In two weeks, I'll be a Canadian in AZ, USA for graduate studies. I'm trying to figure out the pros and cons of different financial decisions during my 7 years of studies.
The PhD I am pursuing is in high demand in Canada, so if I follow through with my choice (which I plan to) I can expect to find a job rather easily. And though I plan to fully support myself, I do have the cushion of an affluent family should the unthinkable happen (my worst-case-scenario is not nearly as bad as others' scenarios).
I have a TAship (full tuition remission, medical insurance, and a barely-liveable stipend). I also have a $45 000 student line of credit that I can make use of for anything on top of that.
The loan is at 19%, and is not frozen while I study. So obviously I don't want to dip into it beyond what I need. However, as mentioned, I am in a position to take a calculated risk without the worst-case-scenario being as strenuous as it might be for others.
The crossroads decision:
Option (1.): Live quite frugally, accrue as little debt as possible, and live without a car in the Phoenix metro area (which is difficult to do)
Option (2.): Dip into the loan for a quality vehicle since I'll be there 7 years, and get out and do things (take a car to go hiking in the mountains, road trip to places I've never been like San Diego, etc.), since part of my motivation for moving countries is to get out and experience as much as I can.
Basically, I don't know enough about this subject to properly map out my pros and cons, and I'm looking for any sort of feedback.