roommate

How to Survive Living With a Roommate Who’s Also Your Friend

Adulting, Author: Danny Abriano

I didn’t go away to college, so the first time I ever had a roommate was when I was well into my career. And that roommate just happened to be one of my closest friends.

There are all types of things — good and bad — that come along with having a roommate. When that roommate is one of your best friends, those things present themselves in different ways. And how you handle them will impact not just your living situation, but your relationship with someone whose presence in your life you value.

 

Rent and bills are business, even when your friend is involved
Do not be the person who needs to be asked more than once for the rent. If only one of you has your name on the lease, the other is responsible for paying the rent each month. That means the other roommate has to transfer the money over at least a few days in advance. Whether it’s with Venmo, by handing your friend cash, or some other way, do not ever slack off and pay late. It’ll put your friend and roommate in an awful spot. The same goes for bills (cable, internet, other utilities, etc.). Pay your share immediately.

Understand that you’re a team
If you’re a millennial who is living with another millennial, odds are that one or both of you has an active social life that often precludes you from paying attention to the cleanliness of the apartment. When you do have time to focus on it (at least once per week, unless you want visitors to think you’re a slob), help one another out. Dishes in the sink aren’t yours? Wash them anyway. The bathroom is filthy and you don’t want to clean it alone? Guess what, someone has to. Your roommate will recognize that you did something you didn’t have to, and take care of it for you next time.

Respect boundaries
Even though you’re close friends and have probably seen and done almost everything with this person, there are times when they’ll need space. Offer to be there for them if you think they’re in need, but back off if they reject it. If your friend comes home, and is furious for no reason, chalk it up to them having had a bad day. Don’t take it personally. And give them time to cool down.

Enjoy one another’s company
This seems obvious, right? You’re close friends who are living with one another. Hanging out and having fun should come naturally. But often, it doesn’t. If you both have full-time jobs, life will get in the way. And seeing each other every single day and night can take a bit of the shine off the friendship. But you’re close friends for a reason. Go out to dinner. Watch the game together. Sit on the couch and talk nonsense for a bit. Unwind.

Have an issue? Don’t let it fester
If your roommate/friend is doing something (or multiple things) that get on your nerves, tell them. If you keep it inside, you’ll start to resent them, while slowly going insane. That’s a bad combination. It can be awkward to tell your friend if something they do is bothering you. But the alternative is much worse. Tell them what’s on your mind. Your friendship and relationship as roommates will be better for it.

sensitive

When Your Sensitivity Gets In the Way

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

“Leave your emotions at the door.” 

It’s a phrase that you may have heard over and over, and it’s possible that for you, it’s an easy concept. You’re the type of person who can walk into work, or any social situation, and separate your emotions and your personal or professional life. You can leave them at the door, in a corner, in a box — pick your metaphor.

But when you’re very sensitive, it’s not always the easiest concept to wrap your head around. Maybe that fight with your roommate that you had in the morning, before you left for work, was more than you could handle, and you cried throughout the majority of your commute. Or multiple criticisms from your boss led to you fighting back tears while trying to give the appearance that you were just sitting in your cubicle, minding your own business, totally unaffected. But, you fail miserably. Even when all of the career advice books and articles you’ve read tell you otherwise, you head for the second floor bathroom and return with red-rimmed eyes and a puffy nose. And then, you feel all the more self-conscious, because the evidence is all over your face.

Unfortunately, you can’t go through life giving in to every single situation that could potentially lead to an emotional reaction. Sometimes, being able to feel so deeply can get in the wayand it can be to your detriment.

But, how can you make sure that your feelings, sensitivity, and emotions don’t get away of your tasks, whether they are personal or professional?

Step away for a bit
Get in tune with your emotional reactions, and learn to sense when one is coming. If you’re able to catch it before it arrives, don’t bury it, but instead, step away from the situation that’s causing it. Take your lunch break. Walk to the bathroom before it’s obvious that you’ve walked out the door in tears. Go for a drive. Have a snack and drink some water. Then, come back to the situation. Chances are, you’ll see it with a fresh, less emotional perspective. And you won’t be reacting in the heat of the moment, which will just make things worse.

Know your limit
If you know you have a lot of emotions and you’ve hit the point where you’ll know you won’t be productive due to the extenuating circumstances, don’t try to force it. I’ve used my paid time off to take a mental health day, and by the time I went back to work the next day, I’d processed everything that happened outside of work, to the point that I could focus on what was in front of me. Remember your self-care, and that includes knowing when to take a step back, and focusing on yourself for a bit.

Stand clear of emo music, violent movies, and the news
We all loved 2000s emo music, but when you’re feeling particularly sensitive, emo lyrics are actually not going to help you. Violent movies and TV shows also won’t do you any good, either. In fact by listening to that music or watching those types of shows, you’ll likely end up having even more feelings that you just don’t know what to do with. And while it’s important to stay informed, the times in which you are feeling particularly emotional are really not the times that you need to be processing news.

