Author Topic: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!  (Read 4372 times)


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Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« on: July 01, 2014, 08:49:47 PM »
I dont know how detailed I need to be, this is my first post on this forum.

I've read a ton of MMM blog and love every bit of it. Avoiding the rat race is my number one goal, I have happiness due to outdoor lifestyle so I dont need to pay for it.

Here's the quick bit...

I'm 23, live in Santa Cruz CA. I'm a college student, just finished community college for undergrad engineering (sc). I took Every single math/physics/engineering/chemistry class they had to offer and now I'll be transfering to a university to get a degree in Renewable Energy engineering (portland OR). It looks like I have about 3 years left until bachelors degree. Each year will be about $11,000 in tuition.

My money

Hiding nothing, I'm out on the table, asking for advice.

about 12 G's in the hole currently from student loans (-12,000) [don't know interest rates or really anything about it, borrowed it when I wasn't a mustachian.]

about 1000 in the hole on credit card and constantly getting shafted by the late fees and missed payments, don't even know when my payments are due. (-1000)

most my money goes to food, travel. I quit drinking so I don't have the expense of partying anymore...

other than that, lifes good..... but I have this ever impending doom of this college degree thing.

How the F@#$%$CK am I going to pay for it???

Whats the best way to pull it off?

Student loans seem unavoidable for me, but I dont want to SHAFT myself. Whats the hit list on How to Do student loans the RIGHT WAY? staying ontop of interest so it doesnt accumulate, etc etc....

It seems like this school is gonna cost about $33,000-40,000 dollars in tuition, TOTAL. which is better than the $180,000 horror stories I've heard about. I'll be renting in portland orgegon (still havent found a 1 BR house/apt/studio/boat/anything) starting Aug 1st or Sept 1st. Also sharing rent with my girlfriend so It'll be hopefully around 800/month split between us so $400 each. commuting to school via train, public transport bikes etc...

Help me out here, any advice at all??

link any MMM articles that you think might be helpful... I'll Re- read them if I already have seen them.

thank you

Sand Dreamer

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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2014, 09:19:52 PM »
I am also new to this forum, but a few years older than you and dealing with student loan repayment now. There is one thing I would strongly suggest to you.

 I don't see that you are working anywhere?  I had a couple of friends in college who were engineering students and the did a co-op with some local factories.  They were being paid very well while in school and were both hired by the company they worked for after graduation with about a 35% pay raise.  That would be the first thing I did If I were you, go to your university career center(or whatever they call it there) and check it out.  You may make enough to cover the tuition, they may pay it for you if you agree to work for them for a period of time after graduation.  Actually I wouldn't even wait to do that, I would be searching for companies online everyday until you move and making calls to them and getting info and showing some interest. Be a go-getter because no one is going to come to you!  These are things I wish I would have looked into much harder, but there weren't  a lot of opportunities like that for my particular major, but for engineers there are plenty or options! Go find them.

The other piece of advice I would give you is if you are going to be moving soon you need to start generating as much money as you possibly can until that time and pay the credit card off. Mow yards, deliver pizza whatever it is you just need to go out and do it. You say you don't know the due date for your CC is after you read this log into your online account and look at it.  You said most of your money goes to food and travel and those things are great, but where is that money coming from?  A thousand dollar CC balance should not be more than 20-25 dollars a month I am sure you can come up with just the minimum, right?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 09:21:43 PM by Sand Dreamer »


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2014, 09:31:19 PM »
The world is changing it's not the degree your holding but what are you willing to pill vs red pill.


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2014, 10:13:35 PM »
Thank you Sand Dreamer.

I am working, odd jobs but I do make money. Construction labor (12-15/hr), kitesurfing lessons ($60-100/hr), babysitting (15/hr), etc so I do make an income. I also get help for rent from my parents, about $300-400 from each (per month) as long as I'm in school they have been supporting me. Pretty spoiled rotten, but thats why I'm putting myself on blast, I gotta fix this and get more mustachian!!

And yes I'm moving so I need cash, I'm working to save up. I have one small scholarship coming in for $1000, mid august, so I should maybe just kill the CC debt with that. Yes you are right I can come up with at least the minimum but I should be hacking off as much as possible. I'll get on this, thanks for the motivation I'm throwing more gas on the fire!

I will look into the co-op when I get to my school in Oregon, it is definitely time to start working internships to start setting up for the career world. It would be good to take it one term at a time and try to cover tuition on my own to avoid the hole.

DollarBill: not sure what you mean, expand if you feel like it.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2014, 10:27:13 PM »
Live small while you're in school. The tuition you're looking at isn't insane and it sounds like you want to be an engineer, all of which is great if you don't take out a bunch of money to cover pizzas and lattes. DO NOT take out the maximum loans just in case you need it! Take out the minimum you can live on!

