Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Shelby and school, and another debt gone!

See ya later, Redline Recovery! Just had them pull the last payment I owed for my settlement agreement. Hooray! Another one bites the dust!

Got a nice comment on my last post, asking about how I manage to do the school thing, and my reply comment turned into something post worthy, so I figured I'd just post about it, haha.

Yes, unfortunately, I do have student loans (and maximum grants). With us moving to Houston, they'll be paid off hopefully within 6 months of graduation, due to a HUGE increase in income. Unfortunately, college tuition here is not cash-flow-able unless you have a good income. Cost of attendance for my college for a year at the in-state rate is just shy of 16k per year. Having student loans right now is just one of those things we have to deal with, knowing what we'll be able to do financially by having the degrees that go along with them.

Working while going to school? For me it's a huge drain. I worked for a grocery store that started me at 18 hours a week, which was do-able. (un)Fortunately, I'm one of those with a strong work ethic, and when people would call in sick, I'd go cover their shifts. 18 hours turned into 25 per week, then turned into 36 per week. Finally finals week of Spring semester 2006, I worked 74 hours in addition to taking my finals (I was carrying 17 credit hours that semester). I flunked out. I was placed on academic suspension (got kicked out of school), and I had to appeal to be allowed back in. One of the contingencies of my appeal being accepted was that I would either go back down to 15 hours per week, or quit my job.

I chose to quit. Not to mention that rarely did I have time to spend with family or friends, or with my fiance, or even just have time to sleep in. I can't even try to count how many times I would have a weekend day off, just to get called into work. At one point, I worked 17 days straight with no day off, but then I'd get yelled at for requesting time off for a trip, nearly 6 months in advance.

The money was nice, yes, but the toll on my schooling, my emotions, my family life, etc. just wasn't worth it. Plus not to mention, it essentially put me a semester behind, and I'm having to scramble now to get caught up. Your senior year, so I've heard, is supposed to be a coast year. YEAH RIGHT! I carried 19 credits last semester, and 18 this semester. And my friends wonder why all I want to do on the weekend is sleep.

What we live on is my fiance's Montgomery GI Bill. Due to his veteran status, and because he paid into the program (I think it was $2400.00 paid in), he gets a check for $1100.00 per month, for 36 months, which is a pretty decent return on his money, we think. We're only in school for 9 months of the year, and 9x4 is 36. Also, DF's brother lives with us, so we budget based on a total of $1330.00 total income per month. Here's an example budget for us for a month:

Income: $1335.00

Rent: $565.00
Bresnan (Cable, internet, phone bundle) $120.00
Groceries: $200.00
Hobbies: $60.00 (split between the 2 of us. He plays online games, and I play online games and knit)
Gas: $50.00 (we don't drive much!)
Eating out: $50.00
Savings: $285.00 (bulking up the savings for our move to Houston)

Total outgoing: $1335.00

I bring in my spending money for the month by cleaning my best friend's parents' house once a week. I get paid well, sometimes they feed me, and they let me do laundry. Fiance is a teacher's assistant on campus for a couple of his instructors, and is paid for it. It works for us!

We both attend college full time, and don't work other than what I outlined in the paragraph above.

I *may* choose to go on to grad school at some point, but right now I just want to get out of school and get out in the "real world". I've been doing the college thing off and on since 2002, I'm ready to be done. Stick a fork in me! If I choose to do grad school, it'll be cash flowed.

Hope that everyone has a fantastic week!


Living Almost Large said...

Thank you so much. I totally understand where you are coming from.

Right now part-time for DH's MBA is $30k/year for everything. We've taken out $8500/year for 2 years in subsidized federal loans. But we've cash flowed the rest. It's not easy!

People suggested slowing down and taking 1 class instead of 2-3 which obviously we could cash flow with no loans. But we want kids and so we want him to be done with school sooner so we can have them. He does not want to work full time and be away from me and the kids 3-4 nights/week.

I totally understand where you are coming from. It's all about tough choices.

It's likely he'll get a signing bonus of $20k when he finishes so his loans will be wiped clean. As it stands he's been heavily talked to by recruiters that his salary will likely double upon finishing, he makes six figures now.

So that all weighted into our decision. Finish faster with some debt and chance are a much larger income sooner.

Sounds like you have the exact same thing. And I don't doubt it. You are A LOT more desirable with a bachelor's. A lot of jobs that 20 years ago didn't require a bachelor's do now.

It makes a difference. Congrats on graduating.

Julia said...

So, you use student loans to pay off debts? Isn't that just shifting the debt around? Sounds like you have a good future ahead and will get things paid off quickly, but it's sorta misleading when you say you killed another debt, when you really didn't.

Shelby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shelby said...

I used grant money to come up with the last $100.00 I needed for Redline, but I paid the rest of it AND my visa card out of my own money, so yes, I killed them 99% on my own.

Realized my last comment wasn't very clear.