly, you're supposed to be poor. You're young and struggling and it'll make you appreciate things more later on. People seem to think that they are supposed to start off where their parents ended up. You're not. Unless you're a trustfund baby, it takes years to get to a point where you can comfortably take vacations, buy houses and new cars and generally not worry about money on a daily basis.

You'll actually look back on these years with affection so try and enjoy them now.

06-07-2008, 08:18 PM
Thanks Robin! I appreciate the pep talk:) I know, we are doing okay for newlyweds. Thank God our parents raised us to hate credit cards! I have student loans, but in Texas, if you teach special education in a low socioeconomic school for 5 years, the government pays them off. How cool is that?!?!

06-07-2008, 08:20 PM
You are not pitful. You are planning for your future by not getting into debt with credit cards now. Shopping at the Farmer's Market is great - local produce has more nutrition than the stuff in grocery stores. You can do this for one more year. My husband and I started out the same way 36 years ago.

06-07-2008, 08:21 PM
I'm with you sister!!!

It makes me SO MAD when my fiance's bosses scoff at the fact they we haven't purchased a house yet. "Well, we purchased a house right out of college".

Yeah. Ok. When college was affordable and your house cost $30,000.

With the college debt and the fact that the housing bubble burst making it difficult for those just starting out to get financed, not to mention the SKYROCKETING cost of everything, yeah, we are hurting. We just barely make it (paycheck to paycheck) and figuring out how to pay for a wedding. Our (only) car is on its last legs (and DF wants to take on a $470 car payment :eek:)...

I know whining is uncool, but we both make somewhat reasonable salaries and we can't afford a house. We can't even afford to get married and our budget is well under half the cost of a typical American wedding. I know so many people who have been given cars and have been "gifted" down payments by their parents. I know I have to have some rich aunt out there somehwere :p

06-07-2008, 08:21 PM
I agree with Robin - I'm 27 and my long term bf is 28, we've been together for over 6 years - we both work, own a home, no cable, no credit cards, paying for both of our cars...and it can still be tough and make you feel like a loser some times. I see people my age going on vacations that I can't afford, eating out more often that I can afford, or shopping more than I can afford. We make decent just doesn't seem to go all that far. I honestly believe that this is the way it is meant to be until we are a little bit more established in our post-college years....but I also think that it's okay to live as we gives you character! :)

06-07-2008, 08:23 PM
People seem to think that they are supposed to start off where there parents ended up.

I think this is the problem. Sometimes we get so sucked into where we *think* we should be. Perhaps we are exactly where we are supposed to be- in a cheap apartment taking public transportation and we have a really cool dog.

06-07-2008, 08:44 PM
Can totally relate.

My boyfriend and I are only 19 - so we're still living off student loans, and definitely living pay check to pay check. We're getting by, but it's a struggle. Our date nights consist of 99 cent block buster rentals, and we're starting to take the bus instead of driving because with our student IDs we get free public transport (which we're really thankful for).

We're not SO bad off. We've saved enough money to go home to my family for Thanksgiving, which is a 3,000 dollar trip with all the airfare and everything - but we're absolutely having to get rid of the luxuries (like gas money or fancy dinners) to get there.

Luckily, we're still in the "Too in love to care about the hard-times" phase, but God help us if/when that starts to fade.

06-07-2008, 08:46 PM
I don't think my BF and I are NOT really young, but we live paycheck to paycheck, cheap apartment too, we spend a lot of extra money on things we like and that make our lives a little easier, we have a little debt, and have a little savings too... It sucks, but we are good people and work hard. That is what really counts =)

06-07-2008, 09:10 PM
My daughter...research analyst (who just finished her Master's) and her coach can relate!

My son and daughter in law...both high school teachers...are a little better off....teaching pays pretty well in our area!

AWESOME!!!! having no credit card debt...same as my kids...I could just "kill 'em all" the way the credit companies hand those cards out like candy!!!!!!!

DON'T even get me started on that!!...poor kids!

And our society today of WANT- WANT -WANT!!....guilty myself sometimes!

You are on the right track dear! It will get better!