And as others have said, definitely work. Preferably in the vicinity of your field--even if you're make $9.75 an hour answering phones, it could be worthwhile as a networking opportunity if it's for a company in your field. The most important thing is to put yourself in a position to land a good job when you graduate.

Good luck!


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2014, 10:45:55 PM »
Like others have said work while you go to school.  Try to find work that will allow you to study while you are working, like a front desk, library or resident assistant job.  Take two or more night classes a semester this will save you a lot of commute time, since they typically only meet once a week.  Also I found that my night classes were more lenient due to their audience, working adults.  Buy used books or previous editions of books that will be used for your classes, check with the professor if they are adequate for the class.  Learn how to cook.

What kind of job will you getting with your degree?  What companies will you be potentially working for?  What skills do you need to get those jobs and I mean specific skills like software, certification, ect.? If you don't know those answers you need to find out ASAP.  You can then tailor your curriculum to get those skills.  Remember you are not limited to the classes available at your university.  Find upperclassmen to give you advice in your degree/field.

Good luck!


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2014, 12:10:58 AM »
I just graduated from engineering school in Portland (two weeks ago Sunday!) If you are talking about PSU, I have been there, done that.

First of all, if you are going to do it in three years instead of two - which is what I did - you will be able to work part time. Working 20-25 hours a week, I was able to support myself in a shared living situation and pay for school without any loans or financial aid. I am assuming that if you have taken all the pre-requisites at a community college and been admitted to engineering school, you should have Junior status. Taking three years (including summers) to finish the Junior-Senior years means you only have to take two classes at a time. This is doable while working half time. There are jobs in the Engineering school that pay about $12/hour.

I applied for all the scholarships listed on the Engineering School's web site that I qualified for. I think I applied for 7 over the three years and won 5.  They totaled over $12k, so I figure I made about $800 per hour doing that. I also applied for some national scholarships and the long, tedious all-encompassing university-wide one. Twice. But I never won anything doing that.

You will not have any time to shop or have fun for three years, so don't worry about spending money. PSU engineering students are broke and don't dress well, so no one will notice if you are poor. Biking is easy at PSU, and if you join the Bike Hub for $30/year, all repairs are free and you only have to pay for parts, which are discounted 25%. The TriMet passes are discounted for students, but it is still about $200/quarter, so biking is the way to go. Everybody does it.

Entry level engineering jobs pay between $45-$50k around here, so you may need to factor in that you won't be rich right away when you graduate. Scholarships and work are the way to go!


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2014, 07:06:13 AM »
Some great advice here on keeping costs down the next few years. 

I want to push a bit on your choice to maintain ignorant about the conditions of your loans and credit card.  When I get anxious about something, I tend to behave the same way at first - I don't want to look at it or think about it, let alone dig into it and see the gory details.  But every time - EVERY TIME - I avoid or ignore what bothers me, it just fuels my anxiety and makes it worse. 

Find someone who knows about this - through this forum, in your financial aid office, in your personal network.  Sit down with that person and map out exactly what your situation is and decide what needs attention now (probably credit cards) and what steps might make sense down the line (consolidation or refinancing of loans after graduation?).  No matter what those numbers look like, they will have less power over you once you know them.  Mustachianism, as I understand it, is about being brutally honest with ourselves, taking control of past choices and circumstances, and finding ways to keep opening our eyes wider rather than refusing to look at something we don't want to see.  Best of luck to you!


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2014, 01:51:55 AM »
Thank you everybody for the great advice!

That's the bottom line, I need to open up the loan info and learn it. Know it, and know how to keep a handle on it. Get the numbers straight and act now. 1st on CC debt, I'm going to chunk that shit down and get out of that hole.

Then stack cash as much as possible and if I have to borrow I will borrow the absolute minimum, only the amount I NEED for tuition.

I'm going to get internships in my chosen field, (solar stuff etc) to make money and gain career Experience during breaks (I.e. Summertime) and during the school semester I'll find an job/income that allows me to study too and stay on top of my grades. I can teach kite lessons on the weekend weather season permitting and make $100/hr and babysitting work is about $20/hr and I can get paid to do my hw.

Also apply for every single fricken scholarship I can, when else in my life am I going to be able to sit on my ass write a letter about myself and my future plans and have someone give me $1000 bucks for it. If it takes me 2 hours to write a letter and I get $1000 bucks that's $500/hr!!! Worth it! That's more than any engineering wage! So thank you for the motivation there Amy.

And erae I like your post, well  said, thank you.

This forum rules thanks everybody.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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Re: Student Loans: Avoiding the Hole!
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2014, 05:58:07 AM »
Entry level engineering jobs pay between $45-$50k around here, so you may need to factor in that you won't be rich right away when you graduate. Scholarships and work are the way to go!

So you're planning to take on roughly 1 year of entry level salary in student loan debt.

As long as you don't run up a bunch of other debt on living the college life, buy cars, etc I'd say thats a great deal.  No other investment will pay you back %100+ of the initial investment every year for the next 20-40 yrs.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!