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No more student loans

Discussion in 'Personal Finance' started by T0rm3nted, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. T0rm3nted

    T0rm3nted Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Just wanted to post some encouragement to anybody who is in college or just getting out. My wife and I just finished paying off our student loans at the end of 2016. So a little back story to tell you all how I got here, so maybe you can relate and see that there are ways to get it done.

    My wife and I are both 28 years old. We graduated college in 2011. We got married in October 2012. I have a computer science degree, she is a registered nurse in an ER. So yes, we both have two full-time "college degree" incomes, which does help, but it's doable either way.

    We used the "snowball" method of paying down our loans, taking the smallest one first and making much larger payments on it until it's done. Then using that payment to add to the next smallest payment as well. Dave Ramsey teaches about this method if anybody is having trouble paying off multiple loans/debt that you have.

    I came out of college with $25K debt, my wife had $40K debt. We rented a higher end duplex in the area and were fairly loose with our money. We'd eat out a lot, buy stuff when we wanted it, etc. We were not pinching pennies, but we weren't EXCESSIVELY spending money either. In the 4.5 years it took us to pay off our loans, we also bought a 2011 Hyundai Elantra (gross) for the wife a few years ago (paid off), and I just got a brand new Jeep Cherokee in September 2016 (financed the whole thing so we could finish paying off our loans). We will be adding those student loan payments that are now gone to pay the Jeep off and then we will have no debt (continuing the snowball). We also bought a house in August 2015 and only put 5% down. It's a very nice house for the area, probably top 20%ish of the cost of houses in this area. Obviously we have MUCH larger payments than most. We also live in IL which has extremely high real estate tax rates compared to most of the country, so that payment is pretty large.

    Just be responsible and make larger payments when you can. When you pay one off, don't look at that as extra disposable income, but add that payment to the next smallest loan amount to get that one paid off really quick.

    I mention all this because I just wanted to show people it can be done. Everyone talks about how hard it is to pay off student loans, it's all over the media and was talked about a lot in the presidential debates. I mentioned all of the above simply to show people that while my wife and I have two good paying jobs which makes it easier, we also spent more than most do in terms of monthly payments, so it kind of works itself out to those who have lower paying jobs and live in cheaper apartments, or smaller houses. I'm not trying to brag, but to show you that it can be done, you can pay off your student loans and become debt free.

    It was important for us to get out of debt (mostly) before we had a kid, which is due in April. My wife will be taking 3 months off unpaid so we'll be down to one income, and then she'll be going back half the time she used to be working, so it's a good thing our loans were paid off.
    JerryM and Austin vanderweide like this.
  2. Austin vanderweide

    Jul 7, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Congrats!!! As a college student this is reassuring!
    T0rm3nted likes this.
  3. StockJock-e

    StockJock-e Brew Master
    Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Nicely done!


    I know I took my sweet ass time paying off my loans, it took longer than needed, but felt soooo good when it was done!
    T0rm3nted likes this.
  4. Jrich

    Jrich Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Snowballs are great when they roll down hill like they're spose to... Some people don't know this, but those damn snowballs can roll uphill too!

    I like how your story ends with the kiddo.. Ours begins there.... And congrats btw!

    I didn't go to college, but my wife did.. When we first met she had just graduated with a degree in surgical technology and just started her first job in the field

    The snowball started forming when she blew the engine in her car and couldn't make it to work, she was new so they just let her go.... I made the snowball bigger when I knocked her up..... Well we must have spread baby fever, cause her brother and sister had kids back to back (not together) after ours... My wife agreed to babysit temporarily since she was already home with our kid.. Temporarily turned into 3 years

    When you chose to work in an ever changing field like medicine, if you miss a step it's nearly impossible to get back on track... In those 3 years, her training became outdated and basically worthless... So now we owed over 30k for a degree she couldn't even use... And snowballs accrue interest while they're rolling too... Eventually she went back to work, but not in surgery

    12 years later, the snowball finally reached the top of the hill.... Beginning of last year we bought a house, but it took some "out of the box thinking" to make it happen..... "WE" did not qualify for FHA financing... But "I" did.... So naturally, we did what any other loving couple would do.... We filed for divorceo_O

    It worked.. We love the new house.. She's happy, I'm happy... But that was the final straw... She decided to buckle down and put 100% of her paychecks toward the smallest loans ..... She's smarter than me, so I supported the decision, and we made it through all of 2016 on my back alone... And that worked too, in one year she closed out all the smaller loans and only has one big loan left, which she already has a reasonable payment plan set up for.... She is officially out of default!..... And now there's that whole "re-marriage" thing to consider

    I like you story better @T0rm3nted .. A smart young couple with priorities in line!... But for all the others who may not have followed the right path (me).. If you can't see light at the end of the tunnel, just keep crawling, could be right around the next turn
    T0rm3nted likes this.

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