“Hypermileing? Just how far can you get on a tank of gas?


Gas is pricey, especially in big cities.  And exhaust fumes kill the earth.  So I like to conserve as much as possible when it comes to using gasoline.

Perhaps you, like me, had always heard that the key to great gas mileage is to accelerate and decelerate gradually and in general to avoid top speeds on the highway.  In other words, hit the cruise control and keep to the right lane.  A recent article on debtkid.com refers to this as “hypermileing”.

I was shocked to discover this weekend, however, that at least when it comes to my 2010 Honda Civic, hypermileing doesn’t work exactly that way.

I am a self-proclaimed gas mileage nut.  I reset my trip odometer and calculate my mileage every single time I fill my tank.  I commute about 50 miles of mostly highways everyday and ALWAYS use cruise control.  The speed limits around here are generally 55mph, so I usually set my cruise control right around 60.  I’ve been getting about 32 miles per gallon, which I had considered decent until my recent discovery… Continue reading


Budget Savvy Diva

Budget Savvy Diva

This Thursday Budget Savvy Diva was kind enough to include my guest post on her blog.  In it I describe my experience and advice for avoiding security deposits on new apartments and negotiating to lower rent costs.  Check it out: Guest Post – Real World Year One.

Budget Savvy Diva blogs prolifically about freebies and money-saving ideas and discounts that she comes across.  You can find her blog at Budget Savvy Diva. It’s awesome!

Stay Busy While Searching for Your Dream Job — The How’s and Why’s.

Like many recent graduates, I finished college without that coveted job offer.  While it would be easy to blame the recession for this, I perhaps should look first at the fact that I hadn’t applied to any jobs to begin with.  I had decided I would “take it easy” during my senior spring, which in retrospect may not have been the best decision.

Anyway, after some last-minute scrambling I managed to score a great volunteer position with free housing for the summer after graduation, so I at least didn’t have to move back home right away.  But the ticking time-bomb of my soon-to-be due student loans was a constant concern and I realized that I needed to do something to earn money — either find my dream job before December, when my first loan payments would come due, or find some other way to earn money.

While my job search was going relatively well (I’ll write about my job-search process in another post), I could tell that there was no way I’d be gainfully employed in the career path of my choosing in time for my loan payments in December, so I turned my attention to seeking out temporary money-earning and resume-building opportunities.  I had sworn off retail/sales jobs after a particularly traumatic summer job in a shoe store years ago, so I knew I needed to get a little creative to find some quick temporary work.  Here’s where I looked, and where I’d suggest you start your search: Continue reading

Student Loans: I know I owe money, but HOW MUCH and TO WHOM??

One of the first things to do post-graduation is to determine the status of your student loans: which lenders you borrowed from, how much money you owe them, what your interest rate is, and most importantly, WHEN you owe them money.

If your college finance situation was anything like mine, your parents made desperate calls to Alma Mater U’s financial aid office, begged and pleaded for more money, and made back-room finance dealings, none of which you were privy to.  At least that was the case with my family.  After having two other siblings in addition to myself really rack up the college loans, my parents were tapped out financially, emotionally drained, and absolutely painful to talk to about money.  Yet somehow they still managed to shove me through the financial nightmare of college, tacking on lots of loans along the way.

To be fair, I should have paid more attention to what sort of debt I was incurring along the way, but mom and dad were taking care of the logistics, and it was easy enough to just be blissfully ignorant and sign on the dotted line every year when my new promissory notes rolled around.

Clearly I had my work cut out for me in terms of taking charge of my own financial destiny.  And I still couldn’t bring myself to discuss finances with my parents, so I decided to figure it all out myself.

If you, like me, have no personal records of the loans you’ve taken out, here are a few handy steps to really sniff out the various loans you are now responsible for:

1.  Contact your financial aid office. They should be able to give you an outline of the aid you were awarded, whether it is in the form of a grant or a loan, and if a loan, whether it is a federal loan or perhaps a loan from the school itself.  This outline generally won’t include private loans, which leads me to my next step… Continue reading


Greetings world!   You can call me Jane.

I finished my undergraduate degree a year ago this June and have spent the many months since fumbling through my year-long induction into “The Real World”.

Graduation last year was a whirlwind.  I suddenly found myself overwhelmed at the immense responsibilities I had acquired the second I pocketed my diploma.  It’s funny, after sinking four years and thousands of dollars into an education, I discovered that I knew absolutely nothing.  And good ol’ Alma Mater U was certainly no place for slouches, so I couldn’t exactly blame my professors.

I’ve learned a ton over the past year.  Health insurance, retirement planning, student loan repayment, credit cards (eek!), job hunting, I’ve dabbled in it all.  Become somewhat of a “Jane of all trades”, if you will (bad pun intended).  I will be sharing a bit of my new-found knowledge over the coming weeks and months with you out there in the blogosphere.  I am by no means an expert in any of this, so feel free to correct, interject, insult, or otherwise add to my insights on the fabulous time that is every adult’s favorite rite of passage — Real World, Year One.