Sunday, September 7, 2008

Credit Card Paid & Possible College Debt?

My paycheck hit my account Friday and I paid off one of my credit cards yesterday! It had a small balance but it still feels good to check it off my list. I also paid a dental bill which is another item to check off the debt list. Next month, I will have another credit card paid off. Current total percentage of debt to available credit (for credit cards) is 57%.

Recently I have been considering going back to school. This of course cannot happen until the debt is paid off. At the current rate we are paying credit down it will be roughly two years to be debt free. I will be 39 and my husband will be 40. We will still have a mortgage and will have moved to a house for reasons I have stated before that are unavoidable.

I want to start looking in to another secondary checking account (like ING Direct) where I can have a certain amount of money transferred every month to pay for non-monthly expenses like car tabs, life insurance, Christmas and other gifts, additional expenses that come up, etc. I would start this account in January of 09 and put roughly $100 in it every month. My goal for 2010 would be to include our car insurance so I can pay bi-annually instead of every month.

My current dilemma is because of my age and how close to the parenting finish line hubby and I will be when we are debt free (2 years for kid 1 and 3 to 4 years (depending on graduating early) for kid 2, I am considering quitting my full time job, getting a part time job and paying for full time school through a combination of student loans, grants and scholarships. Not certain how much of the last two I will be able to get but it's worth a try.

I am rationalizing that it would be better to jump in to school and finish as quickly as possible (I have no idea how much of my previous college credits will transfer) and get a job then to take one class a quarter for however many years and then get a job. I think that would take longer.

True I would then have debt again. This is the reality of my life though. I don't think I would feel like I was starting over because the new debt I would have is not high interest consumer debt. I am uncertain if my husband will work full time or do the same (he has expressed an interest recently in going back to school as well). However, my hope is that I would find a job quickly even if it meant relocating to an area of the country where the cost of living is not as high as the greater Seattle area. Then I would make aggressive repayments to eliminate the school debt as fast as possible.

I still want to try and make a go of a home business but in the event that does not work out I would like to actually enjoy a career in a field I am interested in instead of going to a job every day I don't particularly care for.

Any of you out there going back to school in the later years? How did you handle the expense, a family, a job etc?


Roland Hulme said...

Wow. Sounds like you're a lot more disciplined than most people!

Debt is a pain - we're not too bad off, but it's a tough balance. I don't know how easy it is to live in America without building up some debts.

Good for you for sticking to it!

Escape Brooklyn said...

My husband went back for his masters in '06. He was supposed to do it part-time while working full-time, except then he unexpectedly got laid off. So he was able to go full-time to school and finish his degree in only two years, which was great.

However, it was extremely hard and stressful -- for both of us -- while he was in school, and it continues to be frustrating because now he has a masters but still hasn't found a full-time job given the current economy.

I think our experience is a little unique because we live in such an expensive city. Can you go to school full-time in a cheap part of the country? Perhaps where you could get scholarships?

Alternatively, a lot of my co-workers go back to school part-time and take advantage of my company's tuition remission benefit. It takes longer to get the degree but at least my co-workers don't pay for it. I've also known people who deliberately get a full-time job where they're going to go to school, then take advantage of free tuition for the school's employees. Again, slower but cheaper.

Regardless, I think education is great and that it's admirable you're planning this. But I don't think it's worth ANY cost and huge amounts of debt that you'll be paying back for 20+ years, so you have to be creative about how you pay for it. Good luck!

Celtic Sprite Seeking Knowledge said...

Get Clear, Focused & let ,er RIIIIPPP. You can have anything and everything you want.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious we need to do a better job teaching people about money. I've done some work with Junior Achievement. They have a lot of programs in this area. Here's their site, for anyone who is interested