Today’s post comes from my wonderful friend Carly. She’s the one that encouraged me to start this blog, and I love talking to her about personal finance. She is the same age as me, but seems so much more together! She and her hubby-to-be have full time jobs, their own house, and are saving for a wedding. She is incredibly knowledgable, and I thought she would be a great person to feature on my blog.
So, without further ado, here is the first “Featured Friday” post:
My debt story
Hello Interwebs. You have never heard of me before, but I am a long time reader of great personal financial blogs like Club Thrifty, Money After Graduation and Punch Debt in the Face. My lovely blogger friend (and pal in real life) has asked me to do a guest post.
I’ve always been extremely nosy about other people’s debt and how they are getting out of it. I’m fascinated by how young people of today are spending their money; I like to compare and learn things from them. Like how Vanessa is able to save a ridiculous amount of money and how Cait is able to calculate nearly exactly how much she’ll spend a month. Since I am a nosy nelly, maybe you are too. Here’s my story:
In high school, I had a couple jobs – mostly working for my dad’s company during the summers. I remember I got my biggest paycheque ever after working so hard for two weeks: CDN$505.00. I literally couldn’t believe how big the cheque was. Once I was 17, I worked in a clothing store to save money for a trip. I was the ‘cool girl’ (or at least, I thought I was) because I worked in the ‘cool’ store and made oodles of money. I spent it almost all on clothes from the very clothing store. How mature.
In grade 12, I decided I wanted to go to university. And not just any university, a big university, far away from home. I applied and was surprised I was actually accepted. Off I went to study for four years. My grandfather graciously helped pay for first year, and from year two to four, I relied on savings from my summer job in broadcasting and student loans. Each September, I got a hefty deposit in my account. I didn’t budget my money, but I know I gave myself $1,000 per month to pay for rent, food, fun, clothes and school supplies. I was actually pretty good with keeping myself to the minimum. If I ever needed more, my parents were always there to lend a hand, as long as I explained why I needed money and justified how it would be used. I lived like a student should (poor and frugal). I did make many mistakes, but that’s another post.
In fourth year university, I got a very hefty student loan disbursement. I scuttled away enough money to pay for my eight months in school and banked the rest. A few months before I graduated, I decided to take a trip to New Zealand! In my eyes, I had earned it (insert ‘me generation’ snark here). So many of my friends were going on trips, my sibling did the same thing and my parents and extended family put a huge emphasis on traveling. I had cash gifts, money ‘saved’ from my student loans and some cash that I made in the two months before I left.
My trip to New Zealand was amazing. I learned a lot, partied a bit and saw places I thought I’d never see. I remember having only two weeks left of traveling remaining and calculating out how much I had per day. I stayed in 16-bed dorm hostels and opted for the cheaper way of life. I only spent on events I really wanted to do like sky diving and zorbing and passed on things like chocolate tours. I did a lot of hiking and running to actually see the country instead of paying for city tours. I came back to Canada and realized I needed to further my education, so off I went to another big city and applied for more student loans.
Fast forward to one year later; I graduated from my budget-friendly college course and landed my first job in the corporate world, post-studies. I was finally making a steady paycheque and did some lifestyle inflation (hello nicer apartment, a real bed and nice throw pillows).
One day, I stumbled upon some personal finance blogs and because I’m a nosy nelly, I started reading people’s history with their debt. Something clicked and I started repaying my student loan before the grace period (my mom was so proud). Then I slowly started increasing my debt repayment monthly solely based on the inspiration of my now-daily rounds of personal finance blogs.
I now owe a massive CDN$13,623.26 on my student loan. It started at $$23,712.54 in April 2012. I still have a long way to go, probably another two years (maybe a bit less if I’m smart!). I also owe my parents a small amount on a no-interest fee loan that was a provincial student loan that they paid off so I wouldn’t be paying interest (thanks parents!) We have a mutual agreement (and it’s on paper) that after my student loan is paid; I will funnel those funds for a handful of months and pay off my parents rather quickly.
So there’s my story. Plain and simple. I’m not able to pay off my loans super fast like the ever-disciplined (and inspiring) Jordann, but I make every effort to balance debt repayment, savings and emergency funds.
What’s your debt story?