I’ve noticed there’s one thing I haven’t really written about since I started this blog and that’s getting out of debt. Well, I’m happy to say I’m no longer in debt and have been debt-free for almost two years. On top of that, I managed to pay off my student loan in less than a year after graduation (9 months to be precise).
Now, before you scoff or start to feel like sh** because you’ve got a $50,000 student loan currently kicking you in the junk every paycheque, let’s get a few things straight. I’m no wunderkid, I do not come from a rich family, and I am not a lady of the night. I had a fairly small student loan of $5,000, so it wasn’t a crazy amount of debt, but I did work my a** off to pay my own tuition throughout university, and worked my a** off to pay down my down afterwards.
But, I will level with you. Right after finishing school, I wasn’t at all concerned about paying off my student loan. Everyone I knew had way bigger loans to pay off than I had, plus there was a 6 month grace period which I wanted to take full advantage of. Looking back, I really wish I hadn’t deferred it for those 6 months because I probably could have payed it off in half the time. Oh well, live and learn.
So, about a month after graduating, I got this great contract job that paid approximately a bagillion dollars. Well, not really, but I remember finding out my pay and I almost peed myself. Hey, I had been working for minimum wage for over 5 years before that, so you would almost pee too if you were in my shoes! The excitement of my new found wealth did not die down anytime soon either because I ended up blowing through 70% of my earnings in just 4 months. On what you ask? I have no flipping clue! I had no expenses besides a $40 phone bill and a $120 transit pass, and I definitely wasn’t keeping receipts.
But I’ll tell you what, as soon as the stench of unemployment set in, with no option of getting Employment Insurance (I didn’t qualify because I didn’t work long enough at my contract job), that’s when I started getting really interested in learning how to manage my money. I started reading finance books, I switched banks to pay less fees somewhere else, I set up automatic payments for the few bills I had through my credit card, and I came up with a budget and deadline to pay off my student loan by. Besides setting this goal for myself (and I do not back down from a challenge, so I knew it would work), the knowledge that once my debt was paid off I could move out of my parents place before my 24th birthday was a pretty big reason why failure was not an option.
So, how did I pay off my student loan in less than a year? I created a budget, I set a goal for myself, I started educating myself on personal finance, and I just f***ing scrimped and saved until I hit that magic money number. I swear, the day I was able to pay off my student loan in full was one of the proudest moments of my life, and for any of you still working on paying off your debt, believe me, you can do it if you just keep to it. I believe in you!
What is your debt story?
-Mo’ Houses out!
(Image: Jack Duval/flickr)