Skip to main content

21 Months Later, My Student Loan Is GONE

(Originally posted on The $76K Project on 1/18/2019)

Today was a big day.

Today I paid off the last $3500 on my student loan. The student loan I’ve been carting around since 2003

Yes, this loan has been in my life for almost 16 freaking years. If it were my child, it would be a teenager practicing for its driving test.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t planning to pay it off. I was going to wait until I was a week or two into my new job so that I could be certain of my next paycheck. But you know how sometimes you get a wild hair? That’s how it's been with this loan for the last month or so. I just need it out of my life. I need to delete it as a budget line item so that we can turn our attention to other things, like our remaining medical bills and Fortysomething’s loan.

To cover it, I took the money out of our emergency fund. The e-fund isn’t empty - there’s still a cushion there - but I’d be lying if I said that the lower balance doesn’t make me nervous. I’m a worrier and fully expect that something could go wrong at any moment.

Nevertheless, this debt needs to go. There’s never going to be a perfect time to get rid of it. Today simply seemed like the day, and although the decision was more emotional than practical, it is done.

We have now been at this debt repayment thing for 21 months. In that time we have paid off:

  • our car loan (paid off in October 2017)
  • a credit card (paid off in July 2017)
  • a second credit card (paid off in February 2018)
  • a third credit card (paid off in July 2018)
  • and now the student loan!

Total paid off so far: $39,000

It's worth noting that although we’ve made sacrifices throughout our debt repayment journey, there are also plenty of things we haven’t sacrificed. We’ve gone on some (affordable) vacations, eaten at overpriced restaurants, purchased Christmas and birthday presents, and paid for activities for our child. We live in a rental that takes up approximately 1/3 of our income (sigh). We exceed our grocery budget almost every month.

Could we be managing our money better? Could we be living on less? Undoubtedly yes, but even with our imperfect approach, we’re still making strides. I attribute our progress in large part to livable wages and our budget, but I think persistence plays a bigger role than any other factor.

For us, persistence is the real key. 

The crazy thing is that after all this time we’re still only halfway there. We have $38K to go - more than that, if you count our medical bills and no-longer-a-secret campground membership.

On the other hand, we are halfway there. We’ve eliminated half of our debt in less than two years. These debts are gone from our lives forever.

And that feels fucking phenomenal.


Popular posts from this blog

So After Five Years, THIS Happened:

Something big happened earlier in October and I wanted to share it here, especially for those who've stuck around since the summer of 2017 when we started this journey : That right there is our student loan balance. Let's take a closer look: And please note that it is now ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOO. (Okay, actually -$1.02, and Mohela says they will be sending us a refund check for that amount. Whatever will we DO with our newfound fortune) That's right. The student loan that has clung to us like an ultra-persistent leech for the past 20 years is gone. What's more, we are finally, FINALLY [[[Drum rolllllllllllll]]] DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Here's a graph of our debt payoff in the context of big life events such as medical emergencies, job changes (including my Big Quit back in April 2019 ), and a global pandemic. The x-axis represents month/year (with June and December shown). The y-axis represents total debt in thousands of dollars: Five years, people! FIVE! That's a

June Wasn't A Good Month.

The mountain vacation I'd been planning and looking forward to for months and months was a total bust. The hotel -- which has received rave reviews in the past -- turned out to be a dump with paper-thin walls, a broken mirror, holes in the ceiling, and dead bugs in random places. The forest was closed due to fire restrictions, so we couldn't hike; even if it had been open, it rained the entire time.  We came home three days early. The hotel refunded $250 of the $1400 we paid when we reserved our suite. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that we threw >$1K down the drain. I went to see my doctor, whom I have known for more than five years, about irregular bleeding that was freaking me out. She spoke with me for 30 seconds and then dumped me on her trainee, a dude who looked to be approximately 25 years old. He asked me some questions about my period and then ordered some blood tests; this would have been okay (albeit better as a telehealth visit) except that neither

Work: Caring Less Until They Let Me Care More

I've been at my current company for more than 1.5 years. It's a record for me. In the past, I've lasted a year on average before calling it quits for one reason or another (documented extensively in my posts tagged as "work"). My current job isn't exactly a passion of mine. I took it because it was the only thing I could get at the end of 2020, when the job market was still in pretty rough shape thanks to the pandemic. It's dull. Most of the time I feel like Helly in the show  Severance  as she slouches at her computer and drops numbers into bins for eight hours a day for reasons unbeknownst to anyone but the powers that be.  I made it through my first year at my company as an underpaid customer service rep mostly because I had a supportive boss and collaborative teammates. Last December, after a frustrating negotiation in which it was made clear to me that I am a mere cog in the giant company wheel, I was promoted to a new (but still tedious) role with a