Recently, I posted on Facebook that I had made my last student loan payment and was debt free. I received several follow-up messages from friends asking about my process and, since enough people asked, I thought I would write about it here.
For context: I'm in the humanities (specifically writing studies and women's and gender studies) and I was in college/grad school for ~12 years. Here's the break down of that:
- Bachelor's degree (graduated 2011) - 4 years and 1 summer session
- Master's degree (graduated 2013) - 2 years and 1 summer session
- Graduate certificate (graduated 2017) - 2 years (completed during my doctoral program)
- Doctorate (graduated 2019) - 4 years
- Delegate based on strengths. I'm the saver in my family and my partner is the spender; as a result, I handle most of our finances.
- If you have to have a side hustle, try to make it something you enjoy. I had lots of cool jobs throughout my educational journey that I am thankful for (the job as the counselor at the summer camp for at-risk youth was the most rewarding).
- Don't get too overwhelmed. Any repayment toward debt is progress, even if it's not much. (That said, make sure you are still considering your interest rates!).
- Cut costs where you can. I found those quick trips into the convenience store a few times a week for an iced tea really added up.
- School is hard, but if you can work, do it. I'm incredibly grateful now that I had so many job opportunities during my doctorate. (However, the fact that I had to work so many jobs during my doctorate is evidence that the higher education system is broken and grad students are not supported like they should be, but that's a rant for another day).
- It gets better. Just because your job/financial situation is not ideal now doesn't mean it will be that way forever. Save what you can, even if it's not much.