Luna's Landing

Another day, another lesson learned


Saving Money While in Grad School?????

Is it possible??

Here is what I have found out…

To start off, I would like to share a little back story..

I met my husband when I was 14. We were high school sweethearts! I took college classes in high school, and graduated high school early to keep up with him (cus we were so in love… bawww). I was in college for 4 years. In those four years my husband and I got married, and had two children. I missed one week worth of class for each child (while still breastfeeding!), and have never taken a summer off. I am now in my second year of my master’s program, and again took summer classes. I am a teaching assistant for my university, in which I get to teach the classes entirely on my own. My tuition is waved for my masters, but I had to take out student loans all four years of my bachelors.

I have lots of student debt… but i am not scared!!!

So here we are now.

My husband and I have now been together for nearly 9 years, and we are ready to buy a home, and stop living pay check to pay check.

If we want to start living this way once I graduate, we have to start saving now… like this very second.

Let me let you in on a little secret… I do research for a living.. I am pretty good at it… so I have done my homework here. I wanted to know:

How can I save each month?

Can I get a home loan with student debt?

What are banks looking at when they assess you for a home loan?

How much of a home loan can I afford?

And of course…. what kind of jobs can I get with a master’s degree in human communication (research focus on the LGBTQ community).

There are a bazillion tips out on the interweb on how to save money, but about for every 1,000 tips, I can use 1. Well, one is better than zero right?

So here are my tips after much research:

1. Write down your finances. Every penny. Start off with delegating your bills out to each pay check. For example: my charter and electric bill come out of my first check each month. My rent comes out of my last check each month. Next, total up how much you make and subtract how much you spend on bills, gas, and groceries. How much do you have left?? Can you put 10, 20, 30, 50% of your leftovers into savings? If so, do it!!

2. Bite the buck and buy groceries, lots of them. Get the kind of groceries that you make meals from scratch. You would be amazed at how much this will save you. Also, always make a little extra to take to work with you for lunch the next day. Eating a brown bag lunch every day will save you hundreds!! Also, buy store brand… you wont taste the difference. Remember, these meals do not have to be betty Crocker, just a filling meal. Extra tip: Aldi’s has the cheapest veggies, and Walmart has the cheapest chicken!

3. Get netflix… so this is $10 a month, how will that save me money?? Well a movie ticket is also $10.00 and it is just one part  of entertainment for one night!! Instead of going out with friends, invite them over, have everyone bring a snack to share, you can make some from your groceries, and watch a movie on netflix. Not enough? Start watching series on netflix that you can get addicted to. I like Walking dead, Lost, Downton Abbey, and a few more. Wanting to watch the next episode may keep you in and save you on gas, food, a movie ticket and more. Maybe you can get some class work done between as well!!

4. Stop using credit cards. If you can not afford it when you swipe it, you can not afford it. If you can not afford it, you will pay payments. If you pay payments, you are paying interest. If you are paying interest, you are spending more and more and more. Stop it.. now. Its a slippery slope…

5. Do not clip coupons. These are scams… did you know that??? “What a great deal!! $1.00 off something I wont need for three months, then I will forget I have it!” or “$2.00 off 2 of the same thing, I will have to get that, even though I have never used this brand before and would not have bought it if I never had a coupon.” No… Just no. You are spending more than you would have if you never had the coupon. If it is for free… fine, use it. If it is for something you buy regularly and you need, use it. Otherwise, THROW IT AWAY!!

6. Call your tv service and electric company. Are you paying the lowest rate you could be paying? Probably not. Charter reduces my bill every time I call.. I call about once every 6 months. Most electric companies can give you a set rate on your bill each month; is it lower than what you are paying now? If so, take advantage of that!!!

These are my 6 golden tips for now. I am hoping to find more!! I am saving a lot each month just by following these tips.

Do you have any more tips? Comment them below!

Do you want me to write tips on the other areas I have been researching? Leave me a comment, I will get to it ASAP!!!

Thanks for reading!


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Beauty is for superficial people…

Makeup, manicures, pedicures, fancy shmancy clothing.. all for fake superficial people.. right????

No, not really.

Listen, I love to just throw on sweats for the day and run out of the house with no makeup as much as the next grad student. Sometimes comfort really is a priority. I can not, and I will not sit in the library for 12 hours researching and writing like a mad man if my clothes and shoes are uncomfortable.

But here is the thing….

Humans like beauty. Does this seem superficial.. maybe.

In all societies and cultures we have different beliefs on what beauty is. However, one thing remains constant; beauty is related to the perceptions of intelligence, wealth, power, respect, and much more. When we see a well dressed man we believe he has worked hard in his life, he has a good job, and he is smart. Same with a woman. She is put together, intelligent, and has a good life.

This is what we think when we see beautiful people.

Did you know that teachers, instructors, and professors get higher student evaluations when they are perceived as good looking. Multiple studies have been done to show that appearance, more than any other attribution correlates with evaluations. Some studies have even gone as far to say that students listen, and possibly even learn more from good looking instructors.

Now, I know I can teach my students without looking like barbie, because trust me I don’t.

However, when teaching, I try a little harder. I am NOT trying to look sexy.. not sure if I am capable of that. I am trying to look professional.

I like to do this when buying a new car or any large purchase as well. Try it, you will find you are treated much better and often “win” more when you look more put together.

As I am in my 20s, I am just now really figuring out my style. I like layers, and bracelets, flats (even though I am short), earrings, scarfs, necklaces, and occasionally a cute hat. When I did costuming and makeup in my undergrad it was all for theater… and therefore I SUCK at every day makeup.

Then I found Kandee Johnson!!! I love this girl! Watch her, you will be in love as well. She does  everyday makeup as well as costume makeup. She shows you how to do high end and drug store brands of makeup (we all know this grad student uses the drug store brands). 

Anyways, now that I have found my own style, and understand how to do my makeup, I feel like superwoman. My confidence has boosted, heck, I think I walk a little taller. I have also noticed more respect from others.

Beauty is on the inside. But sometimes your inside shines more when you feel better on the outside.