How I Obtained My Bachelor’s Degree: Debtfree

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Hi, fancies!

Sorry for the week long hiatus… between house guests, school work and oh yeah, that 40+ hour a week gig some refer to as a job, things have been nuts here!

HOW I OBTAINED MY BACHELORS DEGREE WITHOUT GOING IN DEBT

Now that I am three weeks away from graduating undergrad it’s time to share our story and hopefully inspire all of you #fancies to go after your dreams fearlessly!

Almost three years ago, I made the decision to go back to school to obtain my bachelors degree in nursing (I graduated with my associate’s degree in 2009). In today’s nursing world, this is pretty much necessary to ever work in an acute care setting, and most nurses my age go to four year colleges, so I knew I needed to keep up with this pace.

Obtaining my BSN was something I had been thinking about for quite some time, until one day something terrible happened and I knew it was time to get off by booty and go back to school.

On July 4, 2012, a week after my paternal grandfather passed away,  Jon and I received  terrible news- twice. I received a call that morning  informing me that a close family friend in their late 20’s had passed away suddenly. Later that evening, we received news that one of Mr. Ashlee’s childhood friends who I had the pleasure of getting know, was in a terrible accident. That day, the world lost two young souls that and were supposed to be here, supposed to have their entire lives in front of them.

It was then that we made the decision to start living. Not just breathing, but living. Within a week and a half, I had made the three hour one way trek to northern New Hampshire three separate times. This allowed for a lot of time for reflection.

The following week I completed my application to Southern New Hampshire  University and started classes in May 2013. I had no idea how we would afford this, money or time wise. But I knew I had to do it and Mr. Ashlee supported me 100%, as always.

These classes cost about $900 for general eduction and $1200 for nursing classes. I took one class at a time and paid as I went. This meant it would take me 1 year and 11 months to complete my degree, but at least I would not have debt at the end.

Most employers offer SOME form of tuition reimbursement- mine offers $1800 a fiscal year. Hey, anything is better than nothing!

I also sacrificed vacation time- which was difficult to swallow. In addition to tuition reimbursement, I was able to “cash in” some of my earned time. Two weeks of hard earned vacation  paid for several of my classes!

Besides less vacation time, cashing in your vacation time counts as your income when doing your taxes, so your annual salary will be more than expected and you risk moving up a tax bracket. Either way, this was worth it for us as we won’t be making this a habit.

The rest we put  on our credit card to help accrue points that we can cash in later (hello 5% cash back!) . Plus, by paying off the balance  every month no interest is charged.

My story is proof that you can go back to school or make a career change that you want without completely sacrificing your budget! I was afraid that my life would have to be put on hold, but because of our commitment  to a #debtfree life, we were able to go on several vacations, buy a house and even do home repairs on top of obtaining my BSN without going into debt!

What are your dreams? Where will you be in two years from today?

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