$32,000 in debt after 5 years of college. For a certain age group among us, that probably sounds laughable. Not that any debt is a laughing matter; but it could be so much worse. Why – I haven’t met anyone with a “Craftsman house-sized student loan debt” since this morning.
One year’s tuition, room and board borrowing can easily run between $26-$52,000 in the 21st century. The average student is graduating with $35,200 in debt in 2013.
The book Walden on Wheels, is one man’s story of debt freedom. I will divide the story into two posts-how he discharges his undergraduate debt and how the author pays for graduate school. I am not sure most of us could do what he did, as it involves three difficult accomplishments:
- Delayed gratification
- 99% less spending and embracing isolation to do it
- Severe behavior modification
The hero of this story (author Ken Ilgunas), begins in a Puritanical place:
“I didn’t see work-at least my line of work as a virtuous undertaking. Rather I saw it as nothing but a penance for my sins, for the profligate decisions I had made as a clueless eighteen year old…To make the best out of a bad situation seemed like an act of resignation. Instead I embraced my bitterness and hatred and ungratefulness.”
In order to direct his dollars from a new job in Alaska (in Coldfoot), Ken adopts the idea that his debt is “a villain that needed to be vanquished”.
“I bought nothing and kept nothing in the bank. I squealed with pleasure when I tortured it [the debt] with payments, like a sadist plucking legs from a captured mosquito.”
The Happiness Project, this book is not. Or is it? You tell me.
In various, low wage, isolated jobs, Ken goes about reducing his debt-the book chronicles his success job by job, while contrasting his situation with his good friend Josh, also in debt for his undergraduate education. Josh’s nut is $66,000 however.
Would you give up salon haircuts, all your “electronic gizmos”, new or ‘new to you’ clothes, shopping, the gym and isolate yourself at a minimum wage job in the middle of nowhere to meet your goals? PS he had free ‘room and board’. I think many of us wouldn’t be able to do this, but it is a mesmerizing tale. There might be a technique, or a mind-set, or a tale in this book that will inspire you!
- Duke Grad Student Secretly Lived In A Van To Escape Loan Debt [PHOTOS] (businessinsider.com)
- Walden on Wheels (rebelwithoutadime.wordpress.com)
- Saving Money, Even When the ….Hits the Fan