how i paid my loans off way before they were due

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on friday october 7th 2016 I became DEBT FREE! it feels so good to have my student loans completely paid off and way before they were due. there is such freedom that comes with being debt free so I wanted to share how I was able to do it. it wasn’t easy and it took a lot of sacrifice but if I can do it you can too!

the first thing you need to do is:

set up a budget

the first step in managing your money is knowing where your money is going. i started my first budget during my internship with Cru. {a ministry on my college campus} because i was being supported financially by ministry partners, i wanted to be sure i was being a good steward of my money. it was also the first time i had an “adult” job so I had a full time salary to navigate. your budget can be as simple or complex as you choose. the point is to be aware how much money is coming in as well as where you are spending it. this will help you not spend more than you make and be able to SAVE! there are some cool apps you can download that have been helpful to friends of ours however, I prefer to use a good ol’notebook and pen. {if you have any questions about what my budget looks like feel free to ask. I love talking about it!}

meal plan

meal planning saved us a ton on our grocery bill. this helped us to buy what we needed for the week and saved us from wasting expired food. i have heard of so many families that have pantries busting at the seams and deep freezers that are full and yet they still are buying! i try to be creative and use any leftover ingredients for the next weeks meals. this also helped us not be tempted to go out to eat because we had meals planned out for each day. {don’t get me wrong, we did go out to eat on occasion. but it was just less often than we normally did} it takes some effort but it is worth it!

pay more than the minimum

the minimum payment puts you on a timeline to pay off your loans in 10 years. 10 YEARS. that is a very long time, in my opinion, to be “a slave to your lender.” {proverbes 22:7} this concept varies slightly depending on your situation.

|a| when i started my budget i didn’t have very much in my savings account. i felt like i needed to build up my savings a little bit to have a cushion. i decided to budget a percentage of my income to go into my savings account and at the end of the month whatever i had leftover after my budget I used to make a loan payment. these weren’t huge payments, but i was making progress

|b| after i felt i had a good cushion in my bank account, {the amount is totally up to you. a lot of people suggest saving 3 months of expenses} i stopped budgeting for savings and used everything left after my budget to make a loan payment.

set {realistic} goals for yourself

when we first got married we had no idea what our budget was going to look like. we decided to set the goal of paying off my loans by the time Andrew finished grad school. {3 years} at that time, it seemed like a lofty goal! however, we crushed it and finished paying my loans earlier! as time went on and we saw the progress we were making we tweaked our goals. we decided we could set the goal of paying off my federal loans by the end of 2015. we almost made that goal but ended up finishing those in february 2016. then we set the goal to finish paying off my private loan by the end of 2016 and finished in october!

I hope these tips can help you experience financial freedom and become debt free. if you have any questions about Andrew and my journey don’t hesitate to ask!

XO Lo

*now of course Andrew is still a student so this is not the end of our debt journey. but having my loans paid in full is a huge accomplishment that needs to be celebrated! this also puts us in an awesome place to be able to tackle his loans when he is done with school.*

 

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