This is a riff off of something I wrote earlier today on a Facebook post. I spent the morning fiddling with student loans. I’ve become much more in tune with my loans in the past few months. Ever since I got my new (and better paying) job, I’ve had a little bit more flexibility with my money and I figured out that I should probably be putting it to good use instead of spending it on turkey sandwiches and the like.
Here is what I wrote this morning:
A PSA about your student loans AKA things I wish I would have known two years ago:
1. THE POST-GRAD GRACE PERIOD IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. Those six months ended up costing me over $4200 in interest payments. I spent the first five months of paying back my loans solely paying off that interest when I could have been paying down the principal of my loan.
2. PAY EARLY, PAY OFTEN. I'd often wait to make payments till the day when they were due. DON'T DO THIS. Interest accrues and you end up just throwing money at interest payments. Pay as soon as you can and pay as much as you can afford. Also, don't do automatic withdrawals. Be on top of your game.
3. DON'T BE BLISSFULLY IGNORANT. Money is scary, but you gotta just suck it up. I'd get incredibly anxious about my money and just avoid dealing with it. THAT IS NOT A GOOD STRATEGY. Even though I still have a lot of debt, I feel more in control of it, which is a good thing.
This isn’t a bulletproof strategy, but I’m glad I’ve started to be more in tune with my money now. When I don’t understand something, I tend to ignore it and let it fester. And then I get so anxious over it and the metaphorical shit hits the fan and I just lose all hope in everything.
I’m trying not to do that these days. I look over my account a few times a month just to make sure everything is in order and that there is not any surprises. For example, I found out that basically five months of my payments went strictly towards interest. That was over $2,000 dollars that barely scratched the surface of my loan. It’s kind of scary.
I remember in grad school that when I told a friend that I didn’t want to go out in order to save some money he told me, “Just take out more loans.” While I really think highly of this friend, I think he was wrong here. Another round of drinks would have cost a lot more had I taken more money out to feed that habit.
I hate that feeling of being saddled with debt. That feeling won’t be going away for a while (as I am in the process of buying a condo), but I can be in more control of it and I think that’s a wise course of action to take.