I am finally 100% certified FREE OF DEBT baby!!
(Don’t worry Mom – I don’t have 99 other problems – just a song lyric.)
So yes, it is pretty crazy to look back and realize that in June 2011, when Mr. Goodies encouraged me to start thinking seriously about this, I had $66,000 in student loan debt and a car loan of about $17,000 for a whopping $83,000 in total debt. I realized it was out of control when I noticed that my rent was $950 and my total monthly debt payments were $1,004.
For the record…. I could have paid off my loans in March of this year but hung onto the last $6K and saved up to make timely investments instead. Who knows why.. but it is done now. Technically, I was able to pay off $83,000 in 2 years and 10 months. Sadly, before it became a relationship discussion, I could not really envision my life after student loans. I just figured I would always be saddled with debt, and did not comprehend how other financial accomplishments like buying a house would apply to my life. And visualization is important to my ability to do things – so it was only this focus that truly unlocked my ability to punch the debt in its silly little face.
So what did I do, in a bullet point format that might convince someone like 4-years-ago me that it is possible to do?
- Moved in with my boo and cut my rent from $950 to $600.
- Took a second job teaching SAT at $20/hour to kick out the dental emergency credit debt.
- Quit the SAT job as soon as I paid off the credit debt because 2nd jobs are counter-productive.
- Worked wicked hard at my day job and was fortunate to get kudos and promotions over time.
- Cut every expense and made a hobby of doing so by broadcasting it on this blog – very motivating.
- Started reading about investments to get myself excited for my life after debt.
- Made a Plahn to keep my remaining goals on track.
- Challenged myself to stick to the highest level of debt payment and noticed it gets easier to pay as the loan load reduces.
- Punched the debt in the face and told Chase, Brazos, Sallie Mae, Navient, and the Department of Education where to stick it!
Very sadly, my father passed away during this period of time. This event turbo-charged my loan payoff because I was forced to come up with lots of money very quickly to settle legal affairs – more money than I was already struggling to raise each month to pay loans. But somehow I accomplished that. And once that was done (and I paid off more loans with the reimbursed fees), I challenged myself to continue raising this crazy amount of money for myself until the debt is gone. I know my Dad would be very proud. He always felt I was capable of accomplishing the craziest of feats. And he was always great at turning challenging situations into amazing opportunities. So I was glad to prove to myself that I’ve got the right stuff as well.
So what am I going to do now? Drink champagne… and then get ready to join the world of investment and write about that!