Rather than be able to save for paying for living expenses, I was saving to buy a used car, my first car. Thereafter, I was saving for travel expenses, research expenses, membership expenses, and anything else for the program to cost dough. In graduate school, professors were saying how little they paid us for doing work, but I was content with it as it paid most of the living expenses. However, I was blocked from those cheaper living arrangements for years by the university (living off campus is far more expensive as well), and they just kill. Then at the university level, well, let's just say there wasn't that much time for work that paid beyond minimum wage and work requiring less than 20 hours a week.
There was no way I was coming out debt free. The thing was I didn't mind that. I knew I needed to borrow a lot of money to even get a shot at what most folks took for granted. That being said, I think the debt-free idea is ludicrous.