Write, write, write
And the best part of it all? If you don’t want anyone to read it, they don’t have to. It’s up to you. No one’s going to judge your private thoughts, when they’re written in a place where only you can see and read them later on. Just getting these thoughts out on paper can be beneficial to you. When you name the thoughts, you give them life, and you can then figure out how to process them. But, if you’re one to publicize your thoughts, go for it, and create a space for yourself by starting a blog, so long as it’s appropriate, of course.

Talk to someone who gets it
You know what’s better than one person who has a lot of feelings? Two people with lots of feelings. Chances are you’ll make the other person cry upon telling your tale of the fight you had with your roommate, or the nasty remark your boss made, or the fact that you saw that damned Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercial again. But you’ll cry together.

child care

“But which child care center should I choose?”: A Chat With a Millennial Child Care Expert

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

Millennial parents, there’s so many options for child care today. Especially if you’re a working parent, you’ll likely need to utilize at least one, maybe more, of those options.

But when there are so many options in front of you, what’s the best one for your family? We chatted with Regina Barone, owner of Tiny Toes Daycare of Rockland, New York, about some of the best child care options for millennial parents.

Why should you enroll your children in a child care program?
Many parents enroll their children in programs similar to mine because they want their children to be in a nurturing and learning environment while they’re at work, and need someone to care for their children.

What makes a day care center different than having a family member watch your child?
In my opinion, child care centers give children the opportunity of socialization with other children their age, and allows them to get used to being with others besides family members (which is helpful for kindergarten transition)Additionally, many daycares have programs that get children used to a school routine, which of course can be very beneficial.

What should you look for in a day care center?
Check to see if the center is state licensed. Find out their teacher qualifications and trainings. Ask questions, such as: do they offer a program? If yes, what is their philosophy, and does it match with what you are looking for?

Millennials are known for looking for discounts. How can you get the most bang for your buck in a child care center?
Looking for discounts, in any industry — including child care, is important. If you have someone who wants to watch your child (for free — for example, a grandmother) you can enroll your child part-time: either half days, or a few days a week. This way, it’s not the same cost of a full-time child. If you have more than one child, a sibling discount may be available.

What makes one day care center different from another?
The differences are all about the programs each day care center may offer. Some have more space (in terms of both outdoor or indoor) than others. But it’s important to look at what each individual teacher brings, if centers have special events, and how much family involvement comes into play.

What are the benefits of socializing a child from a young age?
I have seen that children who have been exposed at an earlier age definitely adapt more easily to both peers and adults, as opposed to children who start at a later age. This can affect their future academic careers. If children adapt well socially, the fact that they aren’t adapting socially isn’t distracting them in other areas.

How many hours per day should a child spend at day care?
It all depends on the parent’s work schedule. Most child care centers are open 11-12 hours every day. My suggestion is to drop-off and pick-up according to that time frame, giving yourself time to do home routines. For parents not working, but still wanting your child to have the experience of being around other children, the recommended time frame is seven hours (about the length of a school day).

What do millennial parents typically look for in a child care facility and in teachers?
As both a millennial parent and a day care provider, what seems to be consistent with what parents look for is caring and nurturing teachers who are stern when needed. They also value a clean and safe facility with a great program that not only offers academics, but play as well.

 

Regina Barone

 

Regina Barone holds an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College, and holds a Master’s degree in Literacy from The College of New Rochelle. She has worked in daycares for 15 years, and served as the Director of Tiny Toes Daycare of Rockland for seven years, before stepping into the role of owner for the past three years.

 

online shopping

Millennials’ Habits Are Changing How Shopping is Done

Adulting, Author: #NAMB Guest Author, Uncategorized

Retail stores are slowly dying, and we millennials may be, unknowingly, the cause of it. In 2017, we’ve seen a retail meltdown, with several worldwide brands like Macy’s and Sears announcing the closure of more than 100 stores. On the other side, e-commerce giants like Amazon are hauling in billions dollars of sales, breaking the records year by year. What is happening?

Being a millennial, I believe that traditional retail is dying and possibly will not survive through next ten years unless retailers level up their playing field. A study by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions suggests that millennials are leading the change in purchasing behaviors, and in order the stay ahead of the game, it is incredibly important for retailers understand how to better appeal to millennials. Omnichannel is the big thing now, as consumers — millennials included — prefer to have different methods of shopping available to them, simultaneously. If millennials are changing their shopping habits, retailers will need to have to know-how, and devise strategies to suit and adapt to our new shopping habits. 

We’re using mobile
Admit it. How many of us feel we are missing out “something” when we do not have our smartphones with us? Since Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone in the world, our lives changed. Now, smartphone has become an integral part of our daily lives. We used our smartphones to stay connected with our families and friends, the news, and even to buy things. And we even use them to shop online, from the comfort of our own couches, cars, or even while commuting home on the train. Mobile and social shopping has become our preferred way of shopping due to its convenience. We can do it everywhere. 

