Just as a refresher to any new readers, I recently paid off around $40,000 worth of student loan debt.
It wasn’t all fun and games though, and I am glad that we put everything we had at the time towards them so that I didn’t have my student loans floating over my head.
I have 3 degrees (I was a double major in undergraduate school, and I also have my Finance MBA). Below are my posts on the subject.
I have stumbled upon your blog today in the desperate search on how to start paying off my student loans more. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on where to begin.
Short description, I went to a private university to get a degree in a field I am passionate in (Computer Animation). I am now about $90,700 in debt. Now I actually work at the school that I went to school at. I now teach students. But I don’t make enough to even keep afloat lately. I only make about $32,000 a year and I live a very humble life.
And here is the kicker, my boyfriend ALSO went to school here and ALSO works here and he has even more debt than I do because I had 8 Scholarships going into school. If I would of went to a state university it would have almost been a free ride! Kicking myself.
So in reality together we are about 200,000$ in debt just because we went to school to do what we were passionate about.
In all honesty, I’m terrified. It has stifled our lives. We can’t even think about getting married or having kids.
We can pay my bills now but at the end of the month we have nothing to put into savings. I’ll get 300$ saved up (I direct deposit 10% of every pay check) and then a month goes by where things are tight or I have to pay most expensive loan and then I have to use that savings again. I’m absolutely frantic to find a way to pay this debt off.
All of your posts are so insightful and obviously you know what you are talking about but along with all my stress I absolutely do not know where to even start. I’m so nervous about emailing you but I am willing to try anything. I hope you are able to give me some insight. Sorry for such a spew of my situation. I’m sure you get TONS of emails. I really appreciate any time at all you have to email me back. I hope you have a wonderful day!
A few things I have already done and looked into are:
I am in the process of starting a blog to document this journey and sharing the fails and successes I come across. I am looking into sites where I can use my skills as an artist to make extra money (e.g. Etsy, Shapeways, Redbubble). I also put in an application to Zirtual because I have a pretty open schedule while at my job. I have signed up for auto payments on my smaller loan to get the 0.25% interest discount. Which is scary because there is no guarantee that the day it pulls I will have gotten paid in time and that I might not overdraw. But hopefully I’ll start making side money enough to not have to worry about that.”
If you have anything that you would like to say to help out this reader, please leave a comment below! I know she is very excited to see what everyone says and she will try to reply to comments as well.
Femme Frugality writes about money as it pertains to young adults, brides, parents, Pittsburghers, and, of course, college students. You can read her blog here.
Recently Michelle shared that W was returning to school, and asked for some tips for non-traditional students. I recently graduated, and now my fiance is going to college for the first time.
We’re about as non-traditional as it gets, both being far beyond “traditional” college age, and having children. So I’ve got a plethora of tips that have been helping us get through this stage in our lives. And Michelle was kind enough to let me share them in a guest post.
I know that sounds crazy. As a non-traditional student, you’ve got very grown-up bills to pay. But trust me. If you’re serious about your degree, trimming down your work schedule will help not just your grades, but your overall mental health. I am not suggesting you go into debt in order to go back to school. (Both my fiance and I are doing this without any loans.)
What I am suggesting is that you sit down and look at your monthly budget. Look at your bills, how much you’ll need to be contributing to your emergency fund, how much you’ll need for other essentials such as gas and groceries, and a realistic entertainment category (though it might not be a bad idea to trim it down a little bit if you can).
Figure out the lowest number you’re willing to commit to (be realistic about this) for your overall monthly budget.
In July of this year, I finished paying off around $40,000 in student loan debt. This still does not seem real to me. I honestly thought that I would be paying this forever. The minimum payments scared me as well.
We were saving for quite some time, and then towards the end I just started plopping down as much money as we possibly could towards my student loan debt.
I worked like crazy as well. We both increased our day job income significantly over the year before.
We also never really increased our budget. Yes, we did buy new cars, but weirdly enough our budget did not increase.
This is because we switched to more frugal entertainment (such as hiking, riding our bikes, etc. – and not focusing on spending every last penny on clothing), and we also focused on cooking better meals at home for ourselves. So our income kept increasing, but our budget did not.
Some companies will pay your student loans if you work for them. I even know of someone who receives a $2 bonus for each hour that she works for student loans. $2 may not seem like a lot, but if you work full-time then that’s over $300 a month. $300 a month for student loans is a good amount!
If you automatically pay your student loans each month, or consolidate them, then sometimes you can get an interest rate reduction. With Sallie Mae, I believe the reduction is 0.25%. Not a ton, but that is something!
Even if you don’t have a ton of spare money in your budget, even an extra $25 is important. Most people can find a spare $25 in their budget, so go and look!
It’s no secret that I love making side income. It makes life so much easier. Without it, I definitely do not think that I would have been able to pay off my student loans as quickly.
You can completely pretend that this extra income is not in your budget, and just shuffle ALL of this extra income towards student loan debt so that you do not miss it. If you have any extra time, then I’m sure that there is something out there that you can do to make extra money.
Yes, student loan repayment can seem very stressful when you think about it. Many people owe thousands and thousands in student loans. And, no matter how old you are, it can seem impossible. However, think about your goal and how good life will be once all of your student loan debt is gone.
Try to not let it get you down. Think positively and attack that debt!