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Debt

Making Sacrifices While Paying Off Debt

Making Sacrifices While Paying Off Debt

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Paying off debt can be a scary thing to start. I know for myself, I was terrified of my reality when I hit my financial breaking point during grad school.

6 figures of debt and a teaching salary scared the living you know what right outta me. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had dug myself such a massive hole and I had the absolute smallest shovel to get myself out with.

To this day I thank my grad school advisor for smacking some sense and reality into me when I was still in school and my loans were in deferment.

Without her, I would have been in a longer program, making less money in grad school, getting less scholarship money, making less as a teacher in NY, and paying for rent. The numbers literally didn’t add up and I most definitely would have been living on credit cards for my daily expenses.

Because of her, I made sacrifices so that I can build myself a much better future. I moved home after graduation to live rent free and get a higher salary in NJ. This allows me to reap the benefits of living in a high cost of living area (higher salary), while not paying the sky high rent in the area.

Sometimes you need an outside person to look at your situation and help you create a game plan. I didn’t think to actually create a fake budget at the time, I didn’t know anything about money back then. She got me to start being interested in personal finance and taking an active role to get out of debt ASAP.

If you’re someone that needs help with this, reach out! Find someone to help you. I’m always available to help and if you want something with more structure I have email coaching to help you.

The reality is that you’re going to have to make sacrifices while paying off debt, if you want to do it quickly. For me, I really enjoy my life now while paying off debt. Of course, I’m planning to move out shortly, but this journey has showed me what I truly value and enjoy. Most of which costs little to no money.

Here are some reasons why you should make sacrifices while paying off debt.

1. It can help you save money on high ticket expenses while you pay off debt.

The classic example is the money you spend on housing. This is always a high ticket expense in your budget and one that you should try to get as low as possible. By figuring out ways to lower your housing expenses, it will allow you to spend a little more in areas that may bring you more joy.

For example, by living at home with my parents I am making my housing expenses zero. This allows me to put a ton of money to debt, but also lets me still go to the gym, have a larger grocery budget, and occasionally go to happy hour or dinner with friends.

I’m not saying move back home with your parents. That’s not always realistic, but start thinking creatively about your housing situation. Can you get a roommate(s)? Can you find a smaller or cheaper apartment to rent? Recently, there have been people in the #debtfreecommunity on IG that are selling their houses to pay off their debt.

You need to figure out what you value and what you want to spend your money on. For me, the sacrifice of living with my parents is by far worth getting out of debt faster.

2. It can increase your income while you pay off debt.

I love a good side hustle and I think everyone should have multiple streams of income. It’s worth it to sacrifice a bit of time short term, for the long term gain of being debt free.

Currently, I work a lot of side hustles and it does take a decent amount of my time. Is it ideal? No, but I know it is temporary while I pay off my debt. Without a doubt, by working these side hustles it has brought my debt free date closer and there is no way I would have paid off as much as I have without them.

The great part about side hustles is that you have total control over them because they aren’t your main source of income. I always try out a side hustle and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then I figure out an exit strategy and stop that side hustle.

By making the short term sacrifice of working extra side jobs you will be able to increase your debt payments and ultimately save money in interest in the long run. Figure out what you can realistically manage and see how much you can make to move your debt free date closer.

3. It can create habits that you end up keeping.

When you’re paying off debt, of course you’re going to start doing things for the short term. At first they may be considered sacrifices, but I guarantee that you will eventually adopt some of these new things as habits.

For example, I know that I will always work multiple jobs. It’s just in my nature. I enjoy changing things up and doing different things. I think that’s why I like being a teacher, every day is always different. Eventually I won’t work as much, but I think I will always work extra jobs.

Also, at first my living arrangement was solely so that I could pay off debt. Now, I want to always make sure to live way below my means. This definitely means that I don’t plan on buying a big house, I enjoy small, minimal living now and I don’t plan on changing that.

The sacrifices at first that you create might just end up being habits that you create and end up enjoying. I am shocked by how much my life has changed since committing to paying off my debt. It’s amazing what you end up valuing in the long run when you have big goals.

Remember, the sacrifices you make are temporary.

Ultimately, the sacrifices you make are temporary and once you have reached your goal, you can change things again. What it comes down to is always having a goal you want to reach. This will help you to determine what you are willing to sacrifice.

If you want to reach your goal faster then going out to dinner, you may decide that night out isn’t worth it. The best part about personal finance is that it’s all up to you. You can do whatever you want and you need to decide if your goals are more important than certain things. What have you sacrificed to pay off debt?

