I did it, I am finally debt free. I am super excited! I used my travel and emergency savings to pay off the debt. My vacation in Spain is now postponed until next year. It sucks that I can’t travel this year but at least I get to save up. I paid off $48,000 of student loan debt in 2 years and a half. Paying this debt wasn’t easy at all. First, I want to thank my mother and my brother for encouraging me to continue to make large payments.
Three years ago, I hated my life. I drove 5.5 hours to commute to work because I couldn’t afford to move closer. I started paying my student loans at a salary of 38k and lived at my mother’s house. I wished I could’ve lived on my own but I couldn’t afford it. Not with a 38k salary in California. I made the decision to commute and pay rent at my mother’s house. I did this for 2 years. I used a lot of coupons, meal prep on weekends and exercised every day including weekends to avoid spending money. Back then, I used to exercise at the Gold’s Gym and paid $40 dollars per month. It was worth it because they have a sauna, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, weights, and a cardio theater room. There was no need for me to spend money on weekends. The gym helped me worry less about my student loans too. A year later, my knees began to hurt as soon as I got home from the long commute. The daily visit at the gym was highly needed. I cried every day while driving back home because my entire body felt pain. I was hungry and tired from waking up every day at 4 am to avoid traffic and arrived home after 7 pm. I refused to stop during my commute because traffic in the 405 and 10 Fwy was horrible. I was at the gym by 8:15 pm and got home at 10:30 pm. This was my life and I accepted it. My mother, stepfather, brother, and boyfriend kept telling me to keep looking. Why? They noticed I got too comfortable.
Sometimes you need to stop worrying and have faith to get to the place you ultimately want to be. Patience for me was very hard especially when I saw myself going nowhere. Seeing my friends buying a car, going on vacations, eating out at fancy restaurants, buying expensive makeups, Michael Kors handbags, new clothes, jewelry, a new car, getting into a relationship, marriage, having children, buying a house was the things I too wanted to have. I refused to give up and didn’t want to continue to live the way I was living. I wanted to have these things but I didn’t want to be in so much debt. So I sucked it up and kept making large payments.
A year later, something terrible happened to me on my previous job at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Instead of getting a promotion and retro pay, I somehow ended up owing the government 3.5K debt. I refused to pay for a mistake the Payroll Department team created but I was forced to pay it all. The money was taken out of my paycheck by almost at 40%. I got so angry and wish to no longer be comfortable. So I kept my head high and updated my resume. I kept looking and waited for the precise moment to submit my resume and transfer. I kept waiting and waiting. Why? Because I was searching for a career, not just any job. It was a matter of when and how long it would take. While I waited and researched all the job announcements posted on USA Jobs, I took the opportunity to perfect my federal resume.
Nine months later, I saw an opportunity and got hired at NASA. This was a rare opportunity and my mother and brother convinced me to accept it. There was a problem, I needed to relocate and had less than 4 weeks to find a place to live. It was my brother who helped me find a 2 bedroom apartment for less than 600 dollars. I got lucky! Extremely lucky! A few months later, I decided to rent the 2nd bedroom for six months to a student which helped me add more payments towards my debt.
Currently, I have no cable, no brand makeup, have less than 6 pairs of shoes, no car payment, and no credit card debt. I no longer pay for a gym membership. I exercise at the Air Force gym for free. This helps me pay for the internet service. In fact, I have no laptop. Mine failed in 2014. My brother gave his old computer but it doesn’t work. I’ve been blogging using my boyfriend’s laptop while he is completing his technical school at the Air Force. It’s true that I’ve been living frugally. To live frugally, have patience, and faith has prepared me for success and ultimately live debt free.