I bought my first house at age 19...I already owned 1/2 a tri-plex with my isn't the same these days...

I made $10 an hour taping drywall piece work back then...a nice little 10 yr. old track home cost $30,000....payments were $240.00 a month...not easy but way more doable than compared to today's wages and home prices.

You keep doing what you are doing kiddo...and sleep well at night! PRAYERS!

06-07-2008, 09:17 PM
LOL, your post resonated with me. We married at age 21, I had just graduated and DH was still in college (Pharmacy School). I took a civil service job making $10,000 per year, and that is what we lived on until he graduated. Live paycheck to paycheck -yup. Ate lots of what was on sale. Bought clothes second-hand. And those were some of the happiest years! You are not poor - you are very rich - in the things that really count!
Savor and cherish these times. They are precious :D

And - they will pass - more quickly than you can imagine. As DH and I move closer to retirement, we still remember fondly those first few years.

06-07-2008, 09:20 PM
I've been married for 26 years and I still feel poor. I try to put a little money away, but I have two kids in college. Then I have two daughters who'll get married some day, so I know I'll need money for that. I guess I'm lucky that other than the mortgage, we have very little debt, but we also don't have money put away for retirement like they say you should. With the costs of everything going up and with raises at work a thing of the past, there always seems to be less and less. Our stimulus check went to pay bills. We rarely, if ever take a real vacation. We might drive somewhere fairly close for a few days, but never take big trips like some of my friends do. I know some people that do that put it all on credit cards, which we would never do. My husband is very frugal too. I use coupons and buy stuff on sale. I've started to pay bills online so I don't have to buy stamps/envelopes. When we should be looking at retirement soon, we have no plans to quit work anytime in the near future. (We're in our 50's) I look at my mother-in-law who saved money all her life and has a huge investment portfolio & wonder how they ever did it. She will never have to worry about needing money in her old age. Obviously they lived a lot simpler than we do & put more money away.

06-07-2008, 09:52 PM
What you are experiencing is called LIFE, you work hard, save your money and you will be just fine, many well to do people started out just like you.

06-07-2008, 09:53 PM
We are in NEARLY the same boat as you are. We've been married 4 years though. I'm halfway through college to be a teacher go figure here in the Dallas area of Texas as well. My husband makes a decent living being an auto mechanic but since his salary is so inconsistent and commission based some months it is very tough since some months he brings in 3k then the next month can bring in only half that so we are constantly scrimping and saving and it's really stressful especially now again with the economy slowing down.We live in a fairly cheap apartment that is older as well and does not have fancy amenities and it's pretty large too for the price compared to the newer and fancier apartment complexes around us. We do not go out to eat anymore, have no car payments- I have a 12 year old honda civic and my husband has a 2002 ford ranger that was paid off before we even got married and we live less than a mile from his job so he actually bicycles to work for exercise 2-3 times a week. We are paying off some debt we have that is less than 6k and some of it is credit card debt and some of it is a school loan debt. I will never again use credit cards unless it's to buy food or medication or gas in an absolute emergency but we had to do that the first couple of years to eat after all the bills were paid and the money was gone with none left for groceries. We know of a couple that we are no longer friends with at this time last year they had close to 50k in credit card debt from fancy dinners, and fancy cruises and vacations. We have decided if my car were to break down and is not fixable I would be driving the truck to school and we would be a one vehicle household for awhile until I am done with college. I'm feeling the same way right now feeling like we never are able to get ahead. I know it will change once I'm 25 in 9 months since I am due some money from my deceased father's estate- it will go towards paying off the rest of the debt, paying for us both to go to a dentist/eye doctor, a small family trip to see family in Minnesota-we are most likely going to be driving since we will save money as opposed to flying and then a small camping trip in a nearby area to enjoy some nature and whatever else is left is going in a savings account of some sort for a future down payment on a house and especially once I'm done with college though it will get better and all we can do is ride it out until then. I realize most people don't even get money from a deceased parent's estate and I do count my blessings for that since that is what has enabled me to go to college without having to work full time.