Money Management

3 Things to Immediately Change Your Finances

3 Things to Immediately Change Your Finances

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my Disclosure Policy for more information.

There are a few things in personal finance that I feel will actually change your life. A budget, sinking funds, and an emergency fund, and I’m not being dramatic when I say this.

If you utilize these three things, you’re financial world will be better because of it. If you’ve been using these 3 things for awhile, then you know what I’m talking about. When I learned about these three things and implemented them, it was amazing how stress free my financial life became.

The reason why these 3 things make your finances so much less stressful is because it prepares you for expected and unexpected spending.

You no longer will need to stress about money because you will have money earmarked for most things that come up.

Here’s a breakdown of what these 3 things allow you to do with your finances.

1. A budget to change your finances.

A budget is going to help you manage your cash flow, the money coming in and out of your account. This also allows you to plan for expenses you know are coming in a specific month.

Personally, I use a zero based budget because it allows me to give a job to every single penny that comes into my account. By the end of the month, all income money has gone out to do something for me. This might be paying off debt, adding to my sinking funds, replenishing my emergency fund, or general monthly expenses.

There are tons of ways to budget, you need to find a system that works for you and start tracking the money you have coming in and going out. This won’t happen over night, but just by being more aware of what money you have coming in and out, you will see changes pretty quickly.

I encourage you to not put yourself on a strict budget, but to instead just track your expenses and see where your money is actually going. Once you see some of your trends, make a change in the place that makes you most annoyed.

For me, I was most annoyed at how much I was spending on convenient stops for food and drinks. It’s crazy how much it adds up. I challenged myself to not stop for convenience food anymore and this freed up a chunk of my cash flow every month.

Remember, you’re trying to create new habits when budgeting, don’t rush the process. Slowly take out expenses from your budget that you know you won’t miss. By creating new habits you will see long term results, rather than only quick wins.

I have created a Google sheet template for you to use in zero based budgeting that has all the math done for you and allows you to track your expenses, you can get it here.

2. Sinking funds to change your finances.

Sinking funds might just be my favorite part of budgeting, mostly because I love having the freedom of having cash earmarked for specific things that come up. Sinking funds are when you put aside a bit of money each month to save up for a specific purpose.

A classic example is Christmas, it comes every single year, so why not plan for it! In January, you give yourself a Christmas budget for presents of $600 (totally made up number). Then, you divide that number by however many months you have to save that. I’d want this to be fully funded by at least November, so I’d divide $600 by 11 and save $55 each month. Yes, I rounded up, I would rather have more money and an easy amount to take out each month!

The great part about this is if you don’t use the entire amount, you can roll it over to next years Christmas fund.

I personally use sinking funds for expenses that I don’t know about, but I know will come up. I currently always put aside money for my medical and car sinking funds. The reason I add to these two every single month is because I want to be prepared.

I’d hate to be in a position where I need to say no to anything health related for me because of finances. Same thing goes for my car. Some months, I don’t touch either account, other months I use them a ton!

Last month, I had a metal tool go into my tire that couldn’t be replaced. They told me it would be $120 for a new tire and I didn’t need to stress about it one bit because I had the cash sitting in my sinking fund.

This month I had to see an ENT, allergist and my orthodontist. All completely unexpected and totaling about $145 in copays. If it weren’t for my medical sinking fund, this would have had to come out of my debt pay off for the month. It’s not terrible, but it would slow down my progress.

3. An emergency fund to change your finances.

The last and possibly most important thing to do to change your finances is to have an emergency fund. This is for those times that you totally can’t plan for. Everyone has a different idea of an emergency, but because I have sinking funds, my idea of an emergency is more like job loss, or loss of one of my income streams.

Emergency funds are going to get you through those expenses that pop up completely unexpected, or in the event of income loss. There is a lot of talk on the Internet about what you should have saved for your emergency fund.

It ultimately comes down to what you are comfortable with. I suggest, at the very least to have one month of expenses saved up, and really this should only be if you have a very secure job, consistent pay, no kids, no house. Any other scenario, I would suggest 3-12 months of expenses saved up.

This allows you to weather most storms that come your way unexpectedly. When you don’t have enough in savings, it is setting you up for financial ruin in the event of something happening.

These 3 things will set you up for success.

By having these 3 things in place, you are setting yourself up for long term success. It might not look pretty in the beginning and you might feel overwhelmed, but give yourself time. This isn’t going to happen overnight, but you will see changes happening once you get started.

