A little while ago, I tweeted that I paid off my student loans. I don’t know if this post will be useful to anyone, but here’s how I did it.
I have two university degrees (one was 4 years and the second was 2 years) and graduated with a debt of $31,827.00. My parents contributed a portion of it through RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan). Otherwise, my debt probably would have been around 50k.
Another thing worth mentioning is that I commuted four hours each school day (2 hours each way) because I live far from the university. I chose not to live on campus because I didn’t want to increase my debt.
I paid off almost 32k in 15 months.
Right before I entered the repayment period, I paid off $10,000 from my savings. I’ve worked part-time jobs since graduating grade 12. In my final year of university, I had three part-time jobs so I had saved up some money. I paid off 10k right off the bat because it would make interest payments a lot easier.
However, I wish that I had started to pay off my student loans when I was still a student. If I had started budgeting really early on, I probably have would have paid off a significant portion of my loans before my graduation date.
I graduated in 2020, back when COVID was still relatively new. After five months of making repayments, the Government of Canada canceled interest payments because of COVID. However, this is temporary so my goal was to finish paying my loans before interest payments returned. Instead of making the minimum payment of $250-350, I made bigger payments like $1000, 2000, or 3000 a month whenever I could.
The biggest thing that helped with repaying my loan was living with my parents. I still live with them. Rent is really expensive in Vancouver, and I have a good relationship with my family so there was just no big reason to move out.
Another thing that helped was that I was super, super serious about paying my student loan debt as soon as I could. It was probably my main focus and goal at the time. That being said, I made sure not to splurge. Well, it’s not in my personality to spend a lot of money in the first place. That’s just not who I am. However, knowing that I had debt made me feel even more so because I felt really poor. “The money in my bank account does not belong is me” is how I felt the entire time. I think that this attitude helped a lot.
My debt wasn’t too large, though I think the average student loan debt for a Bachelor’s degree is 30k. It was manageable, and I feel lucky that I can live with my family. Although living in a pandemic sucks, I didn’t have to pay interest for almost a year which was really beneficial to me.
Now that I am debt-free, I am planning to open a TFSA but that’s another story (Probably should have done this earlier, to be honest). What I want to say is that my spending habits haven’t changed at all. I record everything I spend in a notebook and calculate how much I spend every week and month. I prefer writing it out but Excel spreadsheets are probably more efficient, haha.
I don’t have a budget, and I don’t really limit myself from spending. I will buy a bubble tea if I want it. However, I just don’t spend that much money so I don’t really see a need to budget right now. If my spending over a certain period was higher than an amount I’m comfortable with, then yes I would absolutely budget. Keeping track of my spending is more about knowing how much I’m spending and where that money is going.
This was kind of a personal post but I don’t mind sharing. I think I’m pretty open in general so I hope that at least one person finds this helpful.
Thanks to my boyfriend for the congratulatory gift.