It's time to celebrate!!! We paid off my student loans on Monday and we're so excited! I'm so grateful for my husband encouraging me to pay them off. As weird as it sounds, I finally feel like I "own" my degrees!
Just a little background if you don't know me - I got my BBA in accounting from Baylor University and my MS in accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas. Thankfully I had scholarships help me pay for my first two years at Baylor and worked to pay my bills, but I took out student loans to help me with the rest of Baylor and graduate school at UTD. And Baylor isn't cheap...had I known how much it was going to cost me, I probably wouldn't have gone there. BUT the Lord has others plans so I don't regret going. I really did love it!
The full amount of time that it would have taken to pay off my student loans was 15 years. I've been out of college for 8 years and was only able to make the minimum payment for most of those years. At times, the minimum payment was the same amount as most people's rent so I'm sure glad to be done with that.
I didn't do everything right when it came to paying them off, but here are some tips that helped us pay them off sooner:
1) Anytime you receive money that is not a part of your normal budget to pay bills, put it towards the loans! Examples - income tax refund, work bonus, selling stuff on Craigslist/Ebay, gifts, commission
2) If you can afford even just small amount more than the minimum payment each month, do it! It makes a big difference in the long run!
3) Cut back your food/entertainment budget so you can pay more on the student loans.
4) Do NOT get yourself into more debt. Only purchase what you can afford. I could argue either way on a mortgage, but I won't go there now.
5) Keep driving the car you have rather than buying a new one if it gets you from A to B. Don't get a car loan.
I hope those are helpful! Just remember that student loan debt will not be forgiven! They can garnish your wages if you don't pay, so don't think you can get away with forgetting about them. The longer it takes to pay them off, the more of that pesky little interest you will pay.
Now we're onto attacking the mortgage!! Woo hoo!!