Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting Through Graduate School Without Debt Part 1

We've been on a winter break lately (me without a real job, Jorge's school break) and today, he decided to brave the frosty 45 degree (!) Boston weather* to take care of some school business.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am 2 years older than my spouse. I did one thing with that extra time-- I went to graduate school while he finished his undergrad. We're in the same discipline, though we prefer different periods**. It was not a great experience for me. I was young, whiny and horrible with money, so that even though I went to school in my hometown and lived with my longsuffering parents, had a fellowship and stipend, I still accrued debt.

We got married the week we both graduated (would not recommend), and we soon found that in our case, 1 frugal+1 spendthrift=2 frugalz***.

My stipend gave me a little cash through the summer, so while he slaved away at odd jobs (he was planning on going to school but wanted to take a year off), I found the lovely, entrancing, time warp that is being smart with money. All of our debts are my debts, and they amount to quite a lot. At the time, almost 60000 in student loans and a little on the credit card. It's overwhelming, especially when we were really only able to land jobs that paid slightly more than minimum wage.

Anyways, flash forward 6 months. I have a job teaching high school (awesome) and he's working at Papa Johns as a driver. Yes. My brilliant husband is delivering pizzas. And he's cool with it.

He takes the time he has during the day to study for the GRE subject test and write purpose statements. He only applied to schools that offered funding (it's a bit rarer in the Humanities) and researched schools that would provide him with the best footing for a later academic career. He spent 2 years doing this.

Out of the 12 schools he applied to, he got into 5. The very first one he got into, he loved. We moved to Boston later that year.

Today, he comes home from running errands and tells me that he's managed to get every single book he'll need for the next semester at the library today.

I'm in love.

*Srsly, it's like a Florida winter outside.
**He's 20th century American, I'm 21st century British magical school.
***In this equation, I am the former spendthrift.

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