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Committed but not always thrilled about it...

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After a lifetime of non-budget living, I am in the midst of a major change. The combination of marrying an amazing man (who is coincidentally incredibly frugal and financially savy) and racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans led me to make a total shift in the way I view and spend money. I am committed to paying off all of my debts as quickly as possible; this includes credit card debt, my car loan, and all of my student loans.
I began this journey last January when I graduated with my master's degree. In the past year, I have been able to pay off all of my credit card debt and my car loan. Now, its on to my student loans.
While this has been a tremendous learning experience, it has not been easy. I struggle each day to remember why we're doing this and why this is worth it. Intellectually, I understand that this will pay off in the future, but emotionally, I sometimes wonder if the extra stress is worth it. I know it is -- I just wonder when I'll develop the Joan of Arc/ Mother Theresa ability to appreciate the struggle. Is it enough that I do this even though I don't like it?

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  1. fosterfamily5's Avatar
    All of your credit card debt! And a car loan? all in one year! I'm impressed. If you don't mind my asking. How did you do it? I'm so proud of you.
  2. payingoffgradschool's Avatar
    I don't mind you asking at all -- its actually really nice to share my experiences without someone thinking that I've joined a weird non-money spending cult! Here are some of the changes we made:
    -I began taking the bus to work, which doubled my commute time, but slashed my gas bill in half.
    -I changed my work schedule from 5 8's (8 hour days) to
    4 10's (10 hour days) to cut down on commuting costs and to pick up another job 1 day a week
    -I started babysitting on off days, weekends, and
    week nights
    -we became extremely conscious of what we ate and still only eat mostly low cost items (ramen noodles, potatoes, oatmeal, etc)
    -we cut out meat (sad b/c neither of us are vegetarians!)
    -instead of going to the grocery store once or twice a week, we go to Costco once or twice a month and always use coupons when available
    -we got rid of our home phone and reduced our internet costs
    -we limited 75% of our social activities (eating out, weekends away, camping)
    -we asked for gift cards for birthdays and Christmas to cover clothes, shoes, etc.
    -I began making a lot of our Christmas and birthday gifts
    -I started a garden and tried to eat as much of it as possible (not easy in Oregon, but we're working with it!)
    -we have a rather prolific apple tree in our backyard, so I became a pro at making applesauce
    -we quit buying Nutro brand dog food for our two dogs and switched to Costco brand dog food (we haven't been able to tell a difference and the girls still snarf it down)

    Wow -- kinda got carried away there! Hope I didn't overwhelm you. It really helps that my husband is my partner and my coach throughout this process -- it would be infinitely harder alone. It also helps that we don't have any children yet, so we can devote much of our time to this effort.
    I'm always interested in hearing what others are doing to save money -- how about you?
  3. wilbe95's Avatar
    When you do pay off all of the student loans and are saving money you will have the Joan of Arc feeling about it all. Just think, you say you don't have children, if and when you do you will be able to provide for them readily and will be able to help them understand how to be on the frugal side of life.
    Way to go!
  4. Tarrien's Avatar
    You are in a frugal group though, we wont make you shave off your eyebrows just yet though ;p. But that's amazing. I can barely convince myself that paying rent is worth it.

    But pets with food I've noticed that the cheaper the more some pets like it. My roommate buys his cats expensive brand yet they always stare at my ferret who gets to eat cheap food like "...Can you share?"
  5. fosterfamily5's Avatar
    I'm just trying to throw money at the cc companies (yes plural) as often as I can. Everytime I go grocery shopping and use coupons I put 1/2 of what I saved in a savings account. My husband works construction and i stay home with the kids. I work at the school here and there but not too much. I struggle with Keeping the the bills current on most months, but since I've been here I've been managing it alot better. I know what you mean about the "cult" I can't really talk about any of this stuff with my friends. they just don't get it. I think they think I'm really weird. Oh well, I know I've got friends here! thanks for sharing
  6. payingoffgradschool's Avatar
    Thanks for all of your comments -- they are greatly appreciated!
    Tarrien, we used to feed our dogs supposedly "high quality" dog food, but it actually made their gas worse! We've all experienced relief by switching to the Costco brand...
    Foster, I really like the idea of putting grocery coupon savings into a savings account -- great idea. Keep plugging away; I know its not easy.
    Wilbe, your comments are always so supportive. Thanks for reminding me why I'm doing this...
  7. beansthemama's Avatar
    You are doing all the right things. I wish I was that commited. I am cheering for you. How wonderful is this? Good job, I wish I would have done this before I had kids. Take care and keep up the good work
  8. payingoffgradschool's Avatar
    Thanks -- I appreciate the words of encouragement!
  9. incheck4real's Avatar
    WOW GREAT JOB !!!! You gave me some ideas as well !!!

    My hubby would probably go into a coma if I suggested we NEVER eat meat but he has agreed to eat meat free 4 days a week !!!! I am sooooo proud of him !!!!

    I am way proud of you too !!! Great great great JOB !!!!!!

    You might not have a fun time while you are taking these money saving steps but when all your loans are paid you will be soooooo proud of eachother. JUst hang in there and plug away at the debt !!!!!!

  10. semmel88's Avatar
    Wow I guess i got to get my act together. thanks for showing that it works and i can.t hide behind my excuses.