06-07-2008, 10:08 PM
You are not alone. There are tons of us out there like that.

In my case, hubby and I got married when I was 21 and he was 19. Neither of us have finished school, but he is in the military. I currently do not have a job since unemployment is so high here. Most military wives here are unemployed but have applied at every single place they can possibly apply at. So most times our job application sits with hundreds of others. Hopefully I'll be able to find one soon.

We live paycheck2paycheck on his paycheck that we receive on the first of the month. We have a $355 car payment, our insurance for his car and him as the only driver is $345 because he's a young driver and got his license at 20 and had a wreck. We then have a payment for his computer that he took got. A lot of military towns have the "Get it NOW for no money down" but then its an outrageous amount later. Did he really need a $5000 computer? Which by the way doesnt work all that well now.. Good thing we only owe two more months on it and its paid off.

We live on post and its $925 a month, but that includes our lovely three bedroom/two bath house with all utilities paid and fence rental for our back yard.

By the time all bills are paid I have about $400 to buy groceries for the month and to fuel my husbands car for the month (barely). My truck for the most part will sit empty or close to empty. The last time I filled up was in Feb. I'm still on that tank of gas in my truck. It goes NOWHERE.

Also I have unpaid credit cards from being a stupid teenager that have caught up with me. Which is only going to make it harder on us.

But I don't think we'd change the way it is. I prefer that we start out this way that way we have to work at making everything perfect for us. I wouldn't want it the easy way because then we'd never know if we could handle it when things got tough. And then theres the fact that all this is making us stronger as a couple.

We may not go out to movies or out to eat all the time like other couples may do, but then again we're more of the stay at home type anyway. Nothing beats cuddling with my hubby on the couch while we watch a movie.

Sorry this got long, I just couldn't seem to stop once I started.

06-07-2008, 10:39 PM
Hubby and I are in the same boat, but by a different route, and a bit backwards. When we were first married five years ago we both had great jobs (we married a bit later in life, me at 35 and hubby 32). My husband lost his job and I was having weird health problems and we each had to have a couple surgeries which led to bankruptcy. I had to go on disability, and we moved to Wisconsin and went from an income of $75,000 to $25,000. Then hubby fell on the ice a couple winters ago and tore his rotator cuff very badly and had to have surgery. He never regained full use of the arm and a pre-existing degenerative joint disease (inherited from his mother, he had his first surgery at 16 or 17), worsened, so he too had to go on disability.

There's a slight possibility that I might someday be able to return to work, if my autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia go into remission. However, Hubby's disability is degenerative. We're lucky that we had good jobs, because while our buget is very tight, it would have been much tighter if we'd had lower paying jobs. We're just over the limit for assistance programs (mostly because such programs take income into account, but not medical and medication expenses). So, we're likely to be poor indefinitely.

But, we're frugal, and in some ways our quality of life is better than when we were healthier (in body and pocketbook). We do eat out more frequently than we should, but we have some good ridiculously inexpensive restaurants in our area. Their are 3 family restaurants, 2 mexican restaurants, 1 chinese restaurant, and 1 thai restaurant that we can have a nice meal for about $10 for the two of us, and still take home leftovers. We shop Aldis, Big Lots and other liquidation stores, thrift stores, Walmart, and in the summer farmers' markets.... and take advantage of things like the free concerts in the park. We use as our only phone and so we pay under $90 a month for our television, internet access, and telephone combined.

Knowing that our situation really is not normal (yet all too common) did make it more difficult at first, but we've come to grips with the fact that normal or not, it is what it is. We're managing fine, and we've found out how many fun, free or nearly so things are out there to do. In many ways our standard of living is at least as good, if not better than when we were working, but we had to redefine our expectations and goals. Whether our situation will someday change for the better, or for the worse, I guess we'll just adjust to whatever comes our way.

