I have exactly $79,733 in student loan debt and I think about it every day.
I entered college in 2002, a young 18-year-old, with no idea what I was getting myself into. Financing -ish was a way of life where I came from. I was encouraged to finance my education because it was “good debt”. The scholarships I received were just enough to cover tuition, and because I was so determined to get out of town, taking out loans to cover food, board, and books seemed like a good idea at the time.
I don’t regret my education one bit. Because of it, I’ve gained so much. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t leave my small town with a bag full of wishes and hope. I wouldn’t be married to my husband or have my wonderful kids. Heck, I wouldn’t even be talking to you today – my debt is the reason I’m writing to you.
$79,733 seems like a lot of money for an education at an in-state public school; however, this sums up the amount spent for both undergraduate and graduate school. I foolishly went back to school 2 years after graduating so I could avoid my student loan payments.
Yep! I’ll repeat that one more time – I went back to school to AVOID my loan payments. (It’s okay, shake your head). That decision is still costing me today.
I’m not going to sit and whine over decisions I made years ago, though. I have to deal with this mess so I can begin saving for the education of my children. I didn’t have any financial help from parents for school and this is one thing I want to be able to do for my kids so they won’t have to live with this type of burden.
It’s senseless to incur debt for 4 years of schooling and barely make a living on an entry-level salary once you graduate. I want my kids to have a head start when they walk across that stage to receive their associates, bachelor’s, and/or masters. Whatever they choose – I’ll support them.
I’m doing this is for accountability and to inspire someone else to do the same. I’m not the only millennial out here who’s been in denial about their student loans for the last 9 years. If you’ve been out of school as long as I have and your student loan is growing instead of decreasing, all of my yapping is here for you too!
My goal is to get rid of this debt within a 5-year timeframe. By 2021, I want Navient to be a distant memory! I don’t want to be in my 40s still paying on something I did in my 20s.
How will I do this?
I have no choice but to hustle my butt off. My husband and I have brought home enough over the six years of our marriage to live comfortably. Having kids hasn’t been a burden. We’ve been able to cover our mortgage, essential bills, save, and contribute to my 401k (for the employer match).
Once we got a reign on our budget, we were able to cut back significantly (no more Coaches or Nine West shoes for me). Our daughter doesn’t know what it feels like to have a gazillion gifts under the tree for Christmas. We don’t buy things without careful thought. We’re the most frugal people in our family.
We do okay, but doing okay isn’t enough anymore.
We have goals of having passive income one day to live off, not paying accruing interest to someone else. To get where we want to go, the most expensive debt we have has to be dealt with. There’s so much more to do in life and once we’re debt free we’ll be able to work on some of those goals without the strain we currently feel on our budget.
This is my platform to share struggles, achievements, and my reality of living with student loan debt. Life and A Budget is about so much more than budgets and money. It’s about living life as abundantly as possible without neglecting the fact that sometimes circumstances in life can inhibit us from achieving our deepest desires.
I’m doing this is for my future and my children’s future. Continuing to sit by and watch the interest increase my student loan balance is no longer an option. I’m going to whip my finances into shape and change the outcome of my circumstances. Financial freedom is right around the corner.