Last week I talked about my resolve to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible. I don’t want to be paying over $800 a month for the next 14 years just to pay off my education. I want to be able to save money and travel and that’s just not very realistic with all that money coming out. Luckily, if I pay it off in bigger chunks, I’ll save a lot of money on interest. But before I get into that, I want to go into how I got into debt in the first place.
I’ve never had credit cards. I’ve never overdrawn a bank account. All my debt is student loans (with the exception of a line of credit for car repairs that I’m on track to pay off before interest kicks in).
I went to a small private school in Portland, Oregon. I’m from Idaho, so there was no in-state tuition, but that wouldn’t have applied since the school was private. I graduated four years and had the time of my life. I loved the small classes, the professors who kept me accountable, and the relatively small student body. I chose private school because I didn’t want to fall through the cracks.
From a financial standpoint, it’s smarter to go to an in-state public school. If there is one that has the program you want, I would recommend forcing yourself to have the self-control to keep yourself accountable and not fall through the cracks.
That being said, there’s more to life than money. I don’t know if I would have graduated if I’d gone to a large school, and then any money I had spent, though significantly less, would have been wasted. I also loved going away from home, and having experiences I never would have had otherwise.
So, if you’re set on a small school, or an out-of-state school because you think you’ll enjoy it more, go for it. Just be smart about your finances. I got some scholarships, but mostly just the ones I qualified automatically for. I kept procrastinating on external scholarships until the deadlines were past.
I also didn’t pay off any of the interest that accumulated while I was in school. This is a couple thousand that is now gaining interest, that I could have paid off while still in school. If I had been making payments while in school, I would have had more of a mind about my finances and probably would have saved a lot more.
The main point of all this is that going into debt is easy. And getting out takes a lot of time and effort. So even if you don’t have to make payments for a while, make them anyway. Think about the payments you’ll have to make in the future. Yes, go out and have fun. I wouldn’t trade my college experience for the world. But I still would have loved it if I had eaten out a couple fewer times a month, and been more financially conscious.
So, that’s my debt story. The next post will focus on what I’m currently doing to leverage my current income and save money to pay off my student loans