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!