It is often discussed how much student loan debt a person has or carries. There are many tales of unfortunate circumstances where a hard working student is left with more debt than some people carry on their mortgage. It can be the one road block that stops them from getting married, buying a house, and even starting a family. This can mean troubling things for the economy at large as it depends on people making significant changes and spending significant amounts of money. It has certainly kept me from doing things that could have been accomplished if it weren’t for student loan debt.
I graduated with over $12,000 in student loan debt with my bachelor’s degree in psychology. It was such an achievement especially in my family. My parents hailed from South American and encouraged me endlessly to attend college. They stood on with me on the graduation platform beaming proudly as well as I was. It was an achievement for all of us, and it did not even occur to me of the immense loan debt that I would soon have to pay off. For that moment, I was on top of the world.
I got a major dose of reality about six months later. My first statement came with that eye popping amount, and I nearly had a panic attack. It was the first time I had seen the amount on paper. After much deliberation with myself, I accepted that I owed this amount. On top of that, I knew it had to be paid back. I finally made the decision to act rationally and make a budget for myself. I also resolved to live frugally to make sure the debt would be paid back. In a nutshell, I cut all the silly spending on stupid things such as brand name clothing and focused on how to pay down this debt.
I know that I received my education and I have been very lucky for that. Sometimes I wonder what I could have done with the money I am paying back. I could have taken a wonderful trip to Europe with all expenses paid. I could have bought a practically new car to replace my old vehicle that I have had for over a decade. It could have been a great start to a retirement account that would have been a great foundation for my financial future. The savings alone could have been a great boost to my checking account.
There is no denying that I would have a lot less debt but I still have a degree. This degree has helped me earn better jobs and given me a real sense of accomplishment. I know that I make more money because of it. I will also have this degree for the rest of my life which is something that I will never forget. In an indirect way, it has taught me about how to budget money and even given me the inspiration to start this blog. I count my blessing everyday that I have been given the motivation to pay off debt and build a better financial future. These are lessons that have made me a better person and more financially able to take on the world. I am now happy to report that I owe thousands less than when I started my student loan story.
Debt can be a crippling, but it can also give you a whole new perspective on life. It is all about how you handle it. I hope that people can learn through my writings as I learn through the personal finance writing of others. Student loan debt does not have to be the killer of your future ambitions. It is simply another reason to become financially savvy and frugal to better prepare for the future.