Student Loan Frustration

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Frustration Setting In

So, I have been sitting here for the last hour thinking about our debt… of course. I am just so confused and frustrated. The more debt blogs I read the more inspired I get yet the more frustrated I get. I have not come across a lot of blogs who have as much debt as we do and if they do, it is because of a mortgage. Many people have large credit card debt, medical bills, and so forth in addition to student loans and still do not have as much debt as we do. I know I have not broken down our debt yet because I am still waiting for a final number however, aside from a car loan it is all student loans. Mind you, we both only have our Bachelor’s. We don’t have a Masters or some PhD.

It took me 5 years to graduate because I switched degrees half way through. I also participated in a National Student Exchange program where I went to school in a different state for one year. I had to take out a little bigger loan because I stayed on campus that year. I graduated with upwards of $50,000 in debt. I never took out anything extra just for living (aside from that one year) and still $50,000 for some little University in Minnesota?!

My husband graduated in 4 years. He went to a private school which I understand costs more. He stayed on campus all 4 years, never took out more loans than he needed. I would say he graduated with upwards of $80,000 in debt. For four years! From a University with a super large percentage of guaranteed jobs upon graduation. Now look, neither of us are using our degrees and we are both in the military. I would say we make pretty good money together. The military is what brought us together and has changed both of our lives for the better, so I am super thankful for it. And think, if we would have joined right out of high school, we would be higher ranking and make more money with no student loan debt. Argghhhh! Now do you see why I am frustrated?

Facing Reality

Reality is we did go to college first. We both had a blast and gained valuable knowledge and experience in addition to the student loans. I like to think our age and experience is beneficial for where we are in the military. I guess the point is, we finally acknowledged we aren’t in the best (nor the worst) financial situation but it is time to do something about it. We can’t sit and complain and think “what if,” we just have to do something about it. I am so thankful for our friend introducing us to Dave Ramsey’s book. If i hadn’t read it a month ago, I probably would have went on a shopping spree this last weekend and be planning the next trip I can take.

Questions

I am still curious though. For those with a lesser amount of student loan debt, what did you do? Did you receive grants? Scholarships? Did you work your behind off in college and pay it as you went? Did parents help you out?

Neither of us received a single grant because our parents made “too much.” I received a couple really small scholarships. ($100-$1000) Looking back, I wish I would have looked harder for scholarships. I also worked part-time the whole time and I could have easily put money towards college; however, I was always planning for the next trip. I traveled a lot in college. I made some great memories. I can’t look back and say I regret that. I haven’t been in my home state for 3+ years and I still talk to my best friends from college almost every day. Those are my people and I firmly believe will always be my people because of the adventures we had in college. I am not sure we will ever make that good of friends moving around in the military.

I am really curious about your answers though. How did you skate by with a lesser amount of student loan debt than us?

Use the comment section below 🙂

Finally I can stop thinking about this and enjoy the rest of my night! Thanks for letting me vent.

6 Comment

  1. Brittany says: Reply

    I too am in student loan debt, and you know who’s shoulders that falls on? My husbands! I’m in the process of trying to pay down my debt….. With a kid and a fixer upper house it feels impossible. For the people who don’t ha e debt, that’s awesome, but there’s a HIGHER percentage who do! So awesome what you’re doing and I really hope it works out (I know untag emergencies and unforeseen expenses happen) but be proud of your degree and your accomplishments so far!

    1. Erica says: Reply

      You are so right Brittany. I definitely need to be proud of what I have accomplished. When looking at the money aspect, it can be overwhelming; however, now you made me remember I am proud of my degree and I will be just as proud if I can pay it off in a timely manner! We don’t have a fixer upper house nor a child yet so in reality we needed to realize we had extra money that was just going to waste. It didn’t cause problems in our relationship but it was a constant burden so this is helping us view our finances differently and not just blow money because we have it. Thank you so much for the encouraging words and making me remember that I can still be proud of what I have accomplished!

  2. Greg says: Reply

    I paid for all of my own college. I did recieve a few grants that made it about 500 a semester to attend community college. I took 2.5 years to get my associates and 2 more years to get my bachelors. I only had $1200 in college loans from my two year school because it took longer than it should and grants ran out(changing your major is a bad idea as you found out too.)
    In my 2 years at Oneonta for my bachelors I accrued $32,000+ in college loans after a few grants. I had a bunch of other debts that I was able to get rid of before I joined the air force (debt to income ratio needed to be in air force standards.)
    At the time I entered the Air Force I had the $32,000 in college loans and about $23,000 for my Camaro. Currently I have $26,000 in college loans and $14,000 for my Camaro.(my savings and credit card debt cancel each other so I could have cash available for a place when I get off base)
    My first step in my goal to get rid of debt is that I’m hoping to have my car paid off by spring next year… (If I can ever get that BAH and hopefully saving money during deployment) then work on the college loans. Right now I am paying the minimum on college loans and deferring what I can (that loan is also getting part of it paid for by the Air Force CLRP.)

    1. Erica says: Reply

      Wow, you have a made a good dent on both your car and student loans in two years! Without BAH, that is quite progress! $32,000 accrued in two years? What is an expensive school? More expenses come with living out of the dorms but you make more too so choose wisely which I am sure you will! Are you deploying soon? You can definitely make good money with that… we will be making almost $1000 extra/month with Cory being gone. That CLRP payment is nice, it saved me from paying only paying interest on that loan this year. Only one more payment left though 🙁 Good luck, I know you can pay your Camaro off by next spring!

  3. I know this is an old post, but I am sure you will make great, lifelong friends in the military! Even after multiple PCSs, we still run into people all the time from a previous assignment, school, or training course. Before you know it, you’ll have friends all around the world!

    As far as paying for school, my wife and I were fortunate to have scholarships the whole way through. She did ROTC all 4 years. Meanwhile, I had an academic scholarship out of high school and then partway through school joined ROTC.

    I wouldn’t change anything. Take advantage of all the opportunities the military gives you!

    1. Erica says: Reply

      Yes, we are already running into friends we have made at every single base we have been to so far! The Air Force is such a small world.

      As much as I hate these student loans, without them we would not be where we are today. We wouldn’t have taken the time to learn about finances and we would probably still be spending money aimlessly. Therefore, I have a love hate relationship with them! They will be out of our life soon enough though.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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