10 Things I'll Spend My Money on Once My Student Loans Are Paid Off
1. Credit Card Debt
Once the rest of my student loans are paid off, I plan on using those funds toward our remaining credit card debt. My husband and I have managed to pay off quite a bit of credit card debt, but we still have a bit more to go. So, not having to worry about my student loans anymore will really help to get the credit card monkeys off our backs!
2. Car Loan
My husband drives a Prius and he loves it. It gets great gas mileage and is very economical. It's perfect for his needs—driving to and from work and around town. We even squeezed our whole family of five in there for a road trip recently! However, the only downside to having the Prius is that we did finance it, and we are still making payments. I'm so excited at the prospect of being able to pay this car loan down faster once all my student loans are out of the way. It's going to be so wonderful not to have to deal with car payments anymore!
3. Saving for Christmas
Having to worry about where the funds are going to come from to purchase Christmas gifts is no fun, especially when you love to shop like me, and you truly enjoy finding special gifts for everyone on your Christmas list! That is why I can't wait to be able to use the money I would otherwise be paying toward those pesky student loans towards something a lot more enjoyable—Christmas gifts for all my family (and a few friends)! If I set aside a bit of cash each month until December, I will easily be able to save up a nice Christmas stash. This will definitely be a million times easier to do once I don't have to factor in those annoying monthly student loan payments.
4. Clothes, Shoes, and Extras for My Kids
If my kids need anything, like a new pair of shorts or shoes, I won't have to stress as much because a few monthly payments that I used to be making will now be freed up to meet those needs. If I want to enroll my kids in swim lessons, piano, karate, or a mommy and me class—or if I want to join MOPS for another session (which I highly recommend, by the way!)—I'll be able to do those things guilt-free because I will have a lot more extra cash to work with.
5. Family Vacations
Growing up, we took a couple of fun family vacations that I remember fondly. We were fortunate enough to be able to go to Hawaii, which was my favorite vacation. We also flew out to Indiana one summer to visit family and briefly went to a museum in Illinois during that same trip.
We never went camping as a family because my dad convinced us we wouldn't like it. He said that camping was dirty, there were bugs involved, and that we would probably prefer to stay in a hotel! (Looking back, it's pretty clear that it was him who was not a fan of camping and that the rest of us might have enjoyed it! I did end up going camping with my church's youth group a couple of times and also with friends and later my husband and in-laws. I did enjoy it very much! But that's another story.
All this to say taking family vacations is important to me. Spending time together and going new places is something I highly value, and I really want to make fun memories as a family with my husband and our kids. I want my kids to have some silly and fun memories to look back on from their childhoods that they too can recall with fondness. I hope to be able to set aside some money that would have otherwise gone to my student loans and be able to use it toward some exciting family vacations for us.
I hope we'll be able to explore San Francisco more and also make a trip out to the Grand Canyon. I also hope to one day visit the East Coast, as I have never been there before. I have a dream of being able to visit New York and New Jersey (we have some good family friends in New Jersey who I would love to visit). I hope we will be able to tour the Statue of Liberty, go to a Broadway show, and maybe even do a bit of shopping in New York! (Even if it's mostly window shopping!)
There are so many places I would love to see and bring my family to that there are really too many to list here. Suffice it to say, spending some of those funds on family vacations seems like money well spent to me!
6. Saving for a House
My husband and I have been married for almost seven years. In that time, we have always rented and have yet to purchase a house of our own. Homeownership seems like a very distant dream at the moment due to the remaining student loans we have yet to pay off as well as our credit card debt. The high cost of houses in our area is also another factor that can feel discouraging. However, when I keep my "eye on the prize" and allow myself to daydream about paying off all our debt and saving for a house, I get really excited about the possibilities!
To one day own our own home and not have to "throw away" money on rent would be a dream come true! Getting rid of my student loan debt once and for all will get us one step closer to that dream, and I'm stoked at the thought! I want my children to be able to grow up in a house where they can run and play in the backyard, maybe have a dog or a cat (or both), maybe have a couple of turtles in an aquarium or a goldfish, maybe a koi pond in the backyard, along with a jacuzzi, swingset, treehouse, garden . . . the sky is the limit!\
The point is, I want them to have wonderful memories of their parents' house, and to me, that means that we would live in a house and not be renting indefinitely. I can't wait to be able to save up enough to purchase a house that can really become a warm and cozy home for us all.
7. Savings in General (for a Rainy Day)
Most Americans don't have a whole lot of money in savings. Many Americans also live paycheck-to-paycheck. That's pretty sad when you think about it. The discipline of saving money is really not something that is taught in school enough, in my opinion. It's truly a difficult thing to save any amount of money in this day and age when ads pop up everywhere and lure you to spend every last cent you have!
Spending money is so easy too—just the click of a button, and you can have items shipped right to your door in no time flat! Despite the ease with which we empty our wallets, it's vital that we learn how to save some of our resources for a rainy day. When the days of making student loan payments are finally behind me, I'll be able to save money for a rainy day, and that's going to feel really good. You never know when something might come up whether it is an emergency, an unexpected car repair, a death in the family, or some other unforeseen event.
8. Kids' College (or Trade School) Funds
Saving for a child's college education is important. Once I'm not paying off my own student loans, I'll be able to use some of those funds towards savings accounts for each of my children that they can access when it's time to go to college or trade school. It's important to me that I have something set aside for each of them to help them get off to a good start in life, so they can each get the education or training they need to get good jobs/careers.
Hopefully, I will be able to save up a little nest egg for each of them toward that end. I also want to instill in my children that getting a four-year degree from a college or university is not necessarily the only path or right path for everyone. Blue-collar jobs and jobs that involve working with your hands are just as needed and significant to our communities, and sometimes those jobs are even more in-demand. Whatever each of my children choose to pursue career-wise, I hope I will be supportive. I also pray my husband and I will have some means of helping them achieve their goals and dreams.
9. Saving for a New Minivan
I currently drive a 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan. It boggles my mind that my van is almost 16 years old! I feel like 2004 was just a couple of years ago! (Gosh, I'm getting up there! Haha!) It occurs to me that I have racked up quite a few miles on my precious mom-van and that it may be time very soon for me to purchase a new vehicle to cart my kids around in.
Since the thought of financing another car sends chills down my spine, saving up for one instead with the money I had previously been using towards student loans sounds fantastic! I don't know if we'll be purchasing a newer minivan or if we'll go the SUV route, but whatever the choice, as long as it gets me and the kids from point A to point B safely, I'll be fine with it!
10. Whatever the Heck I Want!
I am seriously so excited by the thought of not having to make payments on my student loans anymore. I started making payments in 2007 when I graduated from college. So that means I've been making payments for the past 12 years! That's twelve long years of not being able to use all my money in the way I wanted to—twelve long years of saying no to certain things when I wanted to be saying yes because that money was earmarked toward paying off my college education.
Now, I finally feel like I am (sort of) on the brink of changing all that by paying everything off. It's going to be an amazing feeling! I still have a bit more to go (three loans worth—yikes!) but writing up this little article has been really self-motivating. I can't wait to feel a lot less guilt for splurging a bit on those little extras, like a nice nail polish or a girly magazine. Once my student loans are paid down, I'm going to spend that extra money however the heck I want . . . I just can't wait!