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How Student Loans Inspired Gratitude

February 11, 2016

When you think of your student loan debt, you probably don’t also think “grateful,” right? More likely, your forehead breaks out in a cold sweat, and you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and even bitter. That’s how Jen from Frugal Millennial felt, too, until she had an epiphany: obsessively worrying about her student loan debt was counterproductive. In fact, because of her debt, she’s learned a few lessons along the way.

Minimalism is Boss

Without the distraction of “stuff and things,” we’re more capable of building meaningful lives. Instead of chasing debt — by way of accumulating more and more — we can chase debt freedom and all that being frugal affords.

On redefining her financial goals and expectations, Jen says,

I no longer value things like Coach purses, $300 salon visits, or $250 sunglasses … I was raised to believe that the accumulation of “stuff” and keeping up with the Joneses would make me happy. I now realize how empty and unfulfilling a materialistic life is.  I have adopted a minimalist lifestyle.  I now believe that the best things in life – relationships, friendships, family, freedom, faith, love – don’t cost a thing.

Debt as a Teacher

Life in middle-class suburbia can be a detriment to our understanding of enough. Some of us are raised believing debt is normal and acceptable. Debt is dangerous, but it can teach us a lot about our fortitude and limitations. While we’re not advocating debt accumulation, debt can help us learn things the hard way. For example, Jen tallies the valuable lessons her student loans have taught her.

I have learned how awful debt is, and I plan to NEVER have credit card debt.  I will have a mortgage in the future, but I will be smart about the decisions I make with that (for example, not choosing the longest term possible).

For us, we learned the importance of budgeting, and like Jen, we learned we never wanted to fall into another debt pit — student loan or consumer debt. Because of the sacrifices we made to become debt-free, we began absorbing as much information as we could about investing and saving, so we could achieve our goals and realize our dreams.

Hacking away at a slowly shrinking pile of student loan debt can be depressing, but a positive outlook can make all the difference, and for that, we’re grateful.

Why I’m Grateful for My Student Loan Debt | Frugal Millennial

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