Why I Stopped Paying Extra on my Student Loans

By on November 14, 2013

student loan payoffFor the last few months, I was rocking and rolling when it came to my student loan payoff.

After finishing my undergraduate degree and graduating from graduate school, I racked up over $39,000 in student loans. It happened fast, and it took me a long time before I finally sat down and added up the total.

Like many college students across the country, I took out more loans than I needed. My graduate school was paid for plus a $14,500 stipend, but I got married during that time and moved twice, and soon that 14k wasn’t enough to live on. So, of course, I took out more loans.

There’s really no excuse and no one to blame but myself that my student loan balance got as high as it did. However, I’ve taken responsibility for the amount, and I’ve conquered it slowly but surely by building a small business at night after I get home from work. Over the past few months, I used this side hustle income to make $800 payments every month.  I was so motivated, so excited, so energized! Eventually, after months of hard work, I got my balance down to just over $33,000.

Then, I stopped paying above the minimum…

Why, you ask?

1. Other Goals Took Precedence

I was really set to get my student loan balance under $30,000 by the end of the year. My husband and I wanted to start a family, but getting pregnant and having a baby wasn’t going to affect my student loan payments since I was still making enough of an income to both save and pay down debt. Then, we found out that we were having twins! Wow, talk about a shock. So, even though I have a 3k emergency fund and a 7k baby fund saved up for this pregnancy, I just can’t bring myself to make large student loan payments because I won’t be able to get that money back if I need it.

2. I’ve Never Been a Parent Before!

It’s true; this is my first rodeo, and I got boy/girl twins out of the deal. While this makes me feel like the luckiest person on Earth, it’s also pretty terrifying. I have no idea how much money these two kids are going to cost. I have no idea if they will have health issues, which seems pretty common for twins. I keep hearing that babies are so expensive! And, just when I think I have to save a ton more money, I read a blog post that says all babies need are love, food, and a few diapers and not to overspend. Don’t they need bottles and cribs and tiny little adorable coats for the winter too? It seems to me that there are just too many uncertainties and so many products that we will have to purchase twice. Since they are boy/girl twins, they likely won’t share too many clothes, so there are those costs to consider as well.

All in all, there are just too many uncertainties in our future. While I would love to keep making $800 student loan payments, I just can’t. It’s hard to get the income and not put it towards my goal of paying down my debt, but I need to make sure these kiddos get into the world safely before I resume my rigorous payoff plan.

Are you currently paying down student loan debt?

Photo Credit: Tony L. Wong

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com. Follow her on Twitter @BudgetBlonde or like Budget Blonde on Facebook.


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