Debt Free!

Last month, I made one last big payment on my car loan and one last big payment on my student loan. Which means… I’m debt-free!!

Paying off all my loans was my biggest goal after I graduated college (besides finding a job, obviously). Not quite knowing what our combined income would look like, I had a hope that Andrew and I could pay off our loans in about a year and a half. We beat that goal by almost a full year!

Andrew thankfully didn’t have any school loans so that was a big relief, but he still had a small loan for his car, so we started there. We paid off his car fairly quickly and by the end of last summer we started working on my student loans.

I graduated with under $10,000 in loans, which I was pretty proud of. I had several scholarships that helped with my tuition, but I also went to a state school which is cheaper. Additionally, I always made sure to at least pay the interest that was accruing each month so that my loans weren’t growing, but usually I paid more. I tried to pay between $50 or $100 each month, but if I had an extra pay check or received some money as a gift (or from tax returns) I would use that towards my loans as well.

I think we were able to pay off all our loans so quickly because we’ve always been mindful of our money. I wouldn’t consider us well-off by any means; we both currently have entry level jobs, but we have both worked as hard as we could right from the beginning. Andrew worked 50-hour weeks as a manager during college – in addition to his double degree – and I always worked part-time in addition to my schooling. My junior year, I even worked two jobs in addition to school full-time (which was absolutely miserable and I entirely do not recommend). I worked less than that my senior year because I learned my lesson, and also just made a bit more at my internship.

That’s not to say that all of our work didn’t come with a price. Andrew and I made a lot of sacrifices to work as much as we did. I wouldn’t say either of us had a typical college experience; I wasn’t as involved as I could have been and instead of going out on the weekends, I was working. I know that to some people, what we did wouldn’t be worth it, and that’s okay. Not  everyone’s situations are the same and not everyone’s goals are the same. My goal has always been to pay off my loans as fast as I can so that we could be financially sound, and that comes with sacrifices.

All that being said, it feels good to look back and see how far we’ve worked and to see it now, literally, pay off. Right now we are just saving that extra money we’re not spending on loans for future big purchases, like a house or a new car for Andrew, and tucking more away into our 401k.

I know that being debt free will be a temporary state for us once we get tied down into a mortgage, but I’m definitely savoring it while it lasts!

14 thoughts on “Debt Free!”

  1. Yay that’s quite an accomplishment, Becca! I’m proud of you! You were lucky you didn’t have that many loans but you should be proud of yourself! There are 30 year olds who are still paying their debt which is sad. :/ I respect you for working during college. I remember your blog posts about working at a movie theater. :) I just got my first paycheck last week so I’m still starting out. But it’s going to grow hopefully soon!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks Laurie! It wasn’t always easy but I am glad I worked throughout college. And that’s okay if you’re just now starting to pay them off, you’ve got plenty of time! :) That first pay check always feels pretty good!

  2. I am so happy for you! Yay for being debt-free and diligently paying them off! Working while schooling is challenging, but in the end that helped you pay off your debt :D I know you’re happy that they’re off your shoulders!

    I was lucky to not have any student loans for undergrad. My dad helped fund my education, but we had a 65-35 deal where I’d pay 65% of the tuition and he paid 35%. I funded my entire graduate degree. I did take out $2000 the first semester, but that was the only loan I took out. I paid that off before my last semester because they changed a thing where if you weren’t a full-time student, the interest starts accumulating or something weird like that. Aside from that loan, I paid off all of my semesters as they came. While it has left me feeling quite broke and sad as my bank account was depleted, I’m glad I paid them off then. Graduating without any loans was a pretty good feeling ^^

    So is paying it all off in a timely manner! The fact you paid it off so quickly is awesome, Becca! Enjoy being debt-free for a while and I say you and Andrew should splurge on something special!

    1. Thanks, Tara! Yeah, Andrew’s mom did a similar deal as to what you’re dad did for you, so he graduated without any loans which was a big relief for us. It is dumb that if you aren’t full time your interest accumulates on your loans while you’re still in school, but I bet that was awesome graduating without any loans!

      I’ve been thinking about splurging on a new laptop since mine is so old and slow. I’ve been doing a bit of research but haven’t decided on one yet!

  3. Congratulations on becoming debt free! Being mindful with money always pays off and it sounds like you guys worked really hard to get to this point.

    I have about £50,000 worth of student debt because they put the fees up the year I started university (typical) but I feel like student loans in the UK are very different to else where in the world because they’re from the government and we don’t have to start paying them back until we are earning over a certain amount of money. And then when you do start paying it back you only pay a small amount each month.

    1. Thanks, Holly!

      Ahh, what a bummer. We have federal and private student loans in the U.S. depending on what you qualify for. We get a six month grace period after graduation but after that, we have minimum payments due each month, which sounds pretty similar to you guys. Of course you can always pay more than what’s due (which is what I did) to pay it off faster. I know that you can get your monthly payments adjusted if you can’t make them and they can base it off your income, but I’ve heard that’s a bunch of paperwork and a whole pain in the butt. I’m just glad to be done with the whole process and to not have to worry about it!

  4. OMG! I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU! This is such a big achievement and it sounds like you were really focused on the goal which in itself is goalsssss haha. Good job! The thought of my student loans has always scared me, I have made it a goal to pay it off as soon as I can once I graduate too! Being debt free is the most freeing thing!

    This whole post has really motivated me and inspired me. I don’t think I’ve had such a typical college experience, I also used to work weekends during my first and second year and right now working full time on my placement year but I think having the extra cash has really helped me! :D

  5. Congratulations on paying off all of your current loans! I’m proud of you and Andrew for powering through and being awesome adults. You’re playing things smart by putting in as much money as you can into your loans. I am sure the sacrifices you both made are definitely worth it. I try to justify the same way by not joining a sorority because it would cost me thousands to make the most out of it. Good on the both of you for having plans to save up for the bigger and better things!

    My student loans haven’t gained interest yet but I really need to start making some damage soon! Keep on rocking, Becca!

  6. Congratulations that is amazing news. I really like how responsible you were and already thinking of the future while you were studying. It has made a huge difference to your situation now and really great advice! You should both be so proud of paying off the debts and being in a really good position now. :D

  7. That’s amazing! Good job and congrats on being debt-free! You guys worked so hard in college and were smart with your money. That’s definitely something to be proud of. Everyone looks for a different college experience, so I think it’s ok to not have the typical experience. I don’t see it as a waste because like you said, we all have our own goals! You ended up setting up for a better future, so I think that’s awesome!

  8. Congratulations on paying off your debts! I still have a lot of my student loan left, but in Australia we are able to pay that off by having some money taken out of our work pay incrementally. And that doesn’t usually happen until you are earning a significant amount of money. I would make voluntary repayments but since we have that in place, it doesn’t seem necessary!

    I wish I graduated with less than $10k owing though. I owe almost $40k because of my masters degree, which was very expensive. I actually have enough money to pay that all off now! But there is no point since I am able to do it incrementally, if you know what I mean.

    I didn’t have to take out a car loan – I know our cars are like twice the price of those in the US (the one I remember is that an Audi only costs $50k there but I’m pretty sure costs over $110k here), but I bought a pretty affordable car. It was my first big spending. So I have nothing owing there. 😆

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