Ding! Dong! My Loans are DEAD!
Today is momentous in the H household, people. MONUMENTAL! Such a big day! Why?
BECAUSE I PAID OFF ALL OF MY STUDENT LOANS!
For reals! For reals for reals! I am so excited and proud of us that I just can’t stand it. Sure, there will be a huge chunk of money missing from my bank account for quite a while, but we’ll save up again. After all, that’s how we ended up at this momentous day.
It started way back when in the “in between” year I still lived with my parents. Being your typical middle class family, I was told that we were “too rich” to pay for college, but in reality we were “too poor.” Now, I am not going to pretend that I grew up in a poor living situation. Were there times we worried about money? Oh yeah, but we were far from wondering if we would be able to eat the next day. We were blessed that way. But with college, it wasn’t within my parents’ means to pay for my tuition. They provided for me in other ways, like food and car maintenance, and I worked two jobs. During undergrad, I was lucky enough to receive a lot of scholarships, and I only ended up with about $10,000 in federal loans. No parent loans, no private loans. For a school that cost around $15,000 a year (thank goodness for state school prices), that was pretty tame.
Then I went to grad school. This time, my parents weren’t asked to contribute anything because I was “an adult.” (Umm… yeah… we’ll just go with that story…) Grad school was MEGA expensive, around $56,000 for one year. ONE YEAR. Seriously, I don’t quite think one year could be worth that, but going to grad school isn’t quite like dickering at a yard sale. Again, I was blessed with some scholarships and scored two excellent jobs, one of which supplied me with free housing for two semesters. Since I only had to go to school for a summer, fall, and spring calendar year, I only needed to take out a federal loan for $20,500, the maximum the feds will give you.
So I lived with my parents for the year before B and I got married. And it worked. While my dad will go on and on about how he feels bad that they weren’t “able to help me out with paying for college,” I don’t see it that way; they helped me out a lot. By living with my parents rent free, I paid off my undergrad loans in a year and a half (I started during grad school with some of my stipend money). Now that B and I are married, we came up with some magical way of living on one paycheck. How do we make it work since I am a teacher and B works in a small credit union? With a lot of cutting back and budgeting. We make food that lasts for four dinners, we pack lunches, I order free things from the internet, and I thrift. Oh, and bargain hunt. Lots of bargain hunting.
With that one paycheck paying everyday expenses, we can save the other one. With saving the other one, we just left the money alone. We couldn’t look at it as “Oh hey, we need some awwwweeessssooommmeeee new toys and trips. Let’s spend it!” And, as money slowly makes it crawl into higher levels, we plan. We have specific goals that we must hit before we act on plans. For us, our account needed to get to a comfortable amount that we could take the rest of my loans out without going completely broke. There is no way I would let our accounts be drained. Totally uncomfortable with that. So when we got to that level, with my paycheck last week, we knew it was time.
I put the check, the biggest check I have ever written, in the mailbox today. I wrote a note to the Department of Education and put it in the envelope:
To Whom It May Concern;
Enclosed you will find the payoff amount for account number XXXXXXXXXX-X. Thanks for the help with school, and now, thanks for being DONE!
Enjoy the note, mail opener. It’s the last you will hear from this lady!
So here is to tomorrow; may all of you find this little slice of heaven too! I’M DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE!
Oh… yeah… there are B’s still… which are way bigger than mine were…. but whatever. I’M DONE!
If you have any questions about how we did it, leave me some comment love! I am more than willing to answer any and all questions about getting on the track for being a little more debt free.