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Let’s be honest, for most college grads, student loan repayment is the first big payment obligation. Some of us have purchased cars since graduating, and some maybe even a home or a motorcycle. However, a certain stigma exists around the topic of student loans and the process of repayment. It is an agonizing phrase that when uttered brings sharp pains to many. I should have known what to expect when choosing that big out-of-state university, right? Trust me, it was worth every penny. And every painful penny I shall repay…with 6% interest.
15 days until first payment: Confirm that mom and/or dad will be contributing and to what extent. I vaguely remember them mentioning their planned contributions about four years ago. Was that FOUR years ago? Wow. As the debt has piled up, we’ve shoved the thought of it under our beds along with all the other things we wish would go away but can’t let go of.
13 days until first payment: Awkwardly bring up how I’ll receive funds from mom and/or dad, and set up a reminder in my phone. Some kids might bluntly say, “Mom can you transfer your half of the payment into my account every month on the 1st?” Perhaps that would be the best way. Let’s be serious, though. I went to college and everyone knows the best way to handle awkward confrontations is with passive-aggressive comments and notes. When mom posts on Facebook showing everyone her new boots, I’ll comment, “Cute! Hope they were on sale! We’ve got some big payments coming up.” That’ll do the trick.
12 days until first payment: Completely rethink my loose monthly budget. Since I graduated, I’ve moved to another state and purchased a brand new car so a budget was absolutely necessary. Although I log most purchases in my spreadsheet (cute, huh?), I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with it. I have no end goal in sight besides knowing how much excess I can allot for bar tabs. The possibility of ruining my credit is not one I want to gamble with so determining a strict budget and monthly, quarterly and yearly goals is incredibly important.
10 days until first payment: Confirm total amounts for each separate loan and decide against buying a new sweater for the ugly sweater christmas party, I’ll whip out last year’s classic. As much as it hurts (and its incredibly tasteless and tacky) I’ve decided to repeat ugly sweaters. Its all about making justifiable purchases, right? I need coffee-mate and baby carrots this weekend so $6.99 for a one-time gig complete with dancing reindeer and jingle bells just didn’t make the cut.
9 days until first payment: Pregame at home with that dusty bottle of Burnett’s and buy one (okay, three) domestic draft beers at the bar knowing I’m about to drop a couple hundo into Chase Bank’s coffers. I’m so responsible. While my younger student friends spend carelessly at the bar and my older, successful friends feel confident in their purchasing decisions, I have to be strategic about getting drunk. What a buzzkill. Like a true college student would, I scrounged up my last bit of alcohol to save a few bucks and decided my bar tab was my Christmas present to myself.
7 days until first payment: Consider grad school for the sake of loan deferment, if nothing else. My thought process was that if I could get into grad school by Fall 2014, I’d only have to live like this for a couple months! It was then that I realized how much the GRE costs and so obviously I decided against it.
6 days until first payment: Google “how to make money while working full-time” and when the results come up short, Google “cute puppies” to feel better. I could take endless amounts of surveys online to earn another MAYBE $7-$10 a month, or I could pretend to be creative and sell things on Etsy but let’s be serious…Netflix won’t allow it.
3 days until first payment: Finish the Burnett’s from last week and sit on the couch watching ABC Family’s 25 days of Christmas because it’s all the fun I can afford. Just me and my friend Cheap Vodka chilling on a Saturday night. With my upcoming payment, another night out was not in the cards so like a true 90’s baby, I choose Home Alone and The Santa Clause.
1 day until first payment: Make the payment early because I’m a boss. Also because I can no longer prolong the agony of anticipation and I value my credit score. The control freak in me pays early because at any second my bank could crash and I could become totally poor and then my interest rate would skyrocket even more and that would literally be the end of the world. Instead, I choose punctuality.