We’re paying off an $80,000 student loan debt! Keep reading to see our progress and how we’ve been able to make it this far on one income.
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It’s time for another student loan update! As much as I hate having student loan debt, I love making our monthly payment. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction seeing that loan balance get smaller and smaller.
And last Thursday was extra-special! We reached a new milestone, finally seeing our loan balance dip below the $40k mark! We’re in the $30k range now! Woohoo!!
If you’re new around here, let me fill you in on our particular student loan situation. If you’ve been here before, feel free to skip this section.
Our student loan story
I graduated from college without any student loan debt. My cosmetology diploma, associate’s degree in business administration, and bachelor’s degree in business administration all came from affordable schools. I even took most of my classes online, so I didn’t have to pay for expensive student housing!
My debt-free education was a blessing since Josh had enough student loan debt for the both of us. Growing up, he didn’t have the same support system I had. He didn’t have anyone there to help him pick an affordable school, so he ended up at a very expensive for-profit university.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re very grateful for his education. His bachelor’s degree is in computer information systems, so he was able to get a good job one month after graduating. But that education came with a hefty price tag, one that he wasn’t fully aware of when he signed up.
In all, he ended up with $75,000-$80,000 in student loan debt. We aren’t sure what the exact amount was because he had been making payments toward the private student loan before we got married. I didn’t keep track of his payments back then, and he doesn’t know how much he paid from March 2014 to August 2014.
When we got married that September, I began paying the bills and keeping meticulous payment records. That month, we paid off the remaining $11,000 private student loan out of our savings account and focused all of our energy on the federal loan, which totaled $64,000.
It’s kind of cool to see how much we’ve been able to pay from year to year. Here’s what our payments in 2014, 2015, and 2016 looked like:
So let’s talk about our most recent payment!
November 2017 Payment
As of Last Thursday, Josh’s student loan balance was $42,202.17.
I made a payment of $2,400, which brought the balance to approximately $39,802.17. This is just an estimate because the loan accrues interest in the day or so that it takes the company to receive our payment.
Y’all. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the balance reach the $30k range! It feels SO GOOD to be in the thirties! I literally do a happy dance every time the loan reaches a new milestone.
Back when we were looking at $80,000 in student loan debt, it seemed like there was no end in sight. But here we are now! We’ve paid off HALF of Josh’s student loans in just over three years!
And I’m so happy with 2017’s progress. Here’s how much we’ve paid so far:
If you remember from September’s student loan update, I mentioned that my goal was to pay at least $10,000 by the end of the year. It isn’t even December yet, and we’ve already surpassed that goal by $2,000! I’m telling ya, the Lord has a way of blowing my goals out of the water.
We’ve also surpassed 2015 and 2016’s total payments! That’s a pretty big deal. I think it would be so cool to surpass even 2014’s total payments. We’ll just have to see what happens in December. 😉
(Read December’s student loan update to see if we reached our goal!)
What about you?
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “What’s the big deal? Debt is normal, and I’m perfectly fine making minimum payments.”
I would challenge that mindset by asking a simple question: What could you do if you didn’t have debt?
You could take vacations, travel, quit a job you hate, start your dream business, pay for someone else’s college education, experience a sense of freedom. You could do all sorts of things if you didn’t have those pesky payments holding you back!
The average student loan debt is around $37,000. And if you’re only making minimum payments, you’re racking up tons of interest. That $37,000 isn’t really $37,000 at all. By stretching out those minimum payments 10, 15, or even 20 years, you’re actually paying more than what you originally borrowed! A lot more.
It isn’t just student loans that kill you with interest. Credit cards, auto loans, and home mortgages do the same.
But if you pay off your debts early, you save so much in interest. That’s more of your money that you actually get to keep!
We’ve made it our goal to become completely debt-free as quickly as possible. We’re starting with the student loan and then we’ll hit the mortgage. The freedom that comes along with being debt-free is just too good for us to pass up, so we’re making short-term sacrifices now in order to live our dream for the rest of our lives.
It’s like Dave Ramsey says: “Live like no one else now so later you can live like no one else.”
Resources to help you become debt-free
I highly recommend you read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. His book will teach you everything you need to know!
But in the meantime, check out these other posts that will help you on your journey to a debt-free lifestyle:
- Want to Take Charge of Your Finances? Dave Ramsey Can Help
- How We Cut Our Spending to Maximize Our Student Loan Payments
- How to Budget Using the Cash Envelope System (and why you should!)
- How to Know Which Financial Advice to Follow
- Living Below Your Means: A Seemingly Foreign Concept
- 6 Tips to Score Big at Thrift Stores
- 4 Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund
What about you? Do you want to pursue a debt-free lifestyle? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
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