06-07-2008, 10:43 PM
Dh & I live paycheck to paycheck. The first year we were married, we were horribly poor. We'd run out of food and would live on emergency food like velveeta, easy mac & roman noodles. I can never eat any of those foods ever again. My mom had to save us a couple of times because our cable & phone almost got disconnected a couple of times. We couldnt drive our car, cuz dh had a couple of tickets and couldnt afford to pay them off. We never went anywhere, had no internet or cell phones. It was just really horrible. We could only afford to fly to Az if my mom paid for it. And that year we went home twice. Once in the summer..then again for Christmas & New Years. My mom finally gave me my own credit card and that seriously saved us. But we live on base, so we didnt have to pay rent or utilities. Of course..they took that money out of our paycheck which is why it was so low. But then when dh made rank..we got a pay raise..and that helped us out a lot. Plus, it helped when he deployed. We got hazard pay, separation pay, his reenlistment bonus, plus his usual paycheck.

Right now though, I'm really stressing about moving. We decided to live off base so we can collect on the BAH. So thats no problem..But driving to MD is what I'm worried about. Hotels and gas prices are stressing me out. We're planning on buying this travel book that will tell us the places that offer Military discounts, but that sometimes isnt enough. Half of our money will go to gas probably. Plus..I wanted to start going to college for massage therapy. I dunno how I'm gonna pay for it. Probably financial aid. DH wants to go to college too..for auto mechanics. (he's already an EN in the Navy). But he's taken care of, cuz he's in the military.

We are going to start trying for a baby when we move. My friend already said she'd give me her crib, and hand me down clothes..but only if I have a boy, lol. If I have a girl, then I'm screwed on that one.

To be totally honest though..I think we're going to be fine. I worry way too much. Dh has a better understanding of our finances than I do. I suck with money. I'm only good at spending it, lol. We may not have a lot of money and are always living paycheck to paycheck..but we're happy.

06-07-2008, 10:54 PM
I feel like puking.
I don't have a lot of credit card debt, but it's there. Last year I bought a house. I only bring home like $1000 per month, my mortgage is $838. That lives me very little for groceries, gas, insurance, utilities, blah blah blah, and credit card debts. I am always broke. And I can't even get divorced because I can't afford it. HA HA HA.

When I first got married my husband brought home all the money and due to my mental illnesses, I didn't work. I wasn't allowed to spend his money or make suggestions, so even though he made GOOD money, he spent it all on gambling and b.s. There were weeks we would go to the store and pick out a weeks worth of ramen and hamburger helper. ON a good week. So I know i'm better off now..BUT GEEZ.

I can't even classify this as "paycheck to paycheck" because it doesn't matter which pay check I land on, It's already all spent.

By the way, I live in a house with my grandmother (who I care for), my brother (who just got out of prison and can't find work) and my bf (who quit his job).

I take care of 4 people and all the bills with my crappy wages.

I'm glad it's not just me.

Chicky - You are doing AWESOME. It will get better. Obviously you guys are doing what you need to do and have really good heads on your shoulders.

06-07-2008, 11:39 PM
DH and I are both teachers. We've been married 4 years, no kids. I'm 40, and he's 37 (almost exactly like you and your DH, Colleen!).

I feel like we are doing ok now, but most of my twenties were spent quite poor - I ate lots of canned beans and popcorn for dinner in those days, and I also always planted a small garden in the summers. I did a lot of scrounging under the floor mats of my car to get change for a couple gallons of gas. I lived in some run down little places too, which I always loved for their "character". I started teaching at 27, and $ got a little better then, but I still had several years of student loans and debt to pay off. It's tough.

I think I never really expected to make much money; therefore, it never really surprised me to not have any. Hang in there... as you can see, lots of people are (or were) in the same position as you are now. Things will get better, and the lean times do build character!

06-07-2008, 11:50 PM
I personally feel that no cable is a good thing. It is really an unnecessary expense and Netflix is a MUCH cheaper option although I understand if you don't splurge on even that.

Being poor is what being young is about. I was poor throughout college and even when I got a decent paying job after college, the job was in an expensive area and I had new expenses I never dealt with before like a car and car insurance. It was a bit of a struggle to figure out how to deal with my income and expenses and took me a few years to figure out. Things did get better though. Although I still cut expenses where necessary, such as not having cable, shopping for deals, etc.

