Life in Transition

Navigating Personal Finances During Life Transitions

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Transitions and Finances

As you all may know, my wedding is a week away, which means a lot of changes are going to happen and effect my finances.

Transition #1: Housing
My fiance was an Resident Assistant (RA) at a freshmen dorm for two years when he was an undergraduate student. This year, a spot opened up at the student housing complex at the health science campus, and he got the job.   He’s lived in an apartment for the last two years, and I have lived in one for the last three.   It’s definitely a little odd going back to dorm life, but at least housing will be free.  We  won’t have to worry about rent, utilities, Internet, or cable for at least a year.  Rates for a one-bedroom apartment in the area  starts at $500/month, and when we throw in utilities and internet, I’d estimate our housing costs would run $575/month.  So, we’re looking at saving approximately $7000/year.  

Obviously, our one-bedroom dorm suite isn’t truly free.  As an RA, my fiance will have have a set number of on-call hours a week, which means he cannot leave the building during set hours.  He’ll also have countless meetings and training sessions and a mountain of paperwork.  Since he’ll be studying a lot for his classes, the on-call hours shouldn’t be a problem.  Those will become his designated study times. When he was an RA at a freshman dorm, most of his on-call hours were spent mediating conflicts, busting people for drugs or underage drinking, and calling hall meetings because a guy thought drawing obscene pictures on the walls would be funny.  Most of the residents at our new dorm will be Ph.D students and postdocs, so hopefully we won’t run into the same kind of problems.

Transition #2: Transportation
Since we will be living less than a block away from where I currently work and my fiance goes to school, having two cars does not make sense.  We decided to keep his car, since it gets a lot better gas mileage.   We plan on loaning my car to my younger sister, who would be responsible for insurance, maintenance, and registration fee.  We thought about selling one of the cars, but since his Honda has over 300,000 miles on it, we want to have a back-up car.  My sister understands that I’m taking my car back as soon as the Honda  stops working.  Becoming a one car family will at least save us $1000/year when you take into account the maintenance,  registration fee, parking pass, and extra gas.  It will take more time to coordinate errands and who needs the car when, but I think the hassle is worth the money saved.

Transition #3: Two people, One salary
My fiance has been living off of his savings for the last year, and won’t have income for another three years  unless you count free housing as income (I’ll find out soon enough if the IRS does).  It’s pretty much impossible for dental students to find time for a part-time job, so we will be living off of my income for the next few years.  I currently have a modest income, but I still able to save a lot of money when I was just supporting myself.   I’m also planning on going back to school part-time, which means I might not work as many hours as I do now.  I used to feel nervous about supporting two on a small income, so when my fiance got the position a huge burden lifted from shoulders and I felt a lot better about going back to school.  It’ll still be a challenge to adjust to the bigger expenses.  For example, I only spend $50-$70 a month on groceries, but my fiance spends at least $150/month.

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