This is a post that I have been ITCHING to write for months now! Once I realized that we would likely not be traveling anywhere for the remainder of 2020, I focused all of my energy into how I can pay off my student loans quickly, and in less than one year. I HATE debt and having anything outstanding, so this was a really important task for me. In this post, I’m going to share How I Paid Off $30,000 in 10 Months and what steps I took to achieve this!
I do want to preface this by saying I have a full-time job and a profitable side hustle, so that really helped with this process. I don’t want to lie to you and say “oh I just cut out all fast food and coffee” because that’s not what happened! I worked really hard, grew my side hustle, and put most of that money towards my debt. I did also use saving tactics as well though!
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Debt Repayment Chart
One of the main reasons I wanted to pay off all of my debt this year was because most of the student loan companies paused interest + payments since we’re living through a pandemic. I knew this would be my chance to not rack up even more money, and to also pay them off with a deadline that I had set in my mind. My goal from the beginning was to pay off all of my debt in less than 12 months, and I have now been able to achieve that!
Below is a chart of how much money I paid towards my loans over the past 10 months. You’ll see that for some months, I put more towards my debt than others! Honestly, as long as I made one payment a month, I was happy with myself. You can see the breakdown below, and the fact that I paid $6,000 off the bat. I did this because I wanted to get rid of all the interest I’d accrued while in school so I could actually start paying on the principal!
My Financial Situation
I wanted to start by briefly explaining my financial situation because I know everyone’s is not like mine. I do have a full-time career as well as a monetized side hustle. I started monetizing my blog about two years ago now (I didn’t want to work part-time in retail anymore LOLZ) and this has really helped with my debt repayment! Wanna start a blog for your side hustle? Read about how (here).
Almost every dollar I’ve made from blogging this year I have put towards my loan payments! At the start of the year/during the beginning of the pandemic, I always made sure to save enough for one loan payment from my work paychecks. Blog campaigns are hit or miss, so to cover myself in case work didn’t come in, this was my plan of action! Once we hit June, everything picked up a bit so I didn’t worry as much about using this tactic.
Debt Repayment/Money Saving Tips
I wanted to also give some debt repayment tips! Some of these you’ve probably heard before, but these are small steps I took to save money and make sure I wasn’t spending money where I didn’t want to! This was honestly pretty easy since I couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything for three months. My biggest cut backs were on ordering Postmates because I refused to leave my apartment from March – May. Below are all the tips to start with:
- Check to make sure you aren’t paying for any random subscriptions! I used the Truebill app to do this.
- Cutting back on my Starbucks runs! Now, this isn’t going to save you thousands of dollars, but even a couple hundred a month will help pay off the interest.
- Delete those food delivery apps! My biggest issue is being too lazy to cook after work. It’s also so easy to just get food delivered. Delete the apps so you aren’t tempted to order food!
- Set up your bank account to save automatically. Whenever I spend money from my checking account, some automatically goes into my savings! Even a couple dollars here and there adds up. I’ve been able to add $1,000 to savings this year just by doing that!
- Start saving small! Telling yourself to save a huge chunk of money every paycheck will just overwhelm you! Start with $20, then move on to $100, and if you can go even higher, slowly work your way up!
- Use your tax refund to pay off debt. Since I basically am a freelancer with my side hustle, I end up paying taxes now. That said, if you just have a regular full-time job, put your tax refund towards your debt!
- Use the “24-hour” rule! If you really want to purchase something that isn’t an essential, make yourself wait 24 hours before purchasing. Chances are you’ll forget about it and/or not want it anymore!
- Unsubscribe from marketing emails. I know my biggest spending issue is getting emails with “70% OFF CLEARANCE” (I’m looking at you J.Crew Factory) because I will immediately open it. Avoiding the temptation of spending and shopping will help in the long run!
- Sell your old clothes and use only that money to buy new ones! There was a time where I did this and it honestly felt good to not spend additional money on clothes. Some great places to sell clothes are Poshmark (an app), Uptown Cheapskate, and Plato’s Closet!
- Turn your A/C up during the day (in the summertime). I can’t do this now because I’m working from home (Thanks, COVID), but when I worked in an office I did! Keeping your apartment a little warmer when you aren’t there, and turning it down at night, will save money in the long run!
These are 10 ways that I have found have made it easier to save and pay off my student loan debt! I also have a post that will give you 20 more ways to save money which you can read (here). I understand that not everyone has the same budget, and that not all of these tips are realistic! My goal here is to tell you what has worked for me, and/or give you some new tips you might not have known previously!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! I honestly focused all my spare time, energy, and money paying off my debt because I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. This year mentally was hard, but not being able to go anywhere and also not having interest made this a lot easier to do. I hope the tips in this post will help you pay off your debt too!
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Photos by Hannah Lozano