Friday, July 19, 2013

Knocking Out Our Student Loans One at a Time

My parents definitely raised me right in that they provided me with $200 in a checking account when I was only 13 years old. Dad handed me my checkbook and taught me how to balance my account when I made small purchases. My brother and I always worked hard around the house and while we didn't earn an allowance, we did receive the occasional treats or new shirt. Aside from shopping trips with my mom and grandma, I later realized that I didn't need lots of things to be happy. Hence my adventures in to minimalism!

Once I started to care about our student loan debt, everything changed. I was so proud and excited to bring up the fact that were attacking this debt with all the extra money we could muster each month. We used to balance our budget and see where we needed to cut back, but overall I've been really focusing on whittling the amount down so that we can turn our attention to other adventures in life. Some people don't seem to understand why we're doing this, and I do hear a random remark every once in a while.

However, we're more focused now than ever before. I realized that by paying back as much as we possibly can each month, we'll be hitting our goal by Spring 2014. This is only less than a year away, and I can see the light at the end of the debt tunnel. It's slowly getting brighter with each payment, and I can't wait to have a celebration once we reach zero. By then, we'll have an automatic $1,200 freed up for savings, planning for our family, buying a new [read: very used] car for me, and probably even think about taking a trip.

A while back, we knocked out the third loan out of seven. I was beyond excited to see that balance at $0 for the loan. So excited, in fact, that I proudly posted it on Facebook. My mom was slightly concerned that I was showing my debt to Facebook, but I don't care! I hope it helps others see that it can be done on a small income, with dedication and discipline. I'm way beyond caring what anyone else thinks of me. (Anyone remember when I announced that I was going vegan?) As a blogger in a public space, I can only hope that people read my story and are inspired in some way by a part of my life and how I'm living.

I challenge any of you out there with debt to take hold of it, throw as much money at it as you can, and get rid of it. There's so many other things I need to focus on besides the slow agony of paying back student loan debt over a span of 10 or 20 years. I always thought that is just the way it was, but after realizing I didn't have to keep that debt hanging over my head, my attitude towards debt has changed. I don't know if we'll ever buy a house or property, but I do know I will have much more freedom once I no longer owe money to FedLoan Servicing.

Three loans down, four to go!

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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