This morning I made my last student loan payment. It was a good sized one, $355 to be exact. I had most of it in cash from a bunch of freelance income that recently came in, the rest I borrowed from my savings account, to be paid back at the end of this week.
The online loan account hasn’t updated yet, so I don’t really feel like it’s sunk in. Once that balance is showing at zero, I think I might have a more obvious reaction, for now though, I’m stuck pondering a different question.
How Much Did I Really Owe?
The sidebar says that I started out my debt journey owing $37,987. This amounted to $26,720 from my student loans, and $11,282 on my car loan. This isn’t the whole story though. I actually started out owing around $42,082 on my student loans. School had been expensive and I’d borrowed to the max every semester. Fortunately, in a story I explain here, I was able to find and apply to a provincial benefit program that got my loans owing reduced down to $26,000 plus grace period interest. That’s a huge drop in my total amount owing.
So, my question to you readers is this:
Did I start out my debt journey owing $42,082 in student loans + $11,282 in car loans for a total of $53,364 in debt?
Or, did I start out my debt journey owing $26,720 in student loans + $11,282 in car loans for a total of around $37,987 in debt?
Why I’m Hesitant to Count All of My Student Loans
There are two reasons I didn’t originally count the money that I had reduced off my student loans:
- I had the student loan reduced before I even made my first payment on my loan in November of 2011.
- I didn’t technically pay them off myself, with my own hard earned money.
Why I Want to Count All of My Student Loans
- Like it or not, I owed $42,082 at graduation. It still shows that on my student loan account. If I hadn’t found a grant program that helped me reduce that amount, I’d still be paying on that original balance. That was my debt, even if it was for a short time.
- The government grant was not an automatic option. It wasn’t dropped in my lap, I had to look it up and find out how to do it, request all of the paperwork, and submit everything to the government. It took as much work as my budget takes.
- Government rebates were a significant part of my debt payoff plan, without factoring those in, I would still be in debt. They were instrumental in helping me get to where I am today, and I feel like I should acknowledge that.
What do you think?
Readers, I want your opinion. Do you think I should count the original student loan total and report my official highest debt load as $53,000, or do you think that I report it as $38,000? To make things easier, I’ve included a poll here, and I’d love to hear what you have to say. I encourage you to vote in the poll AND comment if you want to expand on your point.