I’m debt free. Thanks to Financial Peace University, some great accountability partners, discipline and faith, I bought back my freedom.
Til Debt Do Us Part
My undergraduate career was a gift and a curse. Although, I had amazing amenities, my
first year hurt my wallet. I had to take out a pretty heft loan to
afford tuition.(How can you resist this?)Go High Point (Yes, that is a jacuzzi and pool outside of our student center. One of 5)
One day during my first semester, my mom called and said “Unless you get a scholarship, you might have to come back home.” My heart dropped, there was no bone in my body that wanted to go home, so that week I walked into my AFROTC detachment commander’s office and said, “Sir, I don’t want to go home. I need a scholarship.” So he sat down and talked about our
options. A few months later, I was awarded a 3.5 year scholarship.
Every semester thereafter, I always ended up short with my scholarship. Therefore, I had
to make up the difference with loans and other outside scholarships. Fast
forward 6 years and 2 degrees and 1 certificate later. I graduated undergrad
with $37,000 in debt that I wasn’t paying off.. (Oops) Thankfully, my Master’s was free (woohoo)
Enough was Enough
Once I began my career, I decided to get my act together. I was finally making good and stable money and I hated debt. I wanted to purchase a home and didn’t want mountains of student loan debt and a mortgage. So I buckled down and started paying off the loans. This proved
to be inconsistent as my loans were in deferment which did not require me to
have to pay them back (FAIL). So I consolidated my federal loans (amounting
to $12,000) and started paying them off, chunks at a time. I would put
$1,000 to my total then another $3,000 until I could afford the rest. Once
that was paid off, I had my whopping $25,000 Chase Private Student Loan I
had taken out my freshman year. Talk about overwhelming. I then refinanced
the loan to get a lower interest rate 4% lower than what Chase was offering.
Per Dave’s advice, I dropped my savings down to $1000 (brutal – but I had money leftover in both savings and my investment accounts) and then I
paid off the rest of my student loan yesterday! I paid $17000 off (what was
left over since taking out the loan last April). This money came from
savings and investment accounts. I was nervous. However, that is
where faith comes in. God has allowed me to go this far and I have come this
far by faith.
The Next Baby Step
Dave’s next step is to save 3-6 months’ worth of expenses to your
emergency savings. Under my old system, it would have taken me about 10 months to accomplish this task. Now with no more student loan payments, I can do this within 2-3 months.
During this journey, I have found myself more in control of my finances than ever. I am learning that I don’t need everything and I can live off of the necessities. Mostly everything in my house is from a garage sale/Craigslist or was a gift. I try to upcycle as many things as possible or sell old junk. I am a DIYer as well. I am glad, I am not tied to my debt. I am glad I bout back my freedom.
If you need the Baby Steps please go to Dave’s 7 Baby Steps for more info..
A ton of people have inspired me along the way.
The Paleo Mama – Thank you for her post using Dave Ramsey’s Advice.
Also thanks to my cyber friend Natalie of The Frugalista, I read her book about 3 years and decided enough was enough. I am so glad these two and other people have inspired me to keep pushing.
Are you on the road to buying back your financial freedom? What did you do to accomplish it? How are you staying debt free?
Thoughts: On social media and just in general we are so quiet about finances, yet we gawk at the rich and famous. God tells us to be the lender and not the borrower, but yet we can’t discuss these subjects that impact virtually everyone. I hope my story is comforting to know that you are not alone and it’s ok. As long as we can work together and move forward.
There will be more tips and updates on my progress.