As Brady mentioned, you’re allowed to pull a little extra on the loan for living expenses. I know there’s a cap to it though. I’d plan on pulling the allotted amount and then whatever extra you may need covered, I’d save that up to float you the 7 months before you even start the program.
Once you’re instructing, you’ll be making an income again. Although not great, it will help. Plus if you stick with ATP you’ll have access to dozens of airline partnerships, many of which have great tuition reimbursement programs. Those can cover the monthly cost of your loan so your CFI income can be better utilized for living expenses.
While I am not in the program just yet I am starting on Mon Dec 5th. This was absolutely a concern for me. However, having a good budget and discipline it can be done (Which if you have your mortgage paid off I have to assume you do). For me, I am doing a combination of Hannah’s and Brady’s suggestions. I have saved up 6 months of living expenses and will be utilizing the “extra” on the loan to slow the drain on the savings account. The living stipend is capped at $2000.00 per month. I have made some sacrifices to reduce my monthly living expenses to bare bones necessities. Based on monthly cash flow and the amount I have saved I can “survive” 23 months before going broke. Which I hope is enough to get me through the program and instructing periods to a regional.