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Blog Carnival: Accomplishments

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ginger set up a blog carnival of accomplishments. She had a great post recently about how she often feels underwhelmed by her accomplishments in life so far and got lots of response from her readers, prompting a blog carnival enabling people to celebrate the big and little achievements they are proud of.

One of my biggest accomplishments is finishing school with no student loans. This past weekend, my friends and I were talking about finances. Both of them have student loans they'll be paying off for several years...and we're not talking $100 a month; this is $500-$800+ per month...not an insignificant amount for anyone. It's hard enough getting started in life, trying to set up an apartment/house, pay bills, cover the mandatories and have a little left over for fun.

I'm really thankful I managed to graduate with zero debt. This is in huge part to my parents, who told my sister and I early on that we'd have to work part-time and save up what we could to pay for school and they'd pay the rest. We both had part-time jobs through high school and full-time summer jobs between years at college and learned to be really careful with our spending, and when it came time to pay tuition or rent, Dad covered the rest of the bill. It's not that my parents are wealthy and could afford to just pay for us; it took lots of saving on their part too.

We also didn't choose programs at the most expensive and recognized schools. We chose courses that were really targeted for what we wanted to do career-wise--journalism for me, marketing for her. There was no period of "finding ourselves" during a bachelor's degree and then beefing it up with something else and spending 6-8 years at school. We got in, worked hard, graduated and went right to work. Maybe we missed out on the full university experience--my sister lived at home vs. in residence, for example, to save on costs, and we didn't do a year off backpacking in Europe or building schools in South America--but now we're debt-free and both pretty pumped about it.

In addition to avoiding a ginormous financial burden, paying for part of our educations instilled some good common sense about spending and saving in both our heads. Laura and I aren't miserly but we aren't big splurgers either. We both look at the sale racks first when we go shopping and we email each other Gap and Old Navy 30% off coupons whenever they come around. We both drive cars that are paid off in full and that we paid cash for. For that reason we both drive pretty modest cars-she has a Cavalier and I have a Mazda 3. There are probably flashier vehicles we could afford monthly payments on, but we both prefer to have something we own outright. We both pay off our credit card balance in full every month and between us, our debt is a big fat 0.

As much as I complain about being "po'" , 27 years without owing a cent to anybody is a pretty noteworthy accomplishment so I'm giving myself a pat on the back.

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  1. wowee, how lucky and prudent I must say. Unfortunately I'm happen to be the othrs side, when I graduated bck then, the economy was bleat due to the financial crash.. The rest is history ;o]

  2. wow, you're definitely lucky. pat that back! I'm in financial loans for school and still in school, so we'll see...