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  • 😵‍💫 Your student loan payment is HOW much?

😵‍💫 Your student loan payment is HOW much?

Plus: 🌧️ A very wet week ahead

It’s Super Tuesday, Boston.

🗳️ And like we’ve said, voting in the primary makes you an automatic nine. So we hope you hotties are hitting the polls today! To start: Double check your polling location and read our explainer on what exactly is going down here. Happy voting!

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Growing NIMBY-ism in Mass. 

  • A very wet week

  • Boston’s second worst art crime

Up first…


Student loan repayments, meet reality

Image: AP Photo/Alex Brando. Illustration by Gia Orsino.

If you’re struggling with student loans, 43 million Americans are right there with you. 

We’re back with another installment of Money Moves, our four-part series where local money experts answer your money questions. Last month, we tackled savings.

Next up: Student loans. 

📊 Step one: If your student loan payment is manageable, budget it! Ideally, you’d be able to treat your payments “like any other fixed expense in your budget,” said Danielle Piskadlo, executive director of Women’s Money Matters. But for many of us, that’s just not happening.

🔧 So to start chipping away at that number, enter: Your student loan toolbox. 

  • Got federal loans? Federal repayment programs can be great for a lot of borrowers, according to Adam Minsky, a lawyer specializing in student loans. Income-driven repayment plans, like SAVE, have the ability to scale your payments to your income and/or offer eventual forgiveness. 

  • Got high interest loans? If you’re in decent financial standing, refinancing, or combining loans privately to get a lower interest rate, can be a great option, said Minsky. 

  • Got a lot of loans? With consolidating, or combining several federal loans into one with lower payments, there’s a little bit more to consider, but it can be helpful for those who want to better-manage their debt or extend their payment time. 

💸 But for some, the toolbox doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, extra revenue sources are necessary to make those payments (a strategy Piskadlo cosigns). Take Kari Karanikos, a personal finance influencer, who despite lowering her loans by $700 through refinancing and consolidation, still had an $1,100 monthly payment. To make up the difference, she looked to side hustles like babysitting, social media managing, and brand deals. Boston influencer Kevin Cooney even ended up paying off his loans by flipping cheap Facebook Marketplace finds.

💭 And then there’s the age-old question: Is it better to pay off your loans ASAP, even if it means sacrificing your savings or enjoying your life less? “Extremes, in my opinion, aren’t ideal,” said Minsky. “It’s not necessarily a good idea to ignore your student loan debt so you can invest more, or put all your money into student loans in order to save.” And Karanikos agrees: Trying to pay as much as possible all of the time “isn’t sustainable long-term,” so finding time to “sprint” versus taking it slow is what helps her enjoy her twenties while paying off her loans. 


💸 Do you have student loans?

Let us know below!

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Groove to the grass

🪕🌾 Loved the Appalachian-inspired tunes in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?” This concert is probably your vibe. Sierra Hull, the Grammy-nominated queen of mandolin and modern bluegrass, is set to light up Sanders Theatre on March 9 presented by Celebrity Series of Boston. With her band in tow and opener Monica Rizzio adding her own twist, it’s shaping up to be an evening of toe-tappin’ tunes that you won’t want to miss. Stop fiddlin’ around and get your tickets now


Quick & dirty headlines

Image obtained by the Washington Post

🤫 Note to self: Don’t leak classified documents on Discord. Quick refresher: Remember when a 20-something Mass. Air National Guard member was arrested for leaking highly classified military secrets and documents on a Discord channel last year? Well, Jack Teixeira officially pleaded guilty in court yesterday, likely landing him a prison sentence between 11 and 17 years. The case landed the Department of Defense in some hot water, too, raising questions as to why someone with Teixeira’s history was ever granted such high clearance to begin with.

🏠 Mass. NIMBYs are feeling emboldened. Milton’s now infamous refusal to comply with the 2021 MBTA Communities Act, (requiring MBTA-served towns to zone for multifamily housing) may have been the first major instance of a town poo poo-ing the law, but it might not be the last (see: Rockport, Wrentham, Cape Ann). Although Mass. has a long history of allowing towns to control their own zoning, the ultimate power over land use essentially lies with the state. But that hasn’t stopped coalitions from framing the act as everything from an overstep, to unconstitutional, to a national conspiracy.

✈️ The JetBlue-Spirit merger is officially dead in the water. The two airlines, which announced their plan to merge in 2022 (JetBlue is Logan’s largest carrier, BTW), have decided to call it quits after the decision was blocked by a Mass. federal judge in January. Though the airlines initially said they’d appeal the decision, they chose to instead call the deal quits since it seemed unlikely that closing conditions would be met by their deadline anyway. We’re just happy the future of Spirit’s cheap flights is safe and sound.

🌧️ It’s shaping up to be a very wet week. We hope you enjoyed our taste of spring over the past few days, because not one, not two, but three storm systems are moving in this week, bringing us a projected two to five inches of rain, very little sunshine, and maybe, just maybe a little snow later in the week. As with all weather news, it’s early to say for sure, but for right now, Friday is looking like the only dry day we’ll see all week. But if the rain gets you down, just visualize all these spring milestones we have to look forward to.


Enter to win two tickets to Harpoon’s St. Patrick’s Festival!

We’re giving away 3 pairs of tickets to Harpoon’s St. Patrick’s day festival this Friday, March 8. To be eligible, refer a friend in the and have them accept your invite by end of day on 3/6. If you have already referred a friend to B-Side (and they’ve accepted), you're eligible! Full details below**

21+. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Limit one entry per person. See Official Rules & an additional entry option here.


Boston’s second worst art crime

Image courtesy of Tim Correira. Illustration by Gia Orsino.

Step aside, Isabella Stewart Gardner heist, this story’s going to give you a run for your money. 

The scene? The MFA, mid-1990’s. The perps? A high-school aged BJ Novak, Newton native and comedian of “The Office” fame, and his friend Amir Dehestani. The crime? Swapping out the self guided tour tapes on one of the museum’s exhibits for their own, significantly sillier, and completely inaccurate versions, which included trash talk about the art, as well as instructions for the viewer to do the hokey-pokey. 

Although Novak kept his crime a secret for years, he's not too shy about the story anymore, in fact, he shared it in front of a crowd at the scene of the crime itself this weekend. And after the whole thing, he was ‘officially pardoned’ for the prank by the MFA’s director. 

All’s well that ends well.

— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario

📼 Thanks for reading! The 90s and 2000s were truly the golden age for pranking. Imagine trying to pull that off today. 

💜 Special shoutout to today's sponsor, Celebrity Series of Boston, for supporting local journalism and bringing the sounds of Appalachia to our city.

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected].