Kelli Blatchford, Saving for my Future
I was the youngest of four children, so growing up I always knew that my parents had an education savings fund that the government matched since I was born. I feel extremely lucky that my parents had the foresight to think about my future and it’s helped me a lot while I attended college/university for 5 years. However, my best friend wasn’t so lucky. In grade 9 she had started saving money for university. I saw the value in what she was doing and started saving for the very first time by helping to contribute to the education fund my parents had started for me. My contributions came from working summers, and from scholarships that I applied for in my grade 12 year. In total I contributed approximately $3,000.
After high school I received a volleyball scholarship which I used towards tuition and textbooks. Nonetheless, I received more than $4,000 in student loans in my first year of college. I soon realized a student loan wasn’t the path that I wanted to go down as I wasn’t using the money responsibly.
By only spending a small percentage of my cheque, I was able to save over $10,000 each summer. My summer job and my education savings fund covered my expenses and I was able to pay my way through college and university. To supplement my spending money, however, I started officiating volleyball on weekends.
After graduating from university I made it my personal goal to pay off my student loan as quickly as possible! Most people use the six-month, interest-free, waiting period before they start paying off their student loans and only pay the minimum contribution amount. However, I started paying off my loan with any extra cash I had in month one. After I started my first job I paid $250 every pay period, plus extra if I hadn’t used my allotted spending money from the previous cheque. Eight months after graduating I had paid off more than $4,000 in student loans. I wouldn’t have paid off nearly as much if I’d waited for interest to start accumulating.
I use the same philosophy today as I did in grade nine. Every pay day I set aside a certain percentage of my cheque into savings, and any excess spending money that I have I use to pay my debt. My newest goal is to set aside $10,000 in emergency savings. I contribute over $250 every cheque while still contributing to other savings accounts and paying down debt.