I was a non-traditional college student. When I started my college journey in 2008, I was mom to a 2-year old and living in San Diego as a military wife. Needless to say, I was stressed and living in San Diego was hard on the pocket (very difficult to start saving!). When my husband's military commitment was over, we moved back to Nevada with very little savings, so I could finish school. I graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Economic Policy. I completed my undergrad studies and accumulated $1,500 in student loans. It was difficult not to take out more loans, as it would have really helped us out while I wasn't working, but we did not want to pay an enormous amount towards student loans for an undergrad degree, as I still planned to pursue graduate studies. The job market in Nevada was tough after graduation and moving out of state was not an option. By this time, our son was 8 years old and the call to become first-time homeowners was ever present. I got a job with the State and started saving for closing costs (thank you, @VA loan!). It wasn't easy, as all of you know. We had to pay down some debt, had more modest birthdays, took free "vacations" to the lake and made a commitment to eat PB&J sandwiches for work week lunch (no cheating and buying outside food!). In a year, we were able to buy our first home and now enjoy planting roots somewhere. We made sacrifices and it paid off!