Saturday, 25 May 2013

How I Plan To Pay Off My Student Loans (in 1 ... maybe 3 ... years)

I have a new obsession.  It isn't Pogos or Eggos (a food obsession I had when I was 7), it isn't Orlando Bloom (whom I was *actually in love with* when I was 13), and it isn't Doctor Who (... okay, that's a lie, I will always be obsessed with Doctor Who ... I <3 Tennant).  My new obsession is ...


After four years of studying for a Bachelor's Degree in English at Western University, and one year studying and interning for an Arts Management diploma at Continuing Studies at Western (expected 2013), I have been saddled with almost $30,000 in debt.  About 1/3 of that debt came from my last loan for my post-graduate program at Continuing Studies, where I received (for the most part) very good instruction and I enjoyed my time very much (but, c'mon, about $9,000 in tuition and fees for ONE year of study .... seriously?!)

After taking a "not-for-profit" finance course this past year (in which, I am sorry to say, I didn't really learn a hell of a lot about NFP finance), I was inspired to take more control of my money.  I watched a video about a guy who paid off his $90,000 student debt in seven months; I followed a blog by a young Canadian woman, who writes about savings and how she paid off her student debt in six months; and I read Gail Vaz-Oxlade's  It's Your Money: Becoming a Woman of Independent Means.  Admittedly, the No More Harvard Debt guy was being stupid with his money and had soooooo many more liquid assests I do, and the Squawkfox lady has less debt than me.  Nevertheless, I have been motivated by these people to set my own financial goals and dig myself out of my student debt.  

And I want to pay it off in one (to three) year(s)!

This is going to be hella challenging, but I am determined.  I have seen first hand how debt and financial pressures can make your life a misery.  I am 23 years old, and I don't want to still be paying my student loans off when I am 27 or 30 (or, forbid, for even longer than that)!  I know a number of people doubt I can do this in one year, not because they doubt my determination, but because they doubt the practicality and realistic nature of this plan.  They may be right, too, because at the moment I am interning and do not have a full time job, and I may not even be living in this city next year.  But there is one thing that I love more than that amazing feeling of accomplishment ... and that's proving to people that they are wrong [about me].  I am motivated when people tell me 'no,' or they tell me something isn't possible.  

As of today, I have paid off a Grand Total of:

1% of my student loan.

A dent.  Barely even visible on my pie chart of student debt repayment.  Nonetheless, I am proud of that 1%!

I will document here the different ways that I am saving my money (and making money) and working towards paying off that student debt in one (best case scenario) to three (worst case scenario) years.

How I Am Paying Off My Student Loans:
- Cutting down my spending to just the need to have's and making a solid budget
- Finding unique and inexpensive gifts for special occasions (for example, contact your local university, college, or library to see if they offer free tours of different exhibits and collections)
- Holding a yard sale (de-clutter, make money, and encourage re-use of materials and products)
- Getting a second job (in my busy schedule, I work two internships and have a part time job of 17 hours a week ... so I took a paper route which requires only one morning a week)
- Collecting empty beer and alcohol containers to return to the store for deposit
- Starting a business (make money off of your hobby) 

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