How I Pay My Student Loans

by Kelly · 4 comments

in Money & Spending

Two bills moved with me when I moved to France: my American Visa and my student loans. I have paid off my credit card, although the account remains open, so I no longer have monthly payments. My student loans are another story.

As an American living abroad I no longer have a US checking account. I had one during the first few years that I lived here, but it was very difficult to transfer money into the account*. Without American checks, paying my two American bills was a major hassle. I have to admit that, for a while, it was too much of a hassle and so I didn’t pay them.

National Bank of Dad often stepped up to the plate for the monthly payments, but the interest rates were high, involving lots of grumbling on the banker’s part about adult children living independently and responsibly and within their means.

Then it finally hit me- my father owns a store, and has the ability to charge credit cards for purchases. So I gave my father my debit card number, and now he charges my loan payment every month and sends in a check. I try to keep this as simple as possible, so I round up the number a little bit to an even amount.

I also always express my heartfelt thanks, because, without this solution I know I’d have those student loan collectors beating down my door. This isn’t a solution that will work for everyone obviously, and I often wonder how people in my situation manage their overseas bills.

*Transferring money out didn’t seem to pose as big a problem!


1 Sophie January 24, 2008

this is so smart!!!
I love the “National Bank of Dad” thing! I used “National Bank of Grandma” when our financial meltdown took place in 2006, and her only motto was “Because you’re worth it!” How lovely!!

2 Mrs. Micah January 28, 2008

That's a very creative idea! And as debit, he shouldn't have any extra fees. Brilliant. 🙂

3 determinedsinglemom March 4, 2008

When I moved to the USA from Canada I had similar issues when I carried a Visa balance and student loan with me. My solution was a bundle of postdated cheques for my student loan and just working a month or so ahead on the Visa. Visa did not want to process or hold postdated cheques.
HOWEVER if you decide to do this with your loan I urge you to be aware that US banks seem to have NO concept of a postdated cheque and will just cash whatever they receive whenever they receive it. Canadian banks pay attention to the date on the cheque and you can’t cash it until that date. In the 7 years it took to pay off my student loan I never had a cheque cashed early. Thankfully now both loans are paid off and I don’t have to deal with any of it.

BTW I love reading your blog. My goal one day is to spend a year living in France and use it as a homebase to explore Europe.

4 Dana July 27, 2008

When I moved to the US from Canada I had the same problem. Paying my old bills was a pain! I did money transfers into my Canadian chequing account and almost everything was auto withdrawal. Of course there was a heavy fee to go along with this plan. My Canadian bills have long been paid. Now, I just need to work on those American ones.

Dana’s last blog post..You crack me up…

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