04 May 2013

Moola Moola: Saving, big time.

In a time long since passed, when I was but a wee one, there was a credit union mascot named Moola Moola, who looked like this:

But actually looked like this: 

Occasionally he'd make appearances at the bank, to try to promote saving money to kids. I still have my old-school Moola Moola Club membership card floating around somewhere. And I thought of it today because a) he's pretty absurd, and b) saving money is touuuuugh.

I like the thermometer method of keeping track. It's super satisfying to mark in when I contribute a couple hundred here and there to the savings account, but let's be honest. Saving for school when one is already strapped with student loans is kind of... did I say tough?

Here's the lowdown on Scotland and this upcoming masters degree, financially speaking. A typical masters program in the US takes two years, which includes tuition ($USD) as well as two years of living expenses (housing, transportation, books, food, etc.). A typical masters degree in the UK takes one year at an international/non-EU tuition rate (£GBP) plus housing, food, etc. Even taking the exchange rate into consideration (it only looks good to those coming to the US from the UK and not the other way around), the program taking half the time saves me a bit of money in the long-run.

The issue is that it's UK immigration policy to have proof of all my funds for 9 months available up front, on request. Even though I'm allowed to work up to 20 hours a week on my student visa, there's no way a part-time job somewhere is going to help me out past the basics.

So I've been scrimping and saving as much as possible after eliminating a bunch of credit card debt and paying down my existing student loans. What a pain in the old arse that is. Too bad there isn't a real Moola Moola. 

But something marginally more exciting: I finally bought a suitcase. The biggest suitcase I've ever owned. I've only ever used the kind of medium-sized backpack/slash/duffel bags that make constant travel easier on me (and other people). I just know I'm going to hate lugging it around, but for once I needed something I could throw most of my wardrobe into. So I found a trusty old (I mean new) Samsonite at TJMaxx (I recommend them if you need basic luggage), and although I'm not ready to get packing yet, my cat certainly enjoys being in it in the meantime.

One last bit about saving that's been easy and cool: my mom had the idea that every time she got a five dollar bill, she would stash it away for fun money. I started doing the same, and it's amazing how quickly you can pack away $50 -- and then take yer bad self out to dinner!

And the saving continues... slowly... but surely.

The countdown begins: 

Days left until Edinburgh Move-In Day: 126

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