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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ask the Internet

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You don't listen to advice from your mother. You don't want advice from your best friend. You ignore advice from your therapist. What you want is to have anonymous strangers on the Internet tell you what to do.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

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fae
New question for you:

I currently work full time and plan to go back to school. To make time for both, I've thought about cutting back on my hours at work. However, financial aid will only cover some of the expenses and I'm terrible at making and sticking to budgets. Should I cut back on my hours at work, or should I cut back on my hours at school?
  • Is it at all possible that you could handle working full time and going to school full time as well? It sounds pretty hard, but if you're not partying or keeping up an extremely active social life, it is possible, particularly if you manage to get a lot of your classes online. They take less time, since you don't have to drive anywhere and even if there are video lectures you can watch them in your spare time.

    If money is that much of an issue for you, maybe you'll want to try not doing school full time to start out with. Go half-time while working, and see how that is for you. But even if it is hard for you to stick to a budget you need to do it: That's one of those necessary life skills all of us who aren't trophy wives/gigolos have to master.

    Try making a spreadsheet to keep track of your income and expenses. Set aside some money for entertainment, because that is necessary, but don't go overboard. Keep track of your actual spending while you're at it, so you can compare that to your budget and revise as needed. Cut down on those things you spend too much money on (going out to restaurants, shopping, etc) and try to find replacements for them (learn to cook your favorite restaurant food for yourself, only buy clothes/movies/books/shoes when you really need them). True, it's not particularly fun to stick to a budget, but I've seen people who make $75k a year overspend. If you can't make a budget for yourself, sit down with someone who can do it for you, and then seriously stick to it. Use that entertainment money you set aside to reward yourself every week you come in under budget.
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