Debt Diary: Feeling ‘Stretched Thin’ on Over $85,000

Debt Diary: Feeling ‘Stretched Thin’ on Over $85,000
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In the second Debt Diary of our series, 26-year-old Aly Klemmer shares how she balances double student loan payments, rent and car payments, saving for retirement, investing and more.

We’d love to hear:

  • What was your initial reaction to Aly’s story?
  • Does Aly’s experience resonate with you? Why?
  • What is your approach to paying down student debt?
  • What questions do you have about paying down student debt?


This was super inspirational! I love how comprehensive Aly’s approach is; it’s pretty impressive how she’s including investing and retirement along side tackling her student loan debt.

I also love how she gives every dollar she earns a ‘job’! To me this really speaks to the value of viewing money as a tool. There seems to be a lot of power and accountability in this approach.

Go Aly!
ps super cute dog! :dog2:


I feel like this every first week of the month. What I don’t get is where there fixed expenses are?

It resonates with me over keeping a budget and the anxiety over trying to obtain every financial goal at once.

For student debt, it depends on the interest rate. Lower amounts mean it’s not as a big priority as other high interest debts or 1-4 year goals.

My question is if you are paying down student loan debt and saving up for tuition for an MBA at the same time, are these 50/50 goals? Do you pay more than the other, how long do you wait to start the MBA?


Hello, saturnsmoon64, and welcome to the community!

We’ll need a little more information to help you assess your options. How much student loan debt are we talking about? How much more would you need for the MBA program? How much do you earn now, and how much more do you expect to earn after you get the degree?

In general, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have money sitting in a savings account earning 2% or less when you have higher-rate debt. One of the exceptions is that everybody needs to have an emergency fund, but beyond that your money should generally be working harder for you–either through investments or paying off troublesome debt.

Whether you should put off the MBA, or borrow more to get it, depends a lot on how much debt you already have and how much more you might earn with a degree.

If you can fill us in a little more, we’d be happy to try to help!


Sure and thank you for the welcome, I appreciate it.

Personally, I paid of 80% of my 50k student loans at a low interest and in the last bit. I have about that x2 in total debt (low interest 8%, 4%)

If you know of any moderate investments that yield more that 2% (highest I can find at the moment) I would love to learn more how to get there.

Typically the programs for a masters degree are anything from 16k to 35k for what I am only dreaming about.

So when I read the article that was up for discussion in this thread, I was amazed that she was doing it all at once. You have to eat, where do you prioritize?


Glad to have you here! 2% is about the top for FDIC-insured savings accounts. To get much more, you need to take more risk. You also need to take into account your goals. If your goal is just a couple years out, or you may need the money in a hurry, keeping it in savings is probably the best option. If you have a few more years, some short- and intermediate-term bond funds could give you little more return. If you have five or more years, you can add some stocks to the mix.

BTW, if you aren’t saving for retirement yet, it would be a great idea to start. We recommend starting to save for retirement as soon as possible and continuing even if you’re also paying off debt. That’s particularly true if you have access to a workplace plan that has a company match. That’s basically free money that you should never pass up.

Hope that helps!


Hey there, saturnsmoon64! This is Aly. Thank you so much for your interest in my story . Im hoping I can answer your question on paying down loans and saving for another degree. I definitely want to point out that my approach to saving and paying down debt is in no way perfect- it’s taking me at least three years worth of financial mistakes to come to a point in which I feel I have control of my student debt. And I’m still learning how to navigate my finances as I talk to more people in similar situations.

So before I even considered double paying on my current student debt or saved for my MBA, I made sure I had an emergency fund set up. That took some time. For me, I felt secure having $8,000 in my savings account before even starting the process of saving for the MBA. I want to say that took about a year.

After that, I found it hard to balance (and I still do) which is more important, saving for my MBA classes or paying down my loan. Up until my first tuition bill for my MBA classes (that I will start in January), I would double pay on my loan and only have enough money to put $100ish aside for my MBA. With that, you can see it would clearly take a long time to save for MBA classes. And time isnt exactly on my side as I want to start the MBA ASAP. I saved passively for the MBA for the first few months, and then for three months leading up to my MBA bill, I for-goed double paying my loan to ensure I had the funds to pay for my 2 online MBA classes out of pocket (that came to $2,200).

My reasoning for ditching double paying my loan while I save for my MBA is that I simply dont want to go through the hassle of acquiring another student loan to pay in two-three years. I hope I will be able to continue to pay more than the minimum on my current loan should I have extra cash, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that as I pursue career growth in gaining an MBA, my approach on paying down my current loan will need to change. The hope is that an MBA will open doors into a higher paying job as well.

I also was extremely selective in the MBA program I chose. I chose an in-state college so I could receive in-state tuition. I also chose a program notorious for giving scholarships. I actually received a $1,000 scholarship for my first semester! Of course, I didnt count on this, but nonetheless it’s such a burden off. And this school continues to give partial scholarships for students with high GPAs throughout the program.

My journey may be different from your own, and my process may not be a perfect fit for you, but I do hope sharing my story has helped with your financial journey.


Thanks so much for sharing those additional details, Aly! It was nice of you to stop in and I hope you continue to do so.

I’m really glad you mentioned the time thing, because that’s a huge factor in these decisions. Waiting to pay off your loans and save up for the next phase of your education could take years, if not decades. If you haven’t already overdosed on debt and the next degree will boost your income, it can make a lot of sense to just get the new loans and get your degree.

The one-at-a-time approach can feel more satisfying, but it may not be the right choice. I wrote about that here:


Yes, Aly thank you for the context. The strategy that you took on saving for the three months before is exactly what I was looking for learning how to do.
While I figure out what to deprioritize in my budget I decided to take cheap, online classes in the field I would love a master’s in. I think as I commit to it more it will make more sense what to give up. I already am paying min on current loans, and am a year out of my being out of debt goal. I wonder as I pay off that debt I can start putting the money on the payments I was making to the Masters financial goal. This checks and balances between multiple goals can be a sandstorm sometimes. Seriously thank you so much for the example <3


Get hired by a company that will pay for your MBA! OR you research Universities that have Graduate Assistant Programs & apply to be accepted into their programs (apply to several so you’re bound to get at least 1 offer) most provide FREE tuition and a monthly stipend, plus you’ll have marketable experience to add to your resume.


I NEED A PERSONAL LOAN FOR 700000 immediately to cover medical bills.