My student loans weighed most heavily on me when I started this blog in 2010. I found the snowball approach in March of 2013. In 3 short years, I am 6 months away from being completely debt free.
In those 3 short years, I have paid a little over $77K.
In 6 months that will climb to a total of $91k.
That makes a total of $113k in payments since graduation in 2009.
Almost exactly 7 years to the day of payments.
Boy am I glad that my student loan journey will be done in 7 years versus 25 to 30! What a burden that would be to carry around for more than triple the amount of time that I did. I understand, not everyone went as bananas as I did. Not everyone threw every penny they had at their loans.
I will be 100% honest, while I was busy concentrating on paying off my loans, I was indeed worried about what my peers were getting to do with their extra money since they were just paying their monthly minimum. Here are a list of things I thought my peers would get to have that I do not because of my decision to pay off my debt:
- Roth IRA
- Fully stocked emergency fund
- Up-to-date wardrobe
- New car with all the modern features
- A house that they own
That’s a pretty adult looking list seeing as I, as well as my friends, are all 25-30 years old. But you know what reality is for them? It is not quite the set life I thought they were getting to live while I was slaving away. The majority of them do not have a Roth IRA, a fully stocked emergency fund, or house that they own. They do however have a semi up-to-date wardrobe, and for the most part, the majority of them have new cars. But you know what is a reality about that statement? They already want new clothes as well as a new car! They simply got to have little pleasures here and there that I didn’t, and I am 100% okay with that because it paid off for me in a massive way.
I say this not to knock my friends AT ALL. I say this because I was so concerned with what I thought I was missing out on that I let the envy drive me a little crazy at times, and I don’t want that same thinking to happen to you! Do I wish I would have started a Roth IRA at 16 years old? Hell yes. But I will be so grateful looking back when I am 50 that I started my Roth at 29 years old. Better a little late than never.
Yes, there are sacrifices in this debt-payoff game, but I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself for sticking to it and getting it all paid-off. It is a route no one around me was taking. Now I am 6 months out and am truly happy with the decision I made back in 2013. I am so glad I did this. Those 4 years of concentrated payments will change the next 20 to 25 years of my life.
If you’re reading this, and you too are on a debt-free journey, I hope you will learn from me not to be too hard on yourself; because before you know it, your journey will come to a close, and it will all have been worth it. Keep your head up, your thoughts fixed on your own finances, and the big picture in mind. Go bananas. Get it gone!