Money I should Have Paid My Student Loans With….

I’ve spent a lot of money on things. THINGS. This money should have gone to my student loans. I’m going to start taking some pictures of these THINGS on Instagram and cross-posting them here. Here’s the quote from my Instagram:

I’m starting a new series of pictures including things I purchased with money that should have gone to my student loans. #1 – Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. I can’t return you now, so every sandwich I make with you will now save me some money. Average Panera breakfast for me $7.01. Cost of breakfast sandwich and half a grapefruit – $1.75.

I work 6 days a week and take a one week vacation every 3 months. After federal holidays, I’m working about 288 days a year. I was spending an average of $7.01 at Panera on mornings that I worked. I go other places for breakfast, but I’d say the average was no less than about $6.00 a morning. At $6.00 I’m saving $4.25 a day. That comes out to about $1224 a year. That’s $1224 that can pay down my student loans.

Not all of these things will net a profit, but at least this one did.

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Down On Debt

I never thought I’d feel trapped by my job. I love my career, but even the best career feels like a prison sentence when you HAVE to be there.

I moved to Austin, TX about 3 years ago. I’ve been in real estate for about 7 years. I went back to school around year 4 because my mom instilled in me a great fear of insecurity. She feared that the real estate bubble might soon burst in Texas, and I’d be left without a career. I figured my career at the time wasn’t much of a career, so why not?

I got my college degree in Psychology (how useful, I know), and shortly after, moved to Austin. I could have and should have done things way differently. Instead of living with my parents while I finished my degree, I got my own place. I had a lot of help, but even a lot of help wasn’t enough for a person who’d lived as freely as she wanted for 5 years.

Before my return to school, I only owed about $5,000 in student loans. I would give ANYTHING to go back to that amount. By the end of my degree, I’d racked up an additional $19,000 in student loans. But who cares, right? Student loan debt isn’t REAL debt. I would give ANYTHING to have never had that mindset and, again, I would give ANYTHING to go back to THAT amount.

When I moved to Austin, I looked for a job in marketing. I found a job with a company I hated and lasted there all of 4 months. I was lucky enough to have very little in the way of living expenses, so I figured why not return to real estate.

In Austin, you can find work as an apartment locator using your real estate license. I figured even if I didn’t make any money, at least I’d be doing something. It was only really a half truth. I knew I’d make money. I’ve always done well in this industry.

I started working and just a couple of months in I was doing well. I really loved what I did (let me make it clear again, I still love what I do). I got a place with my boyfriend and we were well on our way to having it all figured out.

About a year and a half in, shortly after a promotion, in the middle of the busy season, I went out and bought a car. I went in for an old car and walked out with a “used” car (2013, with only 1k in miles). Add on another $19,000 or so in debt.

Right after that I moved into a duplex that was $300 more than my old place. It also came with an electricity bill that was about $300 more than my old place as well.

Right around that time, the student loan payment on my biggest loan kicked in. When I made that first payment, it hit me. I was trapped. I was actually trapped. I’d pushed my debt out of my mind and pushed my spending to the very edge of sustainability.

I started reading up on debt and ran across the blog No More Harvard Debt. I was hooked. If this guy could pay down twice the debt with only a slightly higher salary, I could do it too.

So, I’m focusing on my student loan debt first. I want to pay off my student loan debt in 12 months. That’s roughly $2,000 a month. I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m going to try. I want to go back to loving my job and part of that is not feeling like I NEED my job.