Getting a college education these days is a very expensive prospect and a very good opportunity for those who can get one. However, for most of us mere mortals going to college means taking out loans to cover the hefty fees. Most college graduates do get good jobs out of college, but even so, smart people live frugally till their loans are paid off. One then wonders should you indulge in travelling while you still have student loans to repay. Trust me the answer is yes.
College is one of the best times in life to explore new things, go to new places, and travel. After college, you may have a good job, but you will find that along with it come new responsibilities and all your friends will have different schedules thus making a group travel plan almost impossible. Plus travelling is a learning experience, especially when short on funds. Anyone can travel when they have lots of money, travelling when you have less of it really teaches you a lot. So how can you travel when you still have student loans to repay? Well, let’s break it into steps.
1. Accept your loan
This may sound very weird, but trust me you need to accept the fact that you have taken out a loan and that’s what it is, just a loan that you will eventually repay. Do not let the stress of the loan take over your life. I am not saying having a loan is not challenging, but instead of looking at the lump sum, break the loan into smaller challenges. Treat the loan like you would a monthly electricity bill. The loan is just like another bill that you have to pay each month. Just focus on the monthly lower payments and let go of all past “buyer remorse” of not choosing a cheaper college etc. Once you get over your fear you will find that you have freed yourself and can now dedicate your energies towards how to better manage and lower monthly payments.
Start budgeting for the monthly loans payments. For example, if you figure that your monthly loan payment is around USD 500 then before travelling ensure that you have enough savings to cover a couple of student loans repayment. This ensures even if you do not find any work while travelling you will have enough to cover loan payments.
2. Take on extra jobs
Travelling requires good money, no doubt about it. But anything worth doing is not easy. Saving money over time to travel is a nice idea, but saving a sufficient amount will take you a lot of time. What you need to do is take on side jobs to supplement your income. One good way is to consider freelancing, especially if you have some marketable skills like writing, photography or web-designing. All money you get from this should go into your travel fund.
3. Cut down unnecessary expenditures
Living frugally helps you afford the finer and truer things in life. But what do you cut back on? Let me give you an example.
Spend on things like gym, and healthy foods. Buy lots of veggies, fruits and nuts when you can. But do not spend on unnecessary things like expensive workout clothes or splurging on dining out. Dining out is expensive, especially more so when you tend to choose healthier options.