Monday, May 16, 2011

Dollars and Cents

(So this post is a little self congratulatory.  I apologize for that. But I need to scream something and it seems rude to tell people in the real world!)

I was very lucky regarding undergraduate school.  Between scholarships, working, money my grandma left me and some generosity of my parents', I graduated college with no debt.  Grad school was another story.

My whole life I knew graduate school would be on my own.  My dad, wrongly, felt guilty about this.  Like he'd somehow let me down.  Not even close.  He was amazingly supportive and still is.

But I still graduated with a hefty debt.

Because my credit rating was so good, and my dad agreed to cosigns my loans, I got really good interest rates.  But even really good interest rates on a lot of money, is a lot of money in monthly payments.

When I graduated I had a few repayment options.  I could do the 10 year regular repayment, graduated repayment based on income or spread it out over 25 years but wind up paying a lot more.  I opted for 10 year basic repayment.

This meant my monthly payment was ~$731/month. Now some of my friends had significantly higher payments because they took out more money, they had undergraduate debt, and/or their interest rate was much higher.   But for me, it was a lot of money (I think for most people it would be!).

I got a job soon after graduation with a non-profit.  And I love my work.  My salary, compared to other non-profits in the area was comparable.  Now a bunch of the people I graduated with went into the private sector and made SIGNIFICANTLY more.  Of course I was a little jealous of their salaries.  But there was one thing my job had that their jobs didn't: loan repayment assistance.

Because I had a non-profit job, I was eligible for a loan repayment program from my school AND one from the state.

I have received a considerable amount of money from those two programs over the past 3 years.  Plus, D contributes a portion of his salary to my loans every month and from time to time I've written an additional check to pay off specific loans.

Last night I was looking at my bank statement online and noticed my lender didn't take the full loan payment.  Confused, I went directly to the lender's site and realized my monthly payment had again gone down!

When I started paying my debt in November 2008 until now, my monthly payment is now ~$440.  That's a savings of almost $300/month.

PLUS, I still have a few loan programs I'm expecting to receive some money from.  Which means, by the end of the summer I could have $300/month as a loan payment.

D and I are very careful and try really hard to not have to use savings to pay for anything.  But realistically, we are using one salary to pay for two people, we do occasionally dip into savings. 

Except for big purchases, we no longer have to do that.  That is amazing.

I'm so proud of myself and D for paying off this debt so quickly.  It isn't easy.  And there are definitely things that we are denying ourselves in order to do it.

But I'm still proud.

Do you have debt that you are working hard to pay off?


  1. Awesome, Awesome job, Sara! My husband went through Undergrad without any debt too. He had academic scholarships and his parents did the Florida pre-paid program. I have about $12k in college debt. Other than that, we don't have any debt but I am a stay at home mom and my husband doesn't make THAT much money. We cut corners and I am having to learn to pinch pennies. I'm generally HORRENDOUS with money and he's TOO good. We make a good team but it's been very difficult for me to learn to not spend.

    Congrats on paying down this debt so quickly! You ROCK!

  2. In a way I do. Since I work for a low income, high needs school district, the state of Texas will pay back up to $10,000 in school loans (read: all my loans). I just have to meet the 5 year criteria, which this is my fifth year. So, I'm coasting on minimum payments until then.

  3. Yay for you!! Yes, we have debt. Unfortunately, lots. Boo!

    Thanks for linking up on my Super STALKER Sunday! I can't believe the response we have gotten again this week! :D If I wasn't already stalking you, I am now!

    I hope you won't be a stranger and come back next week, or even just mid week and say hello! : ) I post lots of other great things like recipes, tackles, and rambles (oh my!).

    Have you checked out my FANTASTIC Blog Hop Directory? It has at least 20 blog hops listed for each day of the week. There has to be something there to suit your fancy too. ; )

  4. Wow! My student loan debt is fairly hefty, but not horrible. I pay the minimum and do the 30 year one or whatever.

    Right now, my goal is to not use my credit cards. I only use them for travel. I'm trying to put money away now for when and if we have another baby so we have a good daycare fund built up. That is one expense that has become very overwhelming.

  5. That is so awesome! And not at all an easy task. It's so good that you're taking it head on and dealing with it, though. Way to go!


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