Wednesday, August 15, 2012

on getting out of debt


*disclaimer: i'm writing this post not so i can tell you about what good, awesome people we are but so i can have a little moment of happy proud-of-ourselves celebration on my blog. :)

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in 2009, i finished graduate school. along with a master's degree, i also suddenly had a huge pile of student loan debt. not only had i taken out money for books and tuition, but, after my divorce half-way through grad school, i suddenly was solely responsible for rent, food, a car payment, etc. so i had to take out even more money to cover just the cost of living.

when chas and i got married in 2010, we decided to make paying off my student loans our #1 priority. and now, 2 1/2 years later, we're down to the last $6000! don't get me wrong- 6 grandy is still tons of money, but when compared to the amount we started with, $6000 feels like pennies! (ok, maybe not pennies...let's say quarters!). seriously though, it makes us both so, so happy to know that the end is finally in sight!

what makes us even more proud of ourselves is when we think about how chas was making only $12/hour at the beginning of our marriage and how we've also paid $10,000 cash for my prenatal care and hero's birth. thankfully, chas is making much more money these days and i was also working before hero was born, but we have never been (and likely never will be) richy rich.

all this is to say that if we can do it, anyone can do it!

our secret?

just shove any and all extra income towards the debt. it's hard and it totally feels like just giving money away but once you get in the habit, you don't have to think about it so much and the satisfaction from seeing the debt slowly shrink away is pretty great.

putting so much money towards paying off debt has meant that we've gone without some things over the years. we've only gone on one road trip vacation, we have only one car (which means that I don't have a car at home with hero during the week), the one time a year we eat at a fancy restaurant is on our anniversary, and we almost never see movies in the theater. but we haven't totally deprived ourselves, either. we also believe in being able to have a little fun with our money when we want to. so we eat out every now and then (hire's cheeseburgers), buy fun new clothes (usually on sale and at places like F21 and target) sometimes, and, if we want to get some new dressers for the bedroom (pictured above), we do it! i just think it's all about balance and trying your best to be smart with what you've been given.

and, most importantly, heavenly father can see your efforts and will bless you. that's the best part.

this weekend, we decided that when we finally pay off all my student loans, we're going to reward ourselves with a little sam-and-chas-only trip to somewhere awesome like san francisco!

hooray!

22 comments:

k8te said...

congrats! what a great feeling! i got out of credit card debt (ugh) a few years ago, and it was such a relief. i am still working on my student loans though. slowly but surely :)

Alyssa said...

congratulations. i will have to start paying on mine in a few months and i'm petrified. my boyfriend has paid off his (though he had far less than i do in debt) and i have NO idea how to even go about paying it off. i live by myself, currently only have a part time job lined up for the fall and have dietary issues that require forking over too much for food. and i have no budget in place. ugh. so i'm hoping I can use your tip to get through the next years.

Nikki said...

Congrats! The hubby-to-be and I both have student loan debt that we have been paying off and after we get married (less than 4 weeks!), we plan to do exactly what you said - stick to a budget and put every extra penny towards that debt. Hopefully in a few years we will be as close as you are to being debt free! What an amazing feeling that will be :)

Janssen said...

I love this post!

We paid off Bart's student loans from his graduate degree right before Ella's birth and it was the BEST feeling. You guys are amazing for making it happen. And I couldn't agree more about Heavenly Father blessing you to get rid of it as you put forth your best effort - I saw that happen to ours too.

Kimberly said...

HUGE congrats! Jake and I both entered our marriage with debt, and now that I'm in grad school we feel even more adamant that we want to pay down what we've got entirely before my next loans kick in. It feels like life debt free is millions of years away, so its encouraging to know that the end does eventually come into view!

Nessa @{Casa Braaflat} said...

congrats! student loan debt is really such a burden.

zay said...

I love this post because it is real life... is not normal to see money related posts around so thank you for that. And thank God I didn't needed a students loan because with only my husbands at the moment money is tight, I can't even imagine how it would be with 2 loans under the same incomes fiu!

Amy said...

San Francisco?! I like the sound of you guys coming to CA :)

Jenna said...

We are the same way, Very careful with our money. My husband's income is meager. I work a little to support us but it's still not a whole lot. However, we have a nice little savings and we have learned how to live simply. It is great. Congratulations!!

P.S. we have rewarded ourselves with a Caribbean cruise in January. It was a smokin' deal and we got free airfare. So excited!

Ashley said...

big pat on the back for the two of you! and a high five! That is awesome :)

Abbey said...

My husband is starting his masters program this fall and its the first time we've had to take out a loan for either of our schooling. I'm already feeling weighted down by the debt; hate it! Hopefully we can be where you are in just 2 1/2 years. So awesome!

Jessica Wray said...

congrats!!! I literally just got off the phone with FAFSA applying for my own student loans. Reading you success story makes me feel a little more at ease! :)


Peony

Lisa Fly Rondo said...

i love this, its inspiring to hear! my husband and i are newly weds and i have a slew of student loans to pay off due since I'm graduated, more than you have now haha thats for sure! but it gives me hope that you cut yours down so much in only 2 years! i will continue budgeting tight if thats the secret. thanks for your inspiration and giving me hope that i can still have cute stuff and do things every now and again with little income. glad your hubs has a great job, someday mine will too i hope once he graduates ;) good luck to you! your room is ADORABLE

Ginnie said...

sooooo inspiring!!! Congratulations! Student loans are the worst but it truly is amazing what you guys have done!!! We're out in Boston and it's been tough with the high cost of living and grad school... wish us luck! :D
Seriously though, congratulations!!

Treasure Tromp said...

only $6000 left? that is amazing!!

jackie said...

that's so exciting!!! i just graduated in May and have a lot of debt and husband has some too, plus i'm thinking of going to grad school this year. this loan stuff is terrifying. i feel like we'll never pay them off. we'll die at age 100 with debt still from when we were 21. gosh i hope not.

Donna said...

Wow! Good job. I bet it is a huge relief.

Fleur De Moi said...

That is totally something to be proud of! Student Loan Debt can be really overwhelming at times so it's hard to EVER think you'll pay it off. Great job, girl!

Che said...

That's so awesome! I love that you blogged about this, so many students have no idea how much college is going to cost them and end up going into major debt.

I started paying my debt off as a freshman, paying quarterly payments to lessen the interest and I've only accumulated $15,000 so far. it's tough, you gotta give things up sometimes, but it's worth it in the end!

Irene_J said...

Getting out of debt is very difficult but it can be done. Make sure that when you have paid all your debts, that you won’t acquire new debts and be in the same situation when you started.

By: Mae of Bankruptcy Attorney Renton

Jaden Allred said...

Well done, Sam and Chas! Getting out of debt is not easy, but it can be done through hard work and determination. You’re right about tossing any extra income towards the debt. Don’t mind the vacations, cars and fancy restaurant you missed, you can have all of that worry-free once you’ve been relieved of your debt.

Jaden Allred

Allan Morais said...

If you really want to get out of debt, you should learn to prioritize things. You should separate your needs from your wants. Well, it’s okay to spend money on lavish stuff because you still deserve to experience pleasure. However, you have to make sure that you do it with control.

Allan Morais