@Lorelei@twitter My library has a pretty hefty selection of Kindle books available, but the site is terrible, and I'm pretty sure >90% of their books are romance novels, so weeding out the good stuff takes some work.
The fact that you see her every Christmas now kind of blows my mind. I would have done the exact opposite, and tried to extract myself as much as possible, since apparently she can't be trusted not to make horrible decisions..
My dad isn't much for words, but when I bought a car, he was the one with me when I test drove it. When I bought my second car (a manual, which I didn't know how to drive), he was the one I talked pros and cons with, and the one who actually test drove it, and drove it home. When that car broke down, he was the one who fixed it, and when I finally sold that car as a junker, he was my first call.
1. Student loan payments that work out to >$500/mo. 2. Wages have been stagnant for the past 40 years. 3. Astronomical rents. 4. Entry level wages absolutely blow. 5. Inflation on required things like food. Also gas. Also any sort of entertainment.
Stupid IKEA ($143). I went with the intention of buying just a new duvet and comforter, but ended up buying bowls, tupperware, and a new bathmat as well. Game on Steam because I was bored ($20). To be fair, Quantum Conundrum is really excellent. Plus the bills but those doesn't really count.
I hate these. My parents made too much to help me qualify for much aid, but not enough to be able to actually help me out. So instead I"m making about the same as dude #2, and paying closer to $650 a month to try and get ahead of my loans. And I can't go to grad school because adding more onto the $70k I owe now is terrifying. Or even a PhD with stipend because the interest is freaking ridiculous. I've got a physical science degree.
You're doing fine, Logan. Just keep plugging away, and eventually it will seem achievable. And you're right, most of the stories are "He paid off his $200k student debt in two years by being freaking loaded to begin with!". But when you're poor, it's so much harder, because there's pride and lack of a safety net. The other thing I'll mention is I downloaded the Snowball Calculator, which gave me some real numbers to look at. It's terrifying, but knowing that I can hit an end is like a miracle.
My credit union is part of a network that let's me get cash from any ATM in a 7-11 fee free. Maybe you just picked the wrong one.