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It’s been 9 months since I moved out of my house and into an apartment right next to campus. The experience has been good – and I don’t regret moving out. At the time, I needed to make that change. But I need to think long term and I really don’t want to be making student loans payments in my 40s. Continuing to borrow $10,000 a year for living expenses is dumb and a one way ticket to the poor house. I have the semi-serious goal of being debt free by 30. If I keep living here and funding almost my entire lifestyle with student loans, I won’t come close.
I have other stuff I want to do. I’m ready to go on another study abroad trip. My school offers one next summer for an insanely reasonable price. The host university even reimburses airfare. I want to travel when I’m young and I can’t imagine there being anytime other than college where someone is going to pay to fly me to Taiwan. I have a small window of time and I don’t want to waste it.
Moving back home will let me save up money for that trip. Maybe even afford to make some small student loan payments now rather than later. I’m bleeding borrowed money. Sometimes I feel like I’ve built a house of cards that’s going to collapse any minute. It stops now.
Another push for change is my car. The Explorer is dying. It’s not reliable, rapes my wallet at the gas station, and I can’t ask my dad to continue to sink money into it.
If I stayed here, it might get me through the next 18 months of school. Update: In the week since I started writing this post, my car’s transmission has started dying. Even if I could stick it out for the next 18 months, I’d need a new car when I start a big kid job. I don’t want the additional stress of a car payment and an even higher student loan payment.
It makes more sense to finance (never thought I’d say that) a car now and commute. I can stop making rent and electric and natural gas payments. I’ll pay almost nothing for groceries and household stuff. I can start making a car payment and still come out ahead. I’ll use student loans like they’re supposed to be used – a way to fill in the gaps I can’t meet other ways.