I attended college for 5 years including one transfer and three major changes. I accumulated a lot of debt. Today, we pay roughly $450 a month on student debt. Sound like a lot? Well, you’re right, it is a lot. That’s $5,400 per year. This was a major mistake, probably the biggest one I’ve ever made in my life (and I’ve made some pretty big mistakes). Let’s see what we could use that money for in the space of a year instead of putting it in the pockets of big banks…
1) We could take our family of four to Disney World…twice.
According to http://wdwprepschool.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-go-to-disney-world/, it would cost our frugal family about $2,300 to visit Disney World for a week. Taking my children to Disney World is a dream of mine. I was able to go as a child and want them to experience the once-in-a-lifetime fun as well. However, for this to be possible, we would probably have to take out (another) loan. Needless to say, this is not something we want to do. So, Disney World may not be something my children get to experience…thanks student loans and college experience!
2) I could buy 1,350 Starbucks frappucinos.
I love a good $4 Starbucks frappucino, though 3-4 per day may be a little much. I rarely buy frappcinos, I cannot justify spending that much money on a simple drink. I received a Starbucks gift card for my birthday this year…awesome! I already bought one (I also had a dollar off coupon, double yay!) and plan on making the gift card last awhile. Sometimes I will buy the McDonald’s knock-off versions, which are good but really don’t compare. Though I also can’t justify spending money on McFrappe’s very often either.
3) I could buy 2,700 nail polishes.
I also like painting my nails. It’s a fun hobby, I paint them probably once a week or whenever they get badly chipped. I’m not usually tempted to buy nail polish (I averaged them at $2 per bottle), unless I go down the make-up/nail polish isle. Then I see all the colors and sparkle. I’m a pretty sensible woman though, I know it’s really not worth it.
4) We could take our family out to eat 135 times.
I’m not talking fast food and I’m also not talking super fancy restaurant. Just middle of the road, reasonably priced kids’ meals type joint. As it is, we go out to eat too often. Eating at home is so much cheaper, I’d really like to limit it to a handful of times a year (for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) If we didn’t have student loans to pay on, we could go out to eat 2-3 times a week, if we wanted to.
5) We could go to the movie theater 67 times.
The last time my husband and I had been to see a movie at the theater was in 2011, so I don’t remember how much movie tickets and concessions cost! It’s nearly impossible to find prices online, so I’ll just estimate $20 a person to see a movie, get a popcorn, candy, and drink. There’s a reason we don’t go to movies, view it at home in a few months is so so much cheaper. My son, in his 4 years, has never been to a movie theater.
6) We could have another baby.
And not have to make payments! My daughter’s cesarean and other medical expenses cost about $3,000. So with $5,400 we blow each year on 5 years of attending classes, we could have another baby and have plenty leftover for diapers!
7) We could take our family of four to Great Wolf Lodge, 27 times.
Great Wolf Lodge is a water park/resort where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. We drove to the one in Pennsylvania, but if we just went to the one in Ohio, in the space of a year we could spend 27 nights there. This includes room (about $140 for a standard 4 person room), waterpark passes, and $60 a day for food. Visiting Great Wolf Lodge for a weekend is something we plan on doing when our children are older, but it definitely won’t be 27 nights!
8) My husband and I could go on 77 Wasabi Steakhouse dates.
Implying “expensive” dates. Wasabi Steakhouse is our favorite restaurant for date night, we go there once every 1-2 years. It’s about $70 for the two of us, which is why we go there so infrequently! The food is delicious, and we love watching the chefs make it on the huge grill in front of us. We could go on 77 expensive dates in the course of a year.
9) Less work, less stress. More financial security, more peace.
My husband doesn’t have a 9-5, he has a 6-6. He has two weeks vacation which he doesn’t take. (Except maybe visiting my grandma for 3-4 days.) When the bank account runs low, he takes a vacation check and continues to work as usual. I don’t want to sound like I always stress over money, I don’t. I know God’s promises to take care of His children, He will provide for us. He provides for us through my husband, who works so very hard and long it’s pitiful, and the amount of guilt I feel is incredible.
10) We could actually have a savings account.
If we had devoted all $5,400 a year to a savings account, since the time I graduated in 2009 to today, we would have $27,000 saved up. By the time my loans are totally paid off, maybe another 15 years, we would have $81,000. Instead, I was deceived and we will have spent $81,000 on something I didn’t need (and ultimately didn’t want).