Hi All! I have some exciting news to announce. I just made my LAST payment towards my student loan and now I am 100% debt free! My heart was racing as I hit the “submit” button. I was near tears achieving this huge accomplishment. 10 years ago, I graduated college with about $59k in debt. How did I get myself into that mess? I was financially irresponsible, lived off of credit cards, and was eager to please everyone out there. At 24, I graduated college with a $21k student loan, had about $10k in credit card debt (that grew to $20k of course), and purchased a brand new car at about $16k. The shame I had really affected my work, my relationships, and my self esteem. I was secretly angry inside and really wanted to blame anyone except myself. Who would have guessed that walking into a thrift store and picking up a used book titled, “The Courage to be Rich” by Suze Orman would be the start of my personal journey towards financial freedom.
Here are some of the changes I made in my life to pay off this huge debt. Along the journey towards financial freedom, I was still able to vacation, go to nice dinners, and buy gifts for those I care about, but I saved for it instead. It took small baby steps to get to where I wanted to be, but of course, the first step was always the hardest. I write this to inspire others in their own journey to financial freedom. Whatever you want to achieve, you can do it!
How I paid off $59k!
1) Give yourself a raise. Work hard for the promotion or find a company that will value you. I decided to study sales and gave myself a raise. I never thought I would work in sales with a commission structure, but I loved and still love being in control of what I can make. There is no cap on earnings. Any successful bonus I earned in sales went towards debt. I also lived below my means. I never banked on the commission. Through hard work, I was able to receive multiple promotions and helped increase salary.
2) I stopped shopping for new clothes (for a while). When I was ready to buy new clothes again, I had a budget and patience. Everything was calculated.
3) I stopped eating out too much. I had a period of time that I only allowed myself to eat out when it was a special occasion – birthdays, etc. I said no to dinners I knew that would have a complicated situation when it came time to pay and the group was too large. For some reason, I always lost money that way. I ordered water!
4) I stopped drinking too much. I would spend $100 a night drinking out. That really had to stop.
5) I started taking the bus and trains more. Once I paid off my car, I really wanted this car to last. I currently am at 187k miles and loving it!
6) I took care of my car. I was on time for oil changes and maintenance.
7) I used coupons
8) Since I loved eating out, I watched Youtube videos on how to cook my favorite dishes and made it at home with less ingredients.
9) I never cut my budget for groceries. I eat and snack a lot, so I need to have food available. I also like eating a variety of items. When I limited my groceries, I found myself being unhappy and eating out any way. Best to buy what you want, when you want it. Yes, buy that nicer cut of steak when you want it. I guarantee it is cheaper to cook at home than to eat out!
10) Downgrade. Example, order a small coffee vs. your medium or large.
11) Say no to activities you really don’t want to do!
12) Write down everything you owe and get angry! Get angry at the credit card companies who have high interest rates. Pay the card with the highest interest rate first!
13) Do side jobs and sell your items. I’ve sold clothes, ran errands, and did taste tests. Anything to earn extra money. I did not spend it. I put it towards debt.
14) Be honest with family. I no longer wanted to buy gifts for adults in the family. Just the kids.
15) Study. I watched YouTube videos, listened to Podcasts, read every article and book I could about personal finance.
16) Manifest. Believe, believe, believe. Surround yourself with like minded people.
17) Avoid high spenders! Never let anyone distract you from your goals!
18) Take control. When I noticed the debt started dwindling, the car was paid off, and my emergency savings started to increase, I took notice of the new offers I obtained with transferring balances or taking out personal loans at 0%. I also became more savvy with investments and even switched to a HSA account. Know where your money is going to.
19) Gratitude. Be thankful for your life and what you own. There are those with less. When you appreciate what you have, you no longer have the need to search elsewhere.
20) Own it. I am frugal and I am proud of it. Being Frugal has taken me to new places in my life and I am forever thankful.
I hope this helps you out! As Dave Ramsey says: “Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.” Exactly how I feel!
… and for those who are curious about my current goals: To become a millionaire, save for a down payment for a home in San Francisco, and increase my net worth. Happy saving!
With Love and gratitude,
Your support is appreciated! If you would like to donate towards website maintenance, upgrades, and future endeavors, please click below!