Frugal Idea #9

My heart literally broke….on lost opportunity! I just realized my cards were not synced to UPromise, a way to reduce your student loans. I’ll come back to this shortly…

In 2013, I made a promise to aggressively pay off my student loans this year 2014. I stare at this amount at times and am at disbelief I took this loan out, but I stay focused on what this loan has provided for me in my life today. In 2001, I decided to make the plunge and escape…I mean move… from Sacramento, CA to the beautiful & awesome city of San Francisco. I was making $8.25 per hour as a waiter at a Japanese restaurant, had no savings, but a heart full of joy to know that I had finished all of my requirements to transfer to a 4 year University. After a college tour of 4 campuses, my mind was set for San Francisco State University. I was thrilled for a new environment, new friends, new adventures, and no extreme heat waves. Of course, my family wanted me close and really pushed for me to return to CSU, Sacramento (I quit my first semester after HS). I was able to receive grants, but it would not be enough for my cost of living in SF and if I was going to make this move, I wanted to invest my first & second semester to be a true student….as in no working. I wanted to focus on the books and taking in every opportunity that came my way. If I was going to move, I was doing this alone per my dad. I remember the day of my move. My sister drove me and I had three boxes of my personal items packed in the back seat and I fought the tears as I saw my mom wave goodbye from the garage. One of the bravest moments for me.

I admit I was financially inept back then. I was thrilled to have such a large amount of money deposited into my account, but I had no clue about budgeting, how the loans would be re-paid, etc. For some reason, I had thought that I would be in my 40s with an amazing career and I finally would have to repay my loans back in small amounts. After graduation and it was time to make payments, I realized that these “small payments” are actually not small for an entry level worker!

Today, I am in complete control of my finances. I know what comes in, I know what goes out. I have my Excel spreadsheet titled “Nev’s Finances” with all financial information complete with lovely formulas to calculate my true net worth. To get my student loans under control, I consolidated it to one account and I have a monthly amount deducted directly from my checking account. I also conducted research on ways to reduce this amount even more. I discovered UPromise. You can sync your credit/debit cards to earn money back towards your loans with participating restaurants, vendors, etc. I now will choose restaurants that participate, consider the retail stores through this site, and check it weekly for coupons.  I just synced my cards – let’s do this!

Thank you student loans for providing me shelter, food, and a social life during college. Thank you allowing me to earn a BA degree which was a contributor for me to have the career I have today. Thank you, but it is time to pay you off. Till then…

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