Debt Becomes Her: The Decision
Yep, that’s right. We have decided to take on debt.
A large amount of debt.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Why on earth would you take on debt in this economy? Let me explain.
One of my biggest dreams has been to go to culinary school. In fact, whenever people would ask me what I’d do if I won the lottery, my first response is always that I’d finally enroll. The other day Eric asked me why I felt I needed to win the lottery to pursue a dream like that. Good question.
I guess I felt it was too expensive, especially since I already have a bachelor’s degree. The tuition for this 15-month culinary school costs more than the tuition for my 4-year degree. It’s been hard for me to justify spending that amount on an associate’s degree, even if it is a dream of mine.
Five years ago, before I met Eric, I applied to the culinary school and got all the way through financing. When I realized I wouldn’t be eligible for any grants because of my BBA and that I’d owe the entire sum in unsubsidized student loans I just couldn’t do it. I was too afraid to be saddled with that kind of debt and it’s been one of those “what ifs” in my life ever since. You know, the kind that make you sigh out loud when ever you think about it.
So what has changed that makes me think I can do it now?
We are in a much better place financially. Eric and I have learned how to budget and have reached several financial goals together (paying off our cars, buying a new home, saving for an emergency fund). We feel that as a team we can handle taking on “good debt” in order to fulfill a dream and enrich our family.
I have the emotional support now. The first time I looked into culinary school I was on my own. My parents didn’t think it was the greatest idea and I didn’t know if such a drastic career change was the right thing for me. Now, everyone is behind the idea and supportive my decision to go. Especially Eric. I think Eric is more excited about me going to culinary school than I am. It has been a long time since I’ve been in school and I’m a little scared. It’s natural to be nervous, though, and I’m sure it will pass.
With Eric’s encouragement and reassurance (not to mention the fresh dose of confidence from my recent catering gig) I took a chance and enrolled. I’m going through with it this time.
I start next week and my estimated graduation date is June 2009. Tonight is orientation and I will be making the first tuition payment. It marks the beginning of the new debt. More on the financials soon…
Why not just save up the money and go when you can pay in cash?
Sure, I guess I could have done that. If we saved $1,000 a month (lofty goal) I would be able to enroll in 3 years, assuming no increase in tuition (yeah right). The tuition has risen about $5,000 since I first applied in 2003.
Unfortunately, I think if I wait I will end up missing out. We both have a sense of “it’s now or never” and that I might not have as good of an opportunity in the future.
Right now, we don’t have kids or any other debt (besides a mortgage). That means now is the right time. In a few years we might want children and with that comes a big change in priorities. Financing additional school for us would be unlikely to be high on that list.
We also think now is the time because of the sour economy. I’ve been thinking of starting a small catering company but with a possible recession starting a small business in a “luxury” industry might not be the best idea. I might as well ride out the bear economy with schooling and start the business when there is enough discretionary spending power out there to support it.
I still can’t believe I’m actually going to culinary school. It’s been a dream for so long it doesn’t seem real. No more “what if’s”.
I have chosen the early morning schedule so most of my classes will be held before noon. After I complete my classroom credits I’ll be working in the onsite fine dining restaurant followed by a few months of a real-world “externship”.
Eric says he can’t wait for me to start the hands-on labwork so he can benefit from all the new techniques I’ll be learning. He says he fully supports me practicing a lot at home. I think I just figured out why he is so excited…
Image Source: mccheek