August 13, 2010

Money Troubles

Okay, so Germany is great, right? Well, that hasn’t changed. But today it kind of sucks because I realized that all of my credit card and medical bills from the States are due… now. And I have no money to pay for them. Unless I give all of my meager au pair wages over to the United States debt collection. There are multiple problems surfacing here:

  1. I don’t have a bank account yet and therefore, have no way to transfer money to my US bank accounts to pay my bills/debt. Because of this, I have been paying bills with other credit cards. BAD!
  2. I make 450 EUR a month. I owe about $180 a month in CC bills and medical expenses from some cracked out dentistry work in Jan/Feb. That’s roughly 140 EUR a month that I need to set aside, bringing my total down to 310 EUR of monthly income. Which is still better than most au pairs but when I spend all of my money all the time, this becomes a problem. Plus, I want to enjoy my time here and worrying about money keeps that from happening.
  3. I didn’t budget or save any money before I came to Germany to leave any in my bank accounts so I keep getting all of these stupid overdraft fees for automatic payments whose origins I am unsure of.
  4. I am expected to pay for my own language course and soon. This requires that I fork over about 200 EUR. Anybody have an illegal copy of Rosetta Stone they want to give me? Because that’d be stellar. I have absolutely no morals and would pirate really expensive software to save myself spending real money. Also, I’d like to travel out of Germany eventually and that requires money. A week and a half New Year adventure in England is going to be expensive, too. Damn.
  5. Come November 22nd, I will have $41,000 of student loans on my shoulders. Being in Germany means that I can probably get a deferment plan going but either way, that $41k is still there… quietly looming. And, eventually, when I go back to school for my Masters, this total will only increase. I hope I get a really good job someday or, at least, marry some intelligent and handsome rich guy. Ha. Wouldn’t that be nice? Of course, all the feelings of personal accomplishment that came with finishing college would go out the window the second my charming husband paid off all of my student loans. A girl can dream.


I’m at the point where I kind of don’t care anymore. Yeah, so my credit rating will plummet to a negative three digit number, I’ll never be able to ever rent my own apartment or get an auto loan, and I’ll probably be hounded by collections or have to go bankrupt. Fortunately, I’m abroad and no one can find me. And if I never return to the US – EVER - does that mean that I never have to go back to my astronomical amounts of debt? Call me irresponsible but that sounds awesome. Because it’s not like the US economy will ever be able to offer me a well paying job anytime soon. I can just live in my mom’s basement apartment until I’m 45. Stellar.

Sigh. I hate being a grown up responsible (or not) adult. I’m 23 (almost 24) years old and I already feel like I’m financially screwed. So many of my au pair friends here have told me how their parents are paying their bills for them while they’re gone and I am so jealous. Not that I resent my parents for not being able to do this – if they could they would – but it’d be nice to not have to worry about this stuff for a while. Honestly though, it’s not their problem. I should be able to take care of my own shit. I’ve been independent for a long time. Never more so than right now doing this whole crazy German adventure thing.

I guess I just need to figure it out – make a plan of action and try to stick to it. I’m so bad at budgeting but I will try. And if you’re feeling generous around the holidays, please think of me. I’m always open for advice too. How do you manage your money on a small budget? Until I figure out the answer to this question, I’m going to be stressing out.



Nexxius said...

If your credit cards are becoming an issue I'd suggest getting rid of them and go to a debt consolidation agency like . They can consolidate the cards and setup a payment plan that works with you as well as provide ACH payments through your bank. The company I mentioned got me out of a bind so I recomend them. As far as getting money to your account stateside...if your bank is national you can wire transfer money (western union, EFT at a bank, etc) or possibly take a picture of a check & deposit slip and email it to them (some banks allow this). You need to get a local account because you will be paying a fee for those transfers. Worst case get some money orders and snail mail them to a family member to deposit.

Kinsey Michaels said...

I have always been financially independent too, even though my 2 younger sisters were spoiled up the wazoo, so I know how you feel. I've never had student loans since I never went to college, so I'm sure that's a big weight on your shoulders :( I hope things get better Heather!

Rebecca said...

Bit torrent the rosetta stone.

PaintaPicture said...

My BF has a rosetta stone knock off and it's just like it, called Instant Immersion German, it was like $35 or something and works well.

My advice about your debt... Stop letting it get the best of you, because it will take over your life. Did you hear me? It will take over your life. You already know what to do. Figure out how much you have to set aside each month and do it. Then keep your budget and don't create any new debt. If that means cutting up cards, so be it. You may not be able to have the monetary fun you wanted to have in Germany, but the literal and also emotional debt you will be saving yourself down the road will be worth it.

If you think about interest rates and penalties, that is all money you are paying for nothing! If you put off paying something for a long time, the item essentially becomes twice as expensive (or more!) by the time you pay it off. Keep that in mind the next time you want a fancy coffee or a new outfit. The coffee might be $5 now, but you're really paying $10 for it. Not to mention the cost of not being able to rent or buy a home or get loans for that or school or cars or whatever down the road. Thinking that way helps to put things into perspective. Makes the coffee, shirts, trips, etc. not really seem worth it.

Susie Q said...

I'd suggest phoning up your CC companies. Sometimes you can defer the payments on those until you can get your stuff sorted, or at least get a lower monthly payment.

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