Living paycheck to paycheck may be rough and isn't the way to go for the rest of your life, but it is understandable when you are young and out on your own. When you do get a chance, do start saving, every month, at least something (10% is a good guideline). Then you can save more. I know it can be stressing when you have little/no money to spare.

Shopaholic - I drove from CO to MD, it took 3 days, which meant 2 nights sleeping in motels. The motels were reasonably priced at around $50 (including tax and often some continental breakfast). I'm not a big fan of motels but when you are in and out, they aren't bad.

06-08-2008, 12:01 AM
You guys are not poor at all; you are actually doing very well, especially when you consider the cost of living today. When my DH & I started out, we lived in a small one bedroom rented cottage with no running water and wood heat only. We grew or raised a lot of our own food; and you would gasp if you knew how little we were living on some months.

Things are better now becuz we soon had to learn how to be extremely frugal and thrifty; and we still are today. We had only ONE VEHICLE which is really all most people starting out need. There is often ways that people can cut back, but they make excuses for the second vehicle, insurance, gas, and eating dinner out multiple times each week.

Most people can't afford expensive vacations unless it's on credit and I won't go there. It is essential that you put something away in savings even if it's only $5.00 a pay; I think most people can afford $25-50 a month, if they want to do it. Sometimes, it's better to have a part-time job and walk or take the bus than do without too much until a full-time position comes up.

I know people that have started there own repair and cleaning businesses when they couldn't land work: there is work out there, if you know how to get it. People here need grass cut, snow shovelled, painting done, repairs made, stuff moved, trash thrown out or towed away, and so on; and this will be more so as the population ages becuz they will hire people to help out around their homes. You have to be on the lookout for opportunities all the time, even if you have to make them come about yourself.

Our income isn't high, but we have no debt and are doing fine. I am meticulous in my budget, put away savings each month and whenever any extra money (like income tax) comes our way. I save all our coins and wrap them and save those for Christmas gifts and other special stuff. We recently bought a great car using some of these savings; no debt!

As a college student (I went twice), I walked or took public transit. We are renting becuz the cost of homes today is absurd. Financial experts will tell you that if you can rent cheaper than own a home, then you should RENT, until you can afford to buy a house only! We don't have cable TV, my computer was given to my by someone who bought themselves a new one, and we have dial-up internet becuz it's cheapest (as low as $10-24).

We pay rent and hydro, phone, internet, car insurance, and that's all. For some larger purchases (ie our refrigerator), we had one credit card to use wisely only one large item at a time; we buy on sale only, pay half or more cash down and rest in 1 or 2 payments; and for any small items we pay cash only. Each year, we buy one big thing if needed only: this year we are buying a small rototiller for our garden.

We eat out only 1-2 times a month at most; there have been many we didn't. We look for sales always, and go to farmer's market; I make homemade stuff and put in freezer. I even make jams and relishes (like chunky chillie sauce). I do whatever I need to, to make ends meet; most times, if we can't afford it, we don't buy it ...

Honestly, we are happier than many people who buy and buy and fret over their bills; and I don't feel deprived. We even buy second-hand whenever we can (I mean items in good condition like antique furniture). DH even made some of our furniture.

ANYHOW, sorry if I was long-winded, but you can always do better than you think are doing now ... you know the adage "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves!" Well, it's very true; start saving all your change in a jar for those things you want, and you will be surprised how fast it piles up! From what I read, compared to millions of people on this earth, you are a millionaire! If you don't believe me, just ask someone in Calcutta ...


06-08-2008, 11:54 AM
Wow, thanks for all the feedback! I feel better now, knowing I'm not the only one, lol! I'm trying to get us to eat out less, and I work really hard so I don't have to ask our parents for help, even though I know none of them would mind.
DH's aunt is going to let us live in one of her houses next year so we can pay cheaper rent and save for a house. She's a wonderful lady (she's also the minister that married us). And she owns some land in the city that she is giving to us to build a house on someday.
I think we're fine; I'm just a worry wart. I'm so thrilled and thankful for the sweet responses. I know it'll get better, I just feel bad trying to save money for my Master's classes when I could be setting it aside for a house. Then again, it's not like I'm blowing the money on shoes or a fancy car...

