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I am blown away that I am hitting my 5 year anniversary on this journey. In June 2014, I was in my first semester of graduate school and my father called me. He received a bill for my undergraduate private student loans at the house.

The bill was for $1,400.

I couldn’t believe it. How did I take out that much in private student loans for my undergrad degree in teaching?! And then continue to get my masters in early childhood education! I immediately panicked at the situation I had put myself in.

I had a meeting with my grad school advisor and she was the smack of reality I absolutely needed. She showed me salary expectations for the following year and explained that I would not be able to afford my student loans and the cost of living.

In that meeting, I changed my program to a shorter one, I applied to a new job that would be higher pay and provide course credits, applied for more scholarship money, and decided I would be moving back home post grad.

In 2015, I graduated from grad school, I moved back home, started teaching 5th grade, and started my debt free journey in November. At that time, my plan was for a 10 year journey. Here I am, 5 years later and $10k left!!!

Life changes this year

This year has been one of major changes. I completed my first year at my new private school as the building reading specialist. Through the year, I gained some tutoring clients in my new town I was living in.

Ultimately I lost some of them when the pandemic hit. I still can’t believe that as a teacher I was working from home teaching my classes from March to June. It wasn’t perfect, but I have to say, my school did an incredible job with distance learning. I taught each of my classes every day over zoom and we didn’t have too much disruption.

In May, I ended my relationship and due to the pandemic, moved back into my parent’s house with my dog. It’s been a huge adjustment, but it is working out for now.

Currently, I am working so many side jobs that I absolutely love, including tutoring and instructional design work. Since September, I have been teaching full time in person and have students at home on Zoom.

Total paid off this year

This number is truly incredible. This year I have paid off $44,314. There was a lot that went into this massive payoff. For one, I worked a lot of side jobs and found ways to make more money. I tutored, worked summer school, worked an after school program, and freelanced. Increasing my income has truly changed my entire debt free journey over the last 5 years.

I also cut my expenses where I didn’t value the spending. It’s so important to be intentional with your spending and make sure it aligns to your long term goals.

When I moved back home with my parents in May, it also helped my progress a lot. I no longer had an $800 rent payment every month to pay for. I never imagined any of this year to happen, but I am so grateful with how it all panned out.

Also, I took advantage of refinancing my private student loans for a third time back in March. Refinancing for a lower interest rate saved me so much money over the years. My private loans when I first refinanced had an interest rate of 7% and I got it down to 4%. You can use my referral link to get $200 when you refinance your loans!

Current debt totals

Currently, I have $10,939 left on my student loans as of November 1, 2020. It’s incredible to think that just 5 years ago I had a plan to pay off my debt in 8 years. I never thought I’d be able to shorten this journey by so much.

If I had followed my borrowers plans for me, I’d be debt free at 42 years old and have thrown away so much more in interest charges. I’m so thankful to have had the reality check and was forced to learn about managing my money at such a young age.

Plan for year 6


I will be paying off my student loans in December 2020. I can’t wait!!!

Once my loans are paid off, I will be funneling all of my additional money to a house fund. I have been waiting years to get into real estate and I plan to make the jump!

My plan is to purchase a duplex or triplex, live in one unit and rent out the other units. I’m currently starting to search for houses and I am so excited to begin this process!

I want to hear about all of your successes, let’s celebrate down in the comments!