My debt journey is probably not the most inspiring. I didn’t have gazelle intensity, and it took me 10 years to pay off $50,000. So what exactly happened?
The recession struck in 2008, which was a year after I graduated college. I wasn’t fortunate to have parents finance my education so I graduated with $20,000 in student loans. In my first year out of school, I paid off $6,000. However, because of the recession, my hours at work got reduced to 24 hours a week, which then led to minimum student loan repayment stretching out to about two and a half years.
Then life happened again, and I got engaged.
Rather than paying down debt, I started saving for my wedding. Because when you’re young and only 25, planning for a wedding is more exciting then anything else. And in the midst of wedding planning, I also moved to a new apartment which was 30 miles away from my job at the time. My 10 year old car was also approaching its 200,000 mileage marker, so I did what any reasonable millennial would do and bought a new car.
When I totaled everything up, it was shocking to see how much debt I had to pay. It was $50,000 comprising of student loans, a new car payment, credit cards, dental debt, and a timeshare loan. It definitely lit a fire from under me because my first year of marriage was devoted to debt reduction. I went from being $50,000 in the hole to $36,000. Then by the second year I was just above $27,000, and then $17,000 by the third year. By the fourth year, my husband and I got burnt out so I still had $11,000 left to pay. Eventually I paid off my car one year earlier than the 5 year loan term that I had, and what remained left was the timeshare loan. With such a high interest rate on the timeshare loan and because frugal fatigue had set in, I didn’t pay the timeshare off until 2 years later.
It is a sigh of relief. It feels good being debt free and not shackled to anymore payments. I am so much happier, less stressed out, and now willing to take on more risks with my career and the next chapters of life.