I have some student loans. Enough that up until a few years ago I would lose sleep over it because I couldn’t wrap my head around two things: how could I have been so oblivious and stupid!? The other was: how am I going to get out of this mess? My loans were like Godzilla, they had come crashing into my life knocking over my freedom to make choices such as leaving a job I was unhappy in, to travel more, to date freely without being afraid of letting the financial cat out of the bag. It was my fault of course, at 17 years old I was accepted into college and proceeded to accumulate my student loan debt freshman year. I was granted a large number of grants and scholarships but my school was $26,000 a year. I worked almost full-time every week and approached life from the “Sleep is for the Weak” standpoint. But, the training wheels were off-I had a taste of the power of student loans. They got me what I needed-an education. Why would I stop taking them out when offered?
My finances were a hot mess and I attribute that to lack a financial mentor and really I was clueless about money and life. Quite frankly, I was just doing the best that I could with the information that I had. Fast forward several years: trips to Europe, South America, clubbing, shopping, several financial crisis, and just having a lot of fun and the student loans were still there! Then, I went to grad school. Again, I was so focused on the school part that everything else was kind of in the background. Like white noise. The student loans continued to thrive unattended kind of like mint planted in a corner of your garden. Then you look at the garden one day and you’re like holy sh$t that’s A LOT of mint! Finally, the loans had gotten my complete attention. Thankfully, it happened at a time when I had a ton of information at my fingertips on how to deal with debt and, my head was in the game. I was not in the right frame of mind when I was younger to attack this debt and become wealthy. Now I am. My financial habits were atrocious when I was younger and I clearly had no idea what I was doing. But, my habits weren’t that great when I had my lightbulb moment. I did know how to work hard, and was completely happy to work like a dog. But, I treated money with a lack of respect and I found that it trickled through my fingers like water. Part of the reason why I started this blog was to process how in the world was I going to attack this unruly situation that had spread its sticky tentacles into so many parts of my life? It even affected how I felt about myself. I felt like a failure even though I had had so many successes in my life.
So, what’s my plan? One-I am actively saving an emergency fund. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I used to save like crazy for travel. I would have an end goal: trip to some exotic locale and I would save like a freakin’ Rock Star. Nothing would get in my way of meeting that goal. I don’t know why, but, I have been almost resistant to the idea of having a substantial savings account. I don’t think I’m the only one because the U.S. savings rate is incredibly low compared to other Western Nations. I think that subconsciously I felt like the money I would be saving would be at the expense of missed opportunities for adventure and fun. Instead of understanding that actively saving would create security and balance in my life so that I could have future opportunities. I have gotten sick of feeling constant anxiety about my financial situation. Since I plan on living to 100 years old, a couple of years of sacrifice in the grand scheme of things is NOTHING.
Two-I will be paying off my unsecured debt. I don’t have a crazy amount of credit card debt. But, if I weren’t paying on those other debts I could use that money to pay down my student loans. I will be paying off one credit card a month (or every other month) starting in March-hopefully!
Three-I will be using any extra earnings and putting it towards my student loans after the cards are paid off. This seems like an obvious thing to do. But, the hard part is that I would like to identify ways to create extra income so that I can really kick this debt’s a@@. I am in the process of doing that now and have already earned my first $130 in blog related earnings this month. With the exception of the $30 dollars (it’s an Amazon Gift Card for a survey that I did) the other one hundred dollars was deposited into my emergency fund.
Four-and this is the big one…I will sell my condo. I am hoping to meet “the One!” And I’m working hard on that project. Maybe I should do I a blog post about that? Anywho, hopefully in the next two years I will be seriously involved with a fantastic guy and getting married. Obviously, I will be attacking the student loans in the process. Once, married I will then sell the condo and pay off the rest of the debt and hopefully have money left over. I really love my place and it is the second best item that I’ve purchased (besides my education) it has provided a wonderful shelter from the storm that is life. It is in a wonderful area and I have fantastic neighbors. But, I am ready to move on. If I haven’t met “the One” (and I am trying pretty hard!) then, I will still sell my condo. I would like to purchase a slightly larger place in the next couple of years. I have lived here since 2007 and in many ways it’s an example of how things haven’t been changing for me: same job since 2004, same home since 2007, and no serious boyfriend since 2009. Something has got to change. Don’t worry, I am actively working on all of those aspects of my life and I am feeling pretty goo about things. Knock on wood. I will keep you posted on my journey. Enjoy the video.