Shy Moment
06-08-2008, 12:28 PM
lol most people really have NO idea what bring poor is all about. I grew up with no indoor plumbing and no running water. There was an out house and a well. There was plenty of food if the garden and hunting went well. If they didn't there wasn't enough food. Now, I am not poor, I am average I guess. We lived in a very small two bedroom house with 2 children for 10 years before we SAVED ( oh I forgot that is a dirty word these days lol ) enough for a down payment on a house so we could afford the payment and not have to worry about losing our house ever day. We do not eat out, that is a waste of money to me. We shop at goodwills when we can. Spending money on new clothes if you can get them used is a waste of money to me lol. I guess how we look at things depends on where we have come from. My kids really have no idea what it is like to do without. Don't we all make that same mistake with our children. To them doing without and being poor means they don't have all the things other kids have lol.

06-08-2008, 12:41 PM
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06-08-2008, 12:42 PM
I do think being poor is very relative. There is obviously true poverty but I think the poster was really talking about struggling with finances. I think most of us at one point in our life will struggle with finances.

Personally I was amazed at my grandparents who never made much money throughout their working career (low income jobs) but were still able retire and still able to do things like travel, send their kids to college, etc because they started saving money when they were young. They didn't splurge when they were young and were able to not worry about finances despite their relatively low incomes.

06-08-2008, 01:04 PM
Actually, you are going about things in a SENSIBLE fashion. After way too much time moderating frugality groups, I can tell you that most people DON'T have the sense that you have. You are decades more mature than your peers. What many of them are living is an illusion. 2 student loans, 2 car loans, a HUGE mortgage, and a half dozen credit cards is NOT a wise lifestyle choice.

I can tell you that when their house of cards falls, they are looking for the information that your common sense gave you from the get-go. You obviously have gotten the fiscal impulse control thing in great shape for your age. Kudos! Keep filling the emergency fund, 'cause stuff happens!

06-08-2008, 10:51 PM
Thanks Marbles! We have student loans too, but DH will be able to pay his off easily when he graduates, thanks to locking in those nice low interest rates:) And mine will be paid off by the government after I teach special education for 5 years in my state.
You guys are right. I'm realize that I'm not "poor", just tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Thanks for keeping me in check, chickies!!

Koren Michelle
06-08-2008, 11:10 PM
I can totally relate. I think the most depressing moment of my life was a month after graduation, receiving my student loan bill and realizing I could not pay it.
I have been a working girl most of my life, since I was in high school I worked hard and went to night school for years, and after busting my behind for close to a decade I'm completing an advanced degree and finding I'm qualified to receive slightly more to pour a man's coffee. Nice!
My long term partner came to this country from Cuba in his mid twenties, a place that IS truly impoverished. He told me at one point cats were dissapearing from the streets because people were eating them. Throughout his life he'd heard stories about the greatness of America, but after coming here he's still not convinced. Although there are opportunities and we're not eating domesticated animals, I find his opinion so interesting. He's mentioned the lack of community in this country, which I now see and totally agree with. We are suffering the effects of extreme capitalism, gluttony and greed. We are totally going in thr wrong direction. I hope and pray that things turn around. I have spent most of my life in non-profit and I've seen the worst of poverty and desperation. In reality, many of us are just a paycheck away from being homeless. It's not that far off of a reality!
So please do not feel bad. So many of us are in the same situation and it's not unusual at all, especially not now!

06-08-2008, 11:18 PM
I lived in Bosnia for two years when I was younger (13/14), most of the time without running water. The sense of community was absolutely incredible and life-changing though. It took a huge amount of time to adapt back to life in the states. I agree whole-heartedly, Koren.

My boyfriend and I also don't have credit cards, and we've opened up savings accounts to start saving for our student loan bills (though we're only Sophomores) - but with books alone being over $600 per semester, used, it's already so stressful and exhausting to think about. Preparing for the future is proving a lot scarier than I'd anticipated.