I encourage you to just start, start tracking your expenses and getting a budget set up. See where your money is going and start telling your money what to do instead. I know this can be difficult at first, it’s why I offer email coaching to help you get started and hold you accountable to getting things done. Send me an email, if you want to be added to my email coaching waitlist. Have you set yourself up for success by having these three things done?

Money Management

Why Your Finances Need to be Personal

Why Your Finances Need to be Personal

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my Disclosure Policy for more information.

I’m a huge advocate for personal finance. I think it should be a high school graduation requirement. I know that this currently is not happening in most high schools, but the reality is that it’s too important not to require it in our curriculums.

For most people, unless they are personally interested in personal finance, they won’t know how to manage their finances. This lands so many people in very scary financial situations, me being one of them.

When I graduated from high school I was under the impression that student loan debt was okay, it was good debt! I’d get a job post grad and have no problem paying them off.

The only issue was that I took out $200k for a teaching degree. There was no chance I’d be making enough to pay my minimums when I graduated AND support myself, it literally didn’t add up. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I got that massive first bill in the mail.

Lucky for me, I hit my financial breaking point in my first few weeks of grad school and was in a position to make some radical changes to help myself dig out of this massive hole I was in.

I started searching the Internet for all things personal finance. I was ready to create a plan and get myself on a budget. There are tons of people out there spouting out personal finance advice, me being one of them.

But I caution you to blindly follow anyone’s advice when it comes to your finances. And here’s why.

1. Your finances are unique to your situation.

The advice that is out there on finances is solid. It’s good advice and it’s always good to consider it when you are in a situation. But, you shouldn’t blindly follow any one piece of advice. You need to look at your personal situation and determine how you can apply it to your life.

For example, the classic one is the $1,000 emergency fund that Dave Ramsey has as his baby step 1. I agree with him that you shouldn’t have thousands and thousands of dollars sitting in an account, if you have thousands and thousands of high interest debt.

However, I don’t agree that this is a one size fits all situation. Personally, I did 1 month of expenses and then started tackling my debt, but I continue to contribute money to my sinking funds and emergency fund every single month. It’s not much, but it makes me feel better about my very long debt free journey.

2. Life is constantly changing and so should your finances.

If you blindly follow a plan and don’t adjust for what is happening in your life, you will end up right back to where you were. As your life changes and progresses, your finances should reflect that.

When I first graduated, my goal was to pay off my debt ASAP. I’ve paid a ton of debt off, $124k in about 3 and a half years to be exact. My budget has changed a lot since that point because now I’m planning to move out of my parents house.

I’m making sure that I’m prepared for this move by increasing a few of my sinking funds and my emergency fund. I’m still making extra debt payments, but I’m also making sure to fill my emergency fund and sinking funds in preparation.

3. Your long term goals are unique to you.

For me, my ultimate goal is to have financial freedom. To be able to work a job I love, not a job for a paycheck. This is important to me and so my budget reflects this. I continue to save and invest money every single month because I know being in my 20s means I have time on my side.

This doesn’t mean I’m sending a ton of money every month to these goals, but I am increasing them as I pay off my high interest debt. For me, once my high interest debt is gone, my money is working better for me in investments based on returns.

This is going to be different for you and what your long term goals are. The only way to reach those goals is if your budget today reflects small moves to get you there.

Take the time to learn about your finances to create a plan unique to you.

What it comes down to is taking the time to actually figure out your finances. If you don’t want to take the time, then you’re not going to see the results. Of course, you can utilize the plans that people share, I would just caution you to follow them blindly.

I encourage you to figure out a plan that works for your specific situation and goals. It’s a hard process, but it is so worth it in the end. I offer email coaching, if you need help getting yourself started, shoot me an email to join the waitlist. How do you make your finances personal?

Money Management

How to Prepare for a Job Change

How to Prepare for a Job Change

Lately, I have been really about finding work that you absolutely love. I have always loved teaching, since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. There was absolutely no question there.

Recently, I have found it more and more difficult to get myself to school. Not because of the kids or my actual job, but the environment that I have to work in everyday.

It’s not a good environment to be in and it definitely would be considered toxic. For awhile, I thought I didn’t like teaching because of it.

What I realized was that it wasn’t the teaching I didn’t enjoy, it was the unreal expectations that were being place on us as teachers in my current district.

I quickly realized that if I was going to find my passion again in education, I’d need to leave.