Many times, we research on social media before buying
Before making a purchase, 47% of millennials are influenced by research they conduct on social media on products, reviews, and discount deals. Most spend a few minutes searching for coupons and deals before committing to a purchase, and implement discount and promotions strategies. Comparing prices and reviews, finding coupons, and saving money have become new steps in the shopping process. Social media has now become the number one intelligence channel for shopping research. You can see what others truly think about the item, any sales that may be going on, tips for shipping, and actually interact with a brand. 

We’ve all become smart and savvy shoppers
Due to the influence of technology, millennials are savvy and smart shoppers, who are very sensitive to prices. Millennials don’t mind liking a brand on Facebook, or scanning a QR code, just to get more discounts. If we find higher discounts on products somewhere else, we don’t mind switching brands. 

We really like saving delivery fees
Buying online and getting orders delivered to our houses is good. However, buying online, picking it up in-store, and getting an incentive, is even better! Millennials don’t mind picking up item at store if entitled discounts like “$20 off $100.”

We’re more engaged in loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are still great tools for engaging with millennials. A study shows that 69% of millennials are part of a loyalty program

 

About the Author:

Derek Ang
Derek Ang is a millennial and is passionate about shopping smarter and saving money.

loans

How I Dumped $22,500 of Debt Using Student Loan Forgiveness

Adulting, Author: #NAMB Guest Author

Yes, that’s right, $22,500! It took me five years of working as a teacher, but that’s 22.5 grand that I didn’t have to pay off, and it’s 22.5 grand in my pocket!

Now, how did I do this?

Well, it all started in college, when I was told about the opportunities to teach in a low income school and have my student loans forgiven. I took this opportunity and ran to a position that would allow me to reap the benefits of loan forgiveness for teachers.

Due to the fact that I am a math teacher, I was eligible to receive up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness, but it’s important to note that other teachers in different fields received different amounts. Not to mention, other professions — including medical, nursing, and federal government work — offer student loan forgiveness in different amounts.

Above, I’ve only accounted for $17,500 of my student loans. You may be thinking, where did the other $5,000 come from then? I got lucky enough to stumble onto a second form of student loan forgiveness. This program forgave 100% of my Federal Perkins loans over the course of five years. Luckily, I stumbled onto this option a year after I started teaching and was still able to have $5,000 of my $5,700 loan forgiven.

Now, what steps did I take?

My process of having my student loans forgiven can only be explained as confusing. To try and avoid as much confusion as we can, let’s look at some background knowledge on each loan type, and explain the steps to receive student loan forgiveness.

Federal Perkins Loans forgive 100% of loan balance to teachers in low-income schools over five years. During those five years of teaching, loans are deferred (no payment required). Interest accrued is also forgiven at the end of each year. At the end of each school year, applicants have to fill out a form. This form defers the payments for the upcoming school year, and forgives a portion of the balance each year.

What did this all mean for me? After five years of filling out forms, my Federal Perkins Loan was forgiven in full. That’s $5,000 gone — so now, let’s talk about the other $17,500.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans forgive up to $17,500 for Math/Science/SPED Teachers after completion of five years of teaching. During those five years of teaching, monthly payments are still required, and interest still accrues. If you are in school, you can defer payments to these loans. Direct Subsidized Loans (undergrad) do not accrue interest during the deferral period, and Direct Unsubsidized Loans (graduate) accrue interest during the deferral period.

It took some creative measures to receive the full $17,500 in loan forgiveness. In December of 2013, I only had $11,573 of Direct Subsidized Loans left. Based on my required payments, the loan would have been paid off prior to my completion of five years of teaching.

I was averaging paying off $4,000 of principal in six months. December of 2013 was just over 18 months from the date of completing my 5th teaching year. Luckily, I was looking into graduate school and a representative from a university had mentioned that I could have my loans for graduate school forgiven at the end of my 5th year of teaching. I was shocked, but I also had to use this newfound knowledge. I made the decision to take out a loan for more than $6,000, which would put me over $17,500 in student loans. I did this in the spring semester of 2014, and just let the money sit in my savings account.

While that money sat in a savings account, the student loans were in deferral, because I was attending graduate school. Therefore, my loans from undergrad remained at $11,573, and they did not accrue any interest. My loans from grad school, however, did accrue interest.

In June of 2015, I printed out the required forms and filled them out as described. On August, 11, 2015, I was notified that my student loans had been forgiven in full!

Crazy things happen all the time in life. Just make sure to have a backup plan, like some of the tips offered here about refinancing your student loans. We made sure to have $17,500 in the bank, just in case something happened. Nothing crazy did happen, and we were able to put a down payment on a house.

 

About the Author:

 

Seth Boschen is starting his 8th year as a teacher and runs his own personal finance blog over at Summit of Coin. Through meticulously watching his money and extreme frugality, he was able to pay down over $29k in student loan debt in just seven months. You can learn more about his story and follow him here.