I’ve had one hectic week. Starting the new semester off running has definitely thrown me for a loop. Being the over-achiever that I am, I selected the accelerated program to finish up in December instead of May. In my defense, I’ll save one semester of tuition by punishing myself over the next few months at a savings of about $4,000. Oh, the things I do to save a buck (or 4,000 of them).

But what this means for me over the next 14 weeks (I’m counting down by weeks; down 2, 14 more to go!) is that I’ll be in over-drive mode. My weekly schedule is as follows:

  • Wake up at 5:30am (I am NOT a morning person, BTW)
  • Ride my bike over to Starbucks for my coffee (I know, I know, I am so addicted!) At least the bike ride wakes me up (and I kind of like riding in the dark – don’t worry I have lights).
  • Shower by 6 am
  • Check emails, blog for 30 minutes
  • Ride my bike to school at 7:10am
  • Home by 4:00pm (except Tues. and Wed. when I have evening classes until 6pm)
  • Write copious amounts of lesson plans and papers supporting my teaching methods
  • Squeeze in some blogging if I can
  • Eat dinner
  • Maybe a movie if I’m lucky
  • Bed by 9:30pm
  • Start again the next day

But, committing to the fast-track program means I’m going to save money. This is really important to me considering that the career I chose, education, isn’t a high-paying one. Jobs are also few and far between at the moment, but there is some expectation that within the next few years jobs will become more available.

Also, finishing up mid-year could be more advantageous for me when it comes to a job search. Positions do open up mid-year due to unexpected leaves of absence, retirement, or student increase, and this could put me in a good position. In the end, timing and networking will play a big part. Securing a position before summer will help me pay off the remainder of my student loans faster.

Now I just have to hang in there until December. A big thanks to those who have been volunteering guest posts. I really appreciate them!

What extreme measures have you taken to save a buck or two?

28 Comments

  1. Saving money is important! I remember back years ago when I was on my own and in college having many meals of ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches.

    Cutting the cable and newspaper is one we did a long time ago. We miss a few channels, but for the most part, don’t really notice that we don’t have it anymore. And as for the papers, they no longer pile up unread.

    Good luck with your classes!

    • @grady those are good tips. Thankfully, I have been planning this semester for some time and was prepared for exactly this. Now I just have to muddle through.

  2. retirebyforty Reply

    Good luck! It seems like a crazy schedule, but you just need to do it for 3 months. It’s probably better for your job search to graduate in December too so you don’t have to compete with everyone in June.

    • @Retire by 40 – That’s exactly what I thought – maybe I can luck out and get a head start on the job market by finishing 5 months early. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

  3. MoneyforCollegePro Reply

    What type of education are you looking to get into to? Actually teaching, counseling, administration? I work in Higher Ed, so I applaud your efforts. We need more people committed to teaching!

    • @Money for College Pro – Elementary education. I love teaching (I’ve been subbing for years.) I’m just making that final push to get credentialed, then the next challenge is finding a job!

  4. Jeff @ Sustainable life blog Reply

    That’s quite a schedule to save a few bucks. I did something that involved long days like that as well, but it was to make bucks instead of save.

    • @Jeff – I know – it may sound a bit crazy especially since teaching jobs are so few and far between in CA. But, hopefully it will pay off in the long run.

  5. krantcents Reply

    When I started teaching (10 years ago), I worked on my credential at night. I entered an accelerated program and completed it in 10 months. I then decided to take all the classes I could handle to max out my pay scale. Within two years after I started teaching, I finished my credential and was at the top of my pay scale.

  6. It’s a busy life! All the best for your final semester. I completed my masters in May, and that’s when I really found time to blog. I don’t know how you have produced this blog while studying, on the fast track no less. Amazing!

    • @Hunter – Up until now, I’ve only gone part time so I wasn’t as busy. This is my first semester at 18 units and I’m freaking out a bit (so many papers due each week, ahhhh!). I’m really not so sure how I’m keeping up with my blog either. 😉 But thanks for the compliment!

  7. Yeah! saving money is important especially by this time where there is always a changed in our commodities. We have to tighten our belt because of the high cost of living and I really appreciate your effort for doing great.

    • @John – A report just was published that incomes have dropped back down to levels not seen since the mid-90’s – so, yes! We have to “tighten” our belts since our money isn’t going as far as it used to!

  8. I took an accelerated MBA program that lasted 2 years and almost destroyed my marriage. It is one thing to conserve money, but make sure you know the risk, because you only have one life and if you ruin it for a future that you don’t know if you’ll have, that is not worth it!

    • @Carol – That sounds awful! Thankfully I’m only in this accelerated program for 13 more weeks! (I’m counting down. 😉 ) Then, I’ll be finished!

  9. Hang in there — you’re almost there! Your schedule is impressive, but I think Starbucks is the perfect antidote 🙂

  10. SB @ One Cent At A Time Reply

    I think what you are doing is right. Working hard can earn more money and similarly working hard can save more money! Good thing is it’s only 14 weeks more, it will pass in no time.

    • @SB – only 13 weeks now. 🙂 I’m definitely counting down and it’s intense (Lots of papers to write) but I’m focusing on the end goal.

  11. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter Reply

    Good luck. You are going to be busy but the reward at the end will be worth it. At least you’re organized. I find having a plan always helps minimize some of the stress.

    • @Miss T – Being organized helps. I’m not one to by typing papers at mid-night, so as long as nothing comes up unexpectedly, I can still fit in all my work and have time to relax a little.

  12. Matt @Financial Excellence Reply

    Like Jeff, the long hours I’ve put in have been to earn more rather than save costs. To save money I simply don’t spend it, but I’ve also gone without my precious cell phone and I’m trying to get the fam to cancel cable. Bought used parts to repair cars and did the work myself, bartered services to get things I wanted, etc. Nothing too extreme.

    • @Matt – Not spending money is a great way to save money, most definitely. My goal this semester is to finish under cost and then hopefully get a job to earn money sooner than later. Hopefully that plan will pan out. 😉

  13. Squirrelers Reply

    What I like about this go-getter timeframe where you’re overstretching yourself is that it’s only for a specifically defined time period for a specific goal. If it went longer than that, it might not be sustainable overall. But, to finish in December vs. May, and deal with a challenging few months…good for you!

    Just make sure to get plenty of rest, don’t shortchange sleep. I’ve had some stretches of work where I was in the office until past midnight for days on end, and it took its toll.

    • @Squirrelers – The fact that it’s only so many weeks (down to 12 I think now) makes it doable. And as for sleep – I’m big on sleep. I’m in bed by 9:30pm at the latest on weekdays. I gotta have a solid 8 hours!

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