I didn’t plan to go into debt when I went back to school last fall, at least not right away. I knew I would need to take out a student loan for next fall but I had enough in savings to cover two semesters tuition and living expenses for six to nine months.
About a week after I left my job I got a packet of balance transfer checks from Chase, at 0% interest for a year. I worked at a credit card call center years ago and while balance transfer offers were common, the checks were becoming rare back then. I thought about it for a few weeks and then wrote a check to myself for just under my credit limit and deposited it into my checking account, leaving my savings alone for a while. In January American Express offered me 0% on purchases for six months and I also took that offer. I put most of my day-to-day spending on Amex for the reward points and I have never paid interest to them. (I’ve also ignored their offer to ‘upgrade’ from my high limit, no annual fee card to a card with a $450 annual fee and I wish they’d quit asking me about that.)
The Chase card won’t start charging interest until the fall. I do need to start bringing some income in before the summer and my credit took a bit of a hit suddenly having a large balance but I’m not in the market for any loans now so I’m not worried. Keeping the cushion in my savings account has let me focus more in getting back into the grove of full-time school without as much money stress which has benefitted my grades and let me qualify for a better financial aid package for next year.