Time for some brutal honesty:
I graduated college 2.5 years ago roughly $30,000 in total debt. Although most of that was student loans, there was a nice chunk that I owed my parents for various rent-food-utilities-etc. expenses while I was in school.
Undoubtedly, I was ill prepared for college. I had virtually no savings, didn’t work terribly hard to get scholarships, and genuinely thought working part time during the school year and full time over the summer would get me through. [Pause for side-splitting laughter.]
Now, as the third anniversary of the date on my diploma looms on the horizon, I sat down and realized that I’m still a solid $24,000 in the hole, $17,000 being student loans. Ouch.
Even though I have made progress, I’m shocked by how large those numbers are. I know, to some people, that’s a drop in the bucket, but I’m broke–a $20 bill is a big deal most weeks, I’m living paycheck-to-paycheck despite having a good job, and I need to get myself out of this cycle of constantly going over budget.
And so, in this public declaration, I’m saying it. I want to be done with my student loans by the end of 2015. I’m over it. I’m sick of it hanging over my head. I’m fed up with feeling guilty every time I go out to lunch or buy a new shirt.
So, for the next 17 months, I’m going to buckle down, do the beans-and-rice thing, and tackle this debt like it’s nobody’s business. I’m focusing my efforts on the loans I owe the government and setting aside what I owe my parents for right now. That will be the next thing and probably will only take a few months to knock out. But in my mind, there’s a HUGE difference between 18 months (not so far away) and two years (forever).
I know I’ve mentioned student loans before, but I’ve shied away from writing too much about it because (1) it’s depressing and (2) it’s embarrassing.
But then today, I realized that sharing my story might help convince even one other person to face their finances head on instead of assuming it will work out some day (it won’t).
Student Loans as of July 15: $16,668
Goal: Pay off in total by December 31, 2015
Action Plan: Uh… I’m still working on that. Stay posted, and wish me luck!