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Do you have or are soon to have student loans? Let’s have a group scream: AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Now that that’s out of the way, hi. I’m Rebecca (or Becca for short) and I am in debt.
Who Am I?
Like many of you, I am one of the millions with student debt. Some of you reading this don’t have debt yet, but you may be anticipating it. It is a scary thought. It is even worse than what may grab you if you sleep with one foot off of the bed. No joke.
I have both undergraduate and graduate loans. Lucky me, right? Like some of you, I have made mistakes along the way. At times I was going to school part time and I even switched universities a few times due to lack of inspiration.
But you know what? All these mistakes have gotten me to where I am today, and for that I am grateful. So if you have made mistakes along your journey, don’t fret. You are not alone.
As one of my favorite childhood movies Labyrinth said:
“If she’d ‘ave kept goin’ down that way, she’d ‘ave gone straight to that castle”- Worm
Through the journey to the castle, the main character Sarah learned so much along the way about herself and her strengths. This is how I feel. If I had “gone straight to the castle” aka followed the path of the “typical” student, who knows where I would be now. I am embracing my story and so should you! You may have or will have debt. You may stumble and fall a few times, but you will get up. You will have a story to tell.
Anyways, back to the debt mistakes!
I had no clue I should be paying interest while in school. I had a job to cover some of my living and fun expenses but in my head, the debt I took out was going to be my total debt. Boy was I wrong. Oh so very wrong. That interest kept accruing and accruing. It was like the Energizer Bunny of student debt. Here is how I feel with student loans:
For my graduate degree, I went abroad to the UK (You can check out my travel blog here). While the tuition was similar to out-of-state tuition, it was only a 1-year program instead of two. I was able to save needing two years of living expenses. The downside was that there was no time for a side job and my interest was still accruing.
So here I am. I started with the high 5 figures in debt but with interest, I have entered 6 figures of debt. Initially I was not going to post my debt numbers, but I feel I should be open and honest with you. I feel very vulnerable opening up like this, but my goal is to help people in situations like I am in. I want people to understand that interest is a big deal. Don’t take it lightly. So here I go:
My Debt Starting Out:
I have made it a priority to pay off my debt as fast as possible. Last year I was able to pay off $15K on a $40K salary. Unfortunately, most of that was a car loan. On the plus side, I have paid off my car!!
So, where would you think my debt numbers are now after paying off my car? Well, you will probably be surprised….
My Debt Now:
Student Loans: $121K
Yes, unfortunately you read that correctly. After paying my minimums for 3 years and paying off my car, I am now at MORE debt that what I originally took out. I knew it would increase with interest but I was not prepared for this. This is so disheartening. How can I make progress with this? You can read my interview about my debt here. I hope you will take this journey with me and we can help each other along the way.
Here is how I will feel when my student loans are gone (ignore the Redbull- this was a university trip to Kenya and I was tired haha):
So What Do I Hope To Accomplish?
- I want to help those with or without student loans (yet) to avoid my mistakes.
- I want to give tips and tools to help you gain control over student debt.
- I want to hold myself accountable for paying off my loans and inspire you to do the same.
- I want to help you find side hustles to earn extra money to pay off your loans.
- I want to help you budget and live frugally while you pay off your student debt.
What Can You Do Now?
- Organize all your student loans. Need help doing that? Sign up here for my free printable!
- Come up with a reasonable budget between debt, other bills, savings, and fun. Check out a free trial of You Need a Budget (YNAB) to get started. I used this system to make huge improvements on my debt!
- Create a game plan on how you want to pay down your debt. Do you want to use the snowball or avalanche method? I discuss this a bit in my post on paying off $15K last year.
- Research and ask questions. The more you learn the better off you will be when gaining control over student debt. Join my Facebook group for community support.
- Follow my blog for tips, tools, and support in your journey.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE printable to start organizing your student loans TODAY!
Let me know in the comment what stage you are in with the student loan journey. Any tips or tricks to share? I would love to hear them and feel free to email me or message me on social media!
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