These are the steps that I am following now as I prepare to switch jobs.

1. Apply to all the jobs.

I’m at the point where I am applying to any job that remotely interests me. Of course, I have an idea of what I ideally want. I want to be a reading specialist, but if I can’t find that kind of job yet, that’s okay.

Anything that interests me, I have been submitting an application. LinkedIn makes it really easy to quickly apply to positions, so it really doesn’t take much time once you have your profile updated. I definitely recommend getting on there.

I suggest applying to jobs with any free time you have. It doesn’t hurt to just hop online and see what’s out there. I’ve been setting a timer on my job search because I can fall down the rabbit hole pretty easily.

2. Start saving money.

Changing jobs can be stressful and hard when it comes to your finances. A lot can change with a new job and there is too much uncertainty to not be prepared, especially when you know you want to do this.

I think it is so important to leave a toxic work environment. Finances can make this tricky, but if it’s something you really want to do, then prep for it!

For me, I am saving for the summer (no pay for teacher’s in the summer on 10 month contracts) and increasing my emergency fund. I would rather have cash just in case, then to be stuck in a situation where I need cash and don’t have it.

Even though I am still paying off my debt, it is super important to increase my savings to prepare for the changes ahead.

3. Decide if you are willing to relocate.

This is a huge decision when it comes to finding a new job. If you are happy where you are and don’t want to move, finding a job close to you is critical.

Depending on your field, that may be limiting your chances at finding a new job. For me, I can basically find a job anywhere being a teacher, it just might not be my ideal job.

By having the option to relocate, you are opening yourself up to a lot more opportunities, but a lot more things to potentially prepare for.

4. Find a side hustle, if you don’t have one already.

The reason I mention this is because if you are in a work environment that is toxic, this opens you up to be able to leave with some cash flow coming in still.

For me, I already have multiple side jobs, but I am figuring out how they will work when I move. The simple answer is, they won’t. All of my side jobs are at my current school and working with families in my area.

Once I move, I will lose all of them completely. Of course, I can find new families by my new house, but it takes time to build up a reputation in an area.

That’s why I am currently applying to side jobs I can start working now and can continue working once I move.

5. Start preparing your exit strategy.

Every job is different, but you need to make sure you leave your current job in good standing. I strongly believe in keeping connections everywhere you go because you never know when you will need them or run into them again.

I’ve noticed, especially with teaching, that you always find someone that knows someone, usually. It helps a lot when you have good relationships with people, if you ever happen to cross paths again.

If you can, frame it in a move to a different kind of position. I have shared with my supervisor that I am looking for a new job as a reading specialist, something that I can’t do in my current district.

Because of this, she is very supportive of me and furthering my career. She thinks that this is a great next step in my career and she knows that this isn’t something I can do in my current job.

You need to do what is best for you.

I found it hard at first to think about getting a new job. Then I remembered that this job will find a replacement for me as soon as I go. You need to have a job that brings you joy and encourages you to continue to build your skills and learn new ones.

Once it no longer does those things, it’s time to go. Of course, we’re adults, we need to pay our bills, but that’s why we prepare for this and why I encourage side jobs so much. They can always carry us between jobs! So, how have you prepared for a job change?

Saving Money

How to Never Eat Out Again!

How to Never Eat Out Again!

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my Disclosure Policy for more information.

So, never eating out again. That’s a major statement, but the reality is that this is a HUGE way to cut expenses. Getting take out is probably one of your biggest expenses, if you aren’t on a budget.

I know for myself, when I first tracked my spending I was amazed by how much I spent on eating out and grabbing coffee. I was a full time grad student and working full time. My life was crazy chaotic and I’d stop to get coffee/lunch/dinner between classes and my jobs.

I was in survival mode, but the reality was that I didn’t need to be. Once I tracked my expenses, I made sure that I stopped getting take out and coffee as a convenience, I would to connect with friends and family though.

And now, almost 5 years later, I still very rarely eat out and get coffee. I will go to happy hour occasionally with my friends from work, or grab dinner with friends to catch up, but that spending on eating out, I am okay with it. It isn’t for convenience, but for being social and reconnecting with people, that’s important.

For me, in 2014, I would go to Chipotle at least once a week, if not more. Now, a Chipotle opened around the corner from me about 6 months ago and I have yet to step foot in it. That’s some serious progress, friends.

So, here are my tips to never eat out again, for strictly convenience at least 🙂

1. Track your expenses and see just how much you spend eating out.

This is what gave me the reality check I needed. I was bleeding money when I didn’t need to be. It was unreal how much money I was throwing away for convenience.

