Hey, it seems that someone other than myself does read my blog after all! Just kidding, but I am once again extremely happy to report that I was nominated for a Liebster Award which makes me extremely happy and grateful. The nomination comes from a newer blog that I had actually been following for a while from a girl known as ‘B’ on her blog Banishing Loans. I was drawn to her blog because of her writing style being interesting and easy to read as well as her being someone that likes to run the numbers on her student loans just like me, even if I probably do that far too often. It’s cool to know that another one of the blogs that I read regularly is also reading my blog from time to time.
B started out with $30,000 in student loan debt and she is now down to around $27,500 while making steady progress every month. She was smarter than me in going to a more affordable state college in order to come out with less total debt. But let’s be honest in the fact that all student loan debt sucks no matter how big or small your loans were. We all have different situations and trying to juggle student loan payments while trying to progress is a pain.
With the Liebster Award comes another set of questions to answer, which is definitely my favorite part so here are the questions that were given to me and my answers:
1. What was your big ‘aha’ moment when you realized you wanted to change your finances?
The big ‘aha’ moment for me was when I finally put all the numbers in front of my face and saw just how much the total loans I had were. Looking at each loan separately it didn’t seem too bad and especially separating government and private loans. My total monthly payments were going to be around $850 a month, almost as much as rent! I felt really down knowing that if I did move out with monthly payments like that I’d have to live like I was poor for the next 6+ years. I decided at that time I needed to accelerate this process.
2. If you could talk to you two, three, or five years ago, what advice (financially) would you give?
Two or three years ago, I would tell myself to cut my emergency fund in half and throw about $10,000 towards my loans right away from the money I had saved up from working in high school/college. Then I would start making $2,000 a month payments right away. When I first started paying back my loans I was only doing the minimum, and probably lost out on a decent amount to interest there.
And then going back seven years ago I’d tell myself to go to community college for 2 years and THEN transfer to the school I wanted. Would have cut my costs basically in half.
3. How do you best fight off a case of the budget-busting spending urge?
A lot of times it’s just reminding myself of “Do I REALLY need this?” or “Is there a cheaper alternative or can this wait?”. For things like online shopping it can just be a matter of leaving the item in your cart for a week or so and then if you still want/need it then you can buy it. If you forgot about it, then you really didn’t need it in the first place.
4. What would you like to see more of from the blogs YOU read?
I really like reading about the success stories or just seeing blogs that have progress pages to see how someone went through their debt journey, how long they took to pay things back, etc. It’s also good to know that I’m not the only one that screws up or has frustrating moments along the way, so the personal stories are good too.
5. What has (to date) been the hardest thing you’ve done in name of financial well-being for yourself?
I think the hardest thing has actually been starting this blog, but it’s also been extremely rewarding. Having to keep my monthly budget and progress updates going keeps me motivated and encourages me to keep moving forward while keeping me accountable. I also have a reason to keep updating my spreadsheets and staying organized. I’ve also talked with a lot of new people which is great! The hardest financial transaction I’ve done was basically cutting my absurdly large emergency fund in half and putting one giant payment towards my student loans. It took a while to convince myself that it was the best decision, as psychologically it felt like I was “losing” money. You can read about that here.
Anyways, if you haven’t already done so go on and head over to the Banishing Loans blog and check out what B has to say. If you are someone that is in a similar situation of paying back student loans or are going to be in the future I think you will find it relevant and a good read.