150k for a student loan to get a 100k is actually a GREAT deal (if you can get it). You can't take principal repayments into consideration when you calculate this though...have to look at this like an investment.
Take say 5% of the loan a year to calculate interest...that's 7,500 dollars a year. Unless you're previous job paid more than 100k - 7.5k...that's a terrific deal. Paying down the principal now is simply an investment choice. You can refinance into a longer term debt if needed.
As for these nasty comments about whole foods Nothing wrong with eating organic...in fact you'll be getting tastier food, less health problems and will be reducing the amount of pesticides that get into our groundwater supply. Now Whole Foods isn't cheap with certain items (like their fish)...but for some items they're great (like bulk ingredients...lentils, oats, that type of stuff). It's the processed foods and meats that give Whole Foods it's Whole Paycheck reputation. Plenty of alternatives to cheap organic goods. I eat mostly organic...but shop primarily from Trader Joes (terrific store), Costco and internet shopping (amazon isn't bad for organic foods). Whole Foods is still good for specialty items...but I don't get most of my stuff there.
As for living costs...seems the OP is doing a lot of things right. Maybe paying off more of your debt now...so you have more money to donate to charity might be a good idea for both you and the charity. Living close to work is so nice...can't fault you for this.
Didn't see a mention of hidden items like work retirement funds, life insurance, dental, health care...
One of the tricks to frugal living is with auto expenses. Never, ever buy new. Cars just lose too much money in depreciation. Rule I heard is if the engine or transmission doesn't go...it's always cheaper to fix the car. If you do need another car...lot of great deals from craigslist.com.
For 13 years, I've bought nothing but three used Toyotas for a combined 3500 dollars...and kept them alive with about 2000 worth of maintenance. Because the cars are so cheap I don't have to pay for collision insurance, nor do I have to pay a lot for sales tax...nor do I do have to pay interest on a loan. Saves a TON of money and I still have two of the Toyotas working fine.
The tax system certainly does discriminate against people who work in expensive neighborhoods. Earning 50k in rural South Dakota is sooo much different than earning that in Manhattan where everything is so much more expensive. Yet for society, it is more effecient for people to be living close together...so government shouldn't punish this.
Last edited by rpwi; 03-25-2012 at 05:41 PM.