I went to the University of Calgary between 2010 to 2014 and completed by Bachelor in Nursing. I’m so very grateful for finishing this degree! Not only did it mark the end of over a decade-long consecutive years of being a formal student, it has allowed me to have the position I now have as a full-time Labour & Delivery nurse. It’s a fun, joy-filled career and it’s also a lot of challenging work! Here in Alberta, Registered Nurses are also paid a pretty penny – so I can’t complain about this.
During those years in university however, I accumulated a total of $40,578 in student loans (spread out over two separate loans: federal & provincial). I received several scholarships and grants while going to school. I also worked part-time during semesters and full-time during summer breaks. Even will all that, however, it still wasn’t enough to cover my tuition, textbooks, living expenses, etc. I have to admit, I wasn’t the smartest about my money at that time either (but that’s a story for another article!)
Related Post: What I Wish I Knew about Student Loans Before Borrowing
Anyways the past is the past and I still have this massive debt to deal with. I’m actually pretty excited to share my plan with you because I’m excited to see this number come down over the years. I’m taking a step-by-step approach divided into 3 to 5 years to work down this debt. This is my Year 1 2015 plan.
I ultimately decided on September, 2018 as my “paid off date”. Here’s my student loan repayment plan!
As mentioned before, my student loans are spread out over two separate lenders.
|Loan||Interest Rate Calculated
The goal this year is to completely pay off my Federal loans and have only ±$30,000.00 on my Provincial loans by December, 2015.
I will do this by paying the minimum each lender requires me to pay each month. That would be $100/month for federal loans and $400/month for provincial loans.
Note: I’m using simple calculation here without interest charges.
I like seeing my total come down on a regular basis, so for the remaining $2,933.00 on my Federal loans, I distributed this amount over a weekly payment plan.
$2,933.00 ÷ 52weeks = About $57.00/week
I like breaking down a huge chunk of money to smaller chunks. Seeing $57.00/week coming out of my bank account isn’t so heart-wrenching as dishing out a full $228/month all at once. It’s manageable for me (because really, $57 is how much a restaurant meal might cost) and I know that these payments are all going towards a bigger, significant goal.
Going by this student loan repayment plan, I will have paid off my Federal Loans by the end of this year. I will then create a Year 2-3 Plan depending upon my financial goals and circumstances at that point. As my brother likes to say, “I’ll cross that bridge when I get there”. This mantra has kept me sane for a lot of things in my life.
Something else I thought you should know: This year, besides working on paying off my student loans, I’m also saving up for a down payment on our first house. I’m working on two big goals simultaneously and although I CAN snowball payments into my student loans and pay it off faster, purchasing our first home is a huge priority. I figured I’m in a relatively decent position to do this because my interest rates are low for student loans.
Do you have student loans? Do you have a plan to pay them off? Share them with us in the comments section below!!
Update – October 26, 2015
I was able to finish this goal three months ahead of schedule! I’m very psyched about this and I can’t wait to get started on my Provincial loans too! I hashed out a plan to have this paid off by September, 2018 – read about it here! (I included how I was able to pay this loan off fast and other money goals I was working on at the same time, e.g. down payment, emergency fund, etc.)