A Letter to my Debt Free Self

10:00 AM

This was a difficult post for me to write. I like to live my life not regretting any choices I've made. So I wanted to ensure I stayed away from the "I shoulda, woulda, coulda". So this is what I would write to my debt free self. The person that did not have a credit card. The person that was under 50k in student loans. Now my loans are high I am surprised and wonder how did I get here.

Of course I am here due to wanting more education and wanting to be an expert in my field. This is evident since I am in a Ph.D program. However as I look back I realize there are things I let slip and did not research while getting to this point that I wish I knew. The concept of paying back my loans did not hit me until a classmate of mine mentioned she paid her M.A loans off during school. So she is debt free going into the Ph.D program. 

In truth, I haven't been debt free in years. I think the first time I swiped my credit card was in 2007. From then on I made a few mistakes with it. I had the money to pay for what I was buying I was using it to build my credit and let it get away from me. Speaking to myself prior to the first credit card swipe, I would tell myself to not open a credit card and cash flow everything. If I didn't have the cash I can't purchase it.

Fast forwarding to undergrad, I took out loans to pay for my rent and my books. I did not travel much in undergrad which was great. However I still ended up escaping undergrad with 40k in student loans. I know you may be thinking that's not bad but I entered as a junior. I was so focused on my degree that I was not making smart financial decisions. In undergrad, if I could step back in time and speak to myself while in undergrad I would tell myself to not live on campus it would've saved me 15k. I would work during my time there as a student to offset the amount I was spending on books and food. I would meal prep to avoid eating out.

Grad school is all loans but paying off my loans while in the program might of saved me thousands of dollars in interest and have a lower amount of student loans. Now that I am at the end of my first year in my Ph.D program... I'm woke! So I am working on ways to chip away at my debt as I continue through my program. The goal I created for myself is to pay off $60k by the end of my program. Thus far I have paid off $1k. It's a drop in the bucket but a step in the right direction.

How am I paying for the student loans? Side Hustles, cutting back and following my budget. I will begin blogging about my side hustles and how I manage them with school and a full time job.

What are some things you would want to tell your debt free self? Comment below and I will  put it together with other great tips in a follow-up blog post. 

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  1. Great post Becca! I love your blog. I too, am living frugally and trying to pay off school loans as soon as possible. The Struggle is real, girl!

    1. Thanks for commenting and reading! Yes, the struggle is too real. This is the part of adulting no one ever shares. :)


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