The Frugal Shrink

 Welcome to The Frugal Shrink!!  I am a 30-year-old licensed psychologist living in a low cost of living area in the Midwest.   This means low expenses but also low salary compared to other parts of the country.  It still seems like a lot of money to me!  I work as an independent contractor at several different jobs and love the variety.

I live in a 1200 sq ft home that I purchased in 2010- 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, so plenty of toilets to clean!  I drive a 2004 Chevy Cavalier that I own free and clear and don’t intend to upgrade anytime soon, although people keep asking me when I am going to buy a “doctor” car.  I have high hopes that this car will last for at least another year and would really like to pay cash for my next car.

I have a bachelor’s degree (2004), a master’s degree (2006), and a doctorate in clinical psychology (2008), so I spent many years in school and a crap-ton of money to get through it all.  I graduated with my doctorate (Psy.D., not Ph.D.) and left with about $146,000 in student loan debt.  Looking at that number right now just makes me want to vomit.  I was so YOUNG (not quite 22) when I decided that was a good financial decision.  I thought it would “only” total around $100K when I graduated but tuition raises + compound interest bit me hard.  I didn’t know at the time that you can attend some doctoral programs tuition-free AND get a stipend. Oh well…  $8,000 of the $146K total came from my undergraduate schooling, so the bulk was from grad school. 

I went through an accelerated program, so I finished my doctorate when I was barely 26.  Believe me, it was accelerated!  Looking back, I am so glad that I did it that way, but it seems impossible to have completed so much schoolwork, practica, thesis and dissertation, and a one-year internship in such a short amount of time.  It was a little crazy, but I think a person can easily handle crazy schedules in their early twenties.

After graduation, I completed a one-year residency and took a very ugly licensure test called the EPPP.  By the grace of God I passed the EPPP the first time, took my state juris prudence exam, and became a licensed psychologist. 

I then completed a two-year contract with the National Health Service Corps, a program that will help psychologists, physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, and many others pay back their loans if they commit to work with underserved populations for the minimum length of time.  I received $50,000 tax-free from them to put toward my student loans.  This was a HUGE, HUGE help and I applied it to my highest interest loans. 

Current Debt Stats as of December 2012- 
Credit card debt:  $0
Car loan debt:  $0
Student loan debt:  $79,000.  Approximately half is at 1.8% interest and the other half is at 2.47% interest.  Yes, you read those percentage rates correctly.  I am thankful to have crazy low interest rates.
Mortgage:  $105,000 (originally $109,000- owned since June 2010) at 5% interest. This was the lowest mortgage rate available at the time.

I haven't made a lot of progress in debt repayment this year because I have been focused on getting my jobs up off the ground.  I'm hopeful that 2013 will be more financially productive!


Tammy said…
I'm glad to see you back blogging! It was interesting to read the breakdown on the costs involved. It sounds scary but you have a plan and you are a very frugal and level headed young lady so I know you will keep it managed.
Love ya,
Auntie T.
SheilaPCT said…
Can you re-fi your mortgage? Rates are better now....

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