How I Paid Off $26,200 Of Student Loans In 10 Months!

How I Paid Off Student Loans

(Originally post date of Sept. 1, 2015)

I hit a monumental milestone last month. I pressed “pay now” to submit my FINAL student loan payment that totaled more than $40,000 when I graduated from college.

The best part was that I was able to pay 0ff $26,600 in 10 months. You are reading this right. It took me 7 years to pay off $13,400 and 10 months to pay off $26,200.

And if it were up to my student loan providers, I would have let them stick around for another 20 years.

So, what happened a little less than a year ago? I made the decision that I would not let the loans linger for another decade. My husband and I decided to live off his income while funneling all of my income directly to my student loan.

My College Debt Story (& How I Saved $ Along The Way)

I grew up in a state that did not provide many scholarship programs or affordable in-state tuition. (In fact, my home state public university always makes the lists for one of the most expensive in-state schools in the county.) With no major financial incentive to stay, I made the decision to travel out-of-state for a program I was very interested in – Public Relations/Communications.

I planned from the beginning of my college journey to work to help with living expenses and eventually qualify for in-state tuition. By the beginning of my junior year I had transitioned over to an official resident. That decision – and all the hard work that went into qualifying – ended up saving me more than $20,000.

Also, all the hours that I worked to qualify and keep my in-state residency paid for a lot of my living expense – and fun, life-changing, awesome experiences. Because college was one the the most magical times in my life. Much of who I am was shaped during those short four years of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

How I Paid Off 26,600 In Student Loan Debt In 10 Months

Paying Of $13, 400 In 7 Years

I got a great job in public relations right out of school and I started making the minimum payments on my student loans. Every month, just like clockwork, they sent me a bill and I sent them a few hundred dollars.

My husband and I got married and we were making a combined income that would have made paying off the loans a breeze. But instead, we ate out, went on vacation, bought things and lived like “normal” people.

Then, I had my daughter and 21 months later, my son. And things started to change.

How I Paid Off 26,600 In Student Loan Debt In 10 Months

Paying Off $26,200 In 10 Months

Kids make you want to be better and do better. I wanted to be home more for my kids. But I also wanted to provide a secure financial future for them. (My husband and I we both blessed with parents that were incredible role models for us.)

That’s when I started getting very interested in personal finance. I remember the first day I came across MoneySavingMom.com and it changed my life. People live with no debt? And they are still happy?! I also learned about this guy name Dave Ramsey. He taught workable steps through his bestselling book and radio show. Although, I didn’t following all of Dave Ramsey’s teaching, he motivated me to make better choices with money.

My husband and I started making sacrifices. I worked more hours at my job. (Which I have since been able to quit to stay home with the kids). We cut cable. We switched to a discount cell phone provider. I stopped getting manicures and Starbucks. (Yes, I was very basic in a previous life). I found all the best second hand stores in the area to sell to and buy from. We started to meal plan. Our family sold everything we could find. We started throwing every extra dollar to the loan payment.

Below is a screen shot of my actual student loan payment from the middle of my 10-month repayment time. (Note: This is only one of the two loans that I paid off. I had a federal and private student loan. Second, we had to take a break from huge payments in March to cover our large income tax bill that year!)

How I Paid Off 26,600 In Student Loan Debt In 10 Months

We Did It…

Fast forward to this August, and I made the final payment on my loans. I don’t say this to brag or boast because I know this amount in one year is not possible for many of you. But I want to let you know that we weren’t dealing with a pretty, little student loan. It was big and ugly and it took major sacrifices to pay it off. 

But I’m living proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel – even if your tunnel is very, very long!

How I Paid Off 26,600 In Student Loan Debt In 10 Months

…And You Can Too!

I’ve thought about how I can help other people pay off their student loans. I asked myself what do I wish someone would have handed me on day one?

Then, it hit me. I would have LOVED a checklist of things to do to pay off my debt. I read hundreds (thousands?) of articles like “How to save on car insurance” and “How to save on my grocery budget,” but I wanted everything in one place. And not just ideas (like refinance your mortgage), but I would have loved action items (tell me how to refinance my mortgage!)

That’s why I created a FREE giveaway called 101 Questions Workbook To Save Serious Money  to help jump-start your journey to get out of debt. It’s a 13-page comprehensive checklist of everything to do revamp your monthly bills and get on track. Pair my checklist with your favorite budgeting tool and you are all set up for success! Subscribe below to download your free copy right now.

Subscribe & Download For Free!

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I paid off $81,400 in 2 years and I want to give you a FREE copy of the workbook I used to ditch debt!

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