Debt free!

Wow, I never thought this day would actually come. The day where I make my final payment on my very expensive education. It saddens me that this is our reality right now and students, like myself, are graduating with such a heavy burden before they even begin to live in the “real world”.

This was a burden I have carried for nearly 6 years(and that is not a long time in the grand scheme of things). I’ve always had a full time job, in addition to that, I often worked before work, during lunch, after work, and on weekends at various time in my life, trying to earn anything extra to throw at my student loans. It wasn’t easy, but it is DOABLE.

I did not fully grasp to magnitude of my student loans until my, now, husband sat me down and was like “Erin, you have a lot a debt, this is not a burden you want to carry with you forever.” I was basically clueless on  how I should be paying these loans to get the maximal benefit. I also thought I was doing “well” because I was throwing random extra money a month. Wrong.

I am forever grateful for the reality check Blake gave me when he asked me to write down all my loans from largest interest rate to smallest, the minimum payment for each, and the grand total. Oh-em-gee, that’s a lot.

Blake created a website to help me get organized, not only with my loans, but also with a budget( eww a budget!). This site has you put in all your loan details, your job earnings, tax information, and budget and then spits out a “debt free” date. I followed this very regularly over the last few years. It became a bit of game to me…how much could I “beat” the payoff date by?

I recommend anyone trying to get organized give this website a try: www.fi-re.me
It’s free and a great way to stare to get organized about your debt/loans/budget/savings.

My simple advice:
1. Work hard while you are young and able. -You don’t want to live your entire life playing catch up.
2. Live WITHIN your means.– This is a big one. I NEVER bought something I that could not afford. I did not live off credit card debt. I did not borrow money, and when I  finally got serious about paying my loans I no longer carried a car payment(this helps! You do not need that “nice” car right now).
3. But DO live. -This goes both ways, I did not live in poverty either. I still went out to dinner and had the occasional nail appointment. Make a budget and figure out what “within your means” means for YOU.

The saying “work hard, play hard” may be a cliche, but it holds true. It sucks, it’s not “fair”, it’s hard, it’s exhausting, but it is POSSIBLE.

 

#workhardworks #dowork #goodbyestudentdebt

 

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