Opportunity Cost - How Debt Is Ruining Your LifeThe following is a guest post from the crew over at Kasasa, a financial technology and marketing services company for the banking industry. Kasasa provides local banks and credit unions with marketing, resources, and innovative products including free checking. If you haven’t checked out their services, I highly recommend you do so and find an institution near you that offers Kasasa’s free checking. 

It’s hard to avoid debt.

Without it, the idea of buying a home or going to college would be unattainable for many. Even the people who we see as successful or enviable most likely have debts in some form.

So how can you utilize debt to grow your worth without digging a hole you can’t get out of? Simple: minimize the opportunity costs of the debts you hold.

What is opportunity cost?

In laymen’s terms: opportunity cost comes down to weighing your options and calculating the most efficient path to achieve your desired outcome.

It’s represented by this equation:

Opportunity Cost = Return of Most Lucrative Option – Return of Chosen Option

Why is opportunity cost important?

Since debt has become such a norm for many Americans, we’ve lost the urgency to get out of debt. The mindset can easily become: “Well, these minimum payments are so small, they don’t really impact my lifestyle. Why should I rush? Being in debt isn’t so bad, right?”


This mentality will cost you in the long run. Let’s look at a practical example that will reveal just how much you ultimately pay for your debt. And how much you could be saving if you calculated the opportunity costs of your debt now.


Let’s say you have $30,000 in student loans you need to pay off over the course of 40 years at a 5% interest rate. That’s a pretty long time to pay off your loans, and if you have a good job, the estimated $144.66 you need to pay each month might not hurt your lifestyle so much.

However, by the time you pay off that loan, you will have paid a total of $69,436. That’s almost $40,000 in interest over the life of the loan.

We don’t need to tell you what you could have done with that money.

Now, taking into account the opportunity cost, what if you paid $50 extra on the principal each month?
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How to Save on College Student ExpensesIf you’re a recent college graduate or about to graduate this year, there are several financial considerations to make that you didn’t have to think about while you were still in college. You should think about making money moves right now before you graduate from college. Now is the time to start thinking about your financial future.

Money Moves to Make Right After Graduating College

Although planning out your short and long-term financial situations may seem like a chore when you’re in the midst of writing essays and studying for tests, here are three extremely important things to consider for soon-to-be graduates.

Figure Out Student Loan Repayments

If you’re drowning in student loan debt after graduation, then your first priority should be getting on track to start paying off your loans. There are several options available for paying off your student loans, including income-based repayments for federal loans, refinancing your private student loans, and possibly even finding a job that will pay off your student loans for you.

Once you figure out how you can pay off your student loans, your next step is determining when you need to start (it’s usually not right away, but 4-6 months after finishing your credential or degree) and how much you should pay off.

The federal government’s student loan website has a nifty student loan repayment calculator to help you determine how much money you should put towards your student loan balance each month. It can be advantageous to pay off more than your minimum payment because this will decrease the timeframe of the loan as well as save you tons of money on student loan interest.
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