A lot of times we don’t realize just how much we are spending unless we track our expenses. Those few dinners or lunches out really do add up over the course of a month. Do you know how much you’re spending when you eat out? Definitely a lot more than if you ate at home.

If you subscribe to my email list, you will get a PDF to use to track your expenses, or you can purchase my Google sheets templates.

2. Meal plan for the week, so you don’t eat out.

For me, this is very easy. I meal plan for just myself, so it is very simple for me to meal plan, but I know many families that meal plan every week. For me, I make sure I have 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners for the work week.

By meal planning, it allows me to save money at the grocery store and I know I’m going to eat the food I’m buying. For the weekends, I usually go figure something out at the house. I typically have something in the pantry or freezer I can make real quick. When I notice my stock pile is shrinking, I will restock it.

Meal planning is very simple for me because I can eat the same thing everyday and not get sick of it. But, I suggest making things that can be changed slightly to change the flavor. For example, I’ll make chicken burrito bowls, then eat them as burritos, and then eat it as nachos.

Making those very simple changes does change the flavor a bit and for me is more than enough for me to continue eating it.

3. Meal prep for the week.

This is key. All the planning in the world at the grocery store won’t help you on Wednesday night when you had the day from absolute hell and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. Prepare yourself for your crazy week and prep your meals!

I personally cook on Sunday for the week. It is just what works well for my schedule currently. I make my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the entire week. During the week, this allows me to quickly pack my lunch for the next day and then throw my dinner in the microwave.

This makes it super convenient when I’m sometimes at my most exhausted, at night after working all day.

If eating out is for convenience, make it so eating at home is convenient.

What it comes down to is that eating out is for convenience. If this is the case, you need to make a change so that eating at home is even more convenient. It’s super easy to grab take out on your way home, but it’s even more convenient to heat up a meal you already have made, and probably a lot healthier. Set yourself up for success during your work week and meal prep when you have some free time. You’ll thank yourself when you get to just heat something up during the week. How do you stop yourself from eating out for convenience? 

Money Management

Why the Public Library Should Be Your Best Friend

Why the Public Library Should Be Your Best Friend

I only rediscovered my library in the last year or so and I am so happy that I did. Prior to that, I always bought my books or relied on the Internet for my information.

I’m not sure where it started that I only bought my books, but it really doesn’t make sense to buy books the first time you read them. Of course, if you want to support the author, that’s a totally different story.

If you’re like me, I typically don’t read books more than once. If I do, it’s usually because it was a book that offers advice, information, strategies, or personal development. Most of my books sit on their shelves and gather dust after I read them the first time.

If you’re someone that loves to read books over and over again and loves having shelves of books, then absolutely go for it!! Whatever brings you joy and makes your heart sing. You do you, girl!

But, I know that’s just not me. And I am so glad I wandered back into my public library for this reason.

1. Obviously, you save money by using the library.

This one is pretty obvious. You get access to your library by living in your town and paying taxes. Take advantage of it! My library even tells me how much money I saved by borrowing the books instead of buying them, I love that!

The convenience is awesome, too. I can go online and place a book on hold and pick it up when it’s ready. Super easy!

Plus, there are SO many apps now that allow you to listen to audiobooks, or ebooks right on your device at home. You don’t even need to step foot in the library and it’s on your device. It doesn’t get much easier than that, and it’s free.

Yes, you might have to wait a bit for the book that you want to read, but we’re adults, right? We can wait for something we want.

2. Everything goes back to the library.

I recently got into decluttering and binged the Marie Kondo series on Netflix in one weekend. There is nothing I love more than a good declutter. I have a pretty extravagant plan for a declutter over my upcoming spring break. I know, super wild and crazy, right?

This is about the time where I realized that stories, learning, information, and reading, bring me so much joy, but the actual books, do not. This is the wonderful thing about the library, the books go back once they have served their joy bringing purpose for me.

Of course, some books do bring me joy and I hate seeing them go back to the library, which brings me to my next point.

3. You can test drive a new book before purchasing.

There are some books that I do buy. The books that I will purchase are ones that I know I will reference back to again. These usually are books that have a lot of information in them and I want to make sure I take the time to actually implement the information.

Recently, I borrowed the 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss and I absolutely loved it. As soon as I finished it, I bought a copy. I wasn’t reading it to fully implement the material this time. It was just for me to see if it had the information I’ve been looking for, and it totally did!

Now, I know my purchase is worthwhile because I have already read the book and know I will reference back to the book in the future.

4. Tons of free entrance places and events.

My library always has something going on. They are even bringing WOLVES to the library, like come on. That’s just so cool. But, in all honesty they have a ton of informational events that are always happening. It’s awesome to have access to so much information all for paying your taxes.

A lot of libraries also have partnership with local places for free or discounted admission to events. My library advertises them all the time. It’s great to just get on their email list so you can maybe get to experience something new you normally wouldn’t have!

Libraries are wonderful resources to use to continue learning.

What it really comes down to is that it’s important to continue learning and libraries offer a great way of doing that. It can open up new opportunities or new hobbies you never knew you would be interested in. And let’s be real, you’re paying for the library, so you might as well use it! How often do you use your library?

Debt

Debt Free Update: $124,378 Paid Off!

Debt Free Update_ $124,378 Paid Off!

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my Disclosure Policy for more information.

I feel crazy typing this, but now that I’ve been on this journey for roughly 3 and a half years, I feel so close to being debt free, even though I have $76,718 left. Maybe that isn’t crazy, but I know I’m no where close to being done, it just seems so much more manageable.

I remember when I hit my financial breaking point and absolutely freaking out about just affording my minimum payment on my teaching salary. Now I’m at the point where it’s no longer a stress in my life.

Of course, I still have about $1,100 as a minimum payment every month, but that’s a lot less than the $2,000 it was when I started. My monthly minimum payment would be $1,000 now, if I didn’t refinance.

Yes, I took about a $100 increase in minimum payment, sounds crazy right? But, this allowed me to get an interest rate of 4.97% instead of 7.05%, totally worth it in the long run.

Refinancing isn’t for anyone, but for me and my student loans, it was something I had been working to do for years. I am so happy to have a lower interest rate because so much more of my payment goes to the principal now. If you are considering refinancing your student loans, check out my post that outlines some questions to ask yourself before doing it!

Debt Free Update: Private Loans

I hate all of my student loans, but especially my private loans. I especially hated them when I had my old provider. I will say, I don’t hate them as much since I refinanced them with Earnest back in September 2018. They are awesome to deal with, listen to feedback and actually make the changes, and I am finally seeing actually movement in my pay off of them.

In September 2018, I refinanced $45k of my student loans, which was all of my private student loans. Now, I have $23,981 in private loans, I’ve paid off $21k in 7 months, just in my private student loans! This never would have been possible, if I didn’t refinance my loans, because I was paying so much in interest every month. If you are considering refinancing your student loans, you can use my referral link to get you $200 when you refinance!

Things are very up in the air for the second half of the year for me, my plan is to pay my private loans off by the end of the year. This goal will change depending on how things pan out after June.

Debt Free Update: Federal Loans

My federal loans are still on income driven repayment. I just renewed it and my payment is going up $50 to $300. This is actually a good thing because my loans accrue about that much in interest every month.

While focusing on my private loans, I have been paying the minimums on my federal loans, but making an extra payment every month to make sure the interest is paid off every month. The reason I do this is because I don’t want the unpaid interest to be added to the principal, making the loan increase. This will require me to pay even more in interest and even more in the long run.

This is why it is so important to understand these programs and stop making blind student loan payments. Your payment may be as small as $0 every month, which means your principal is going to increase on your loans. So, yes your loan is in good standing, but you are increasing your principal every single month!

My loan amount doesn’t really change much on my federal loans for now, I’m basically just paying off my interest every month. Right now my federal loans are $52,736. These are broken down in many smaller loans. Once I pay off my private loan, I plan to pay off my federal loans by avalanching the smaller loans based on their interest rate.

Debt Free Plan

I have been going very hard at my goal to pay off this debt as fast as possible. I’ve increased my income, moved back home with my parents, and cut my spending down. Currently, my debt free date is May 2021, which is incredible! It’s amazing what consistent choices over and over can do.

I’m not sure where my debt free journey will go by the end of the year. I have plans to move out, maybe get a new job, I’m okay to slow down my journey a bit to move out of my parents house. I have paid off so much debt, way more than I ever thought would be possible at 26 years old, that I’m okay with it all.

Right now, if I continue with my current plan, I will have just turned 29 when becoming debt free. My goal has always been to have my student loans paid off by my 30th birthday. Right now, I have a nice buffer of time on my side and I feel really good about where I am at with my finances. How is your debt free journey going?