So it’s been about a month since B and I became debt free by paying off $166,000 in student loans. I still can’t believe we are debt free! And it’s crazy to think that we actually did it! Here is some encouragement for all of you in the thick of it. All of you busting your butts to become debt free!
When we were in the middle of payments and it seemed like the struggle would never end, people encouraged me that it would be worth it. I honestly did not know if that was true. Looking around, I saw a ton of my peers in their mid 20’s buying new cars, having babies, buying houses, etc. In my mind, I couldn’t believe they were able to do all of that! So many people in their mid 20’s were traveling to exotic places and spending money like they didn’t have a care in the world. What was I missing? What was I doing wrong?
My first thought was, “Well they must not have student loans. They must have paid cash for college or gotten a lot of scholarships.” This is partly true of some people. Power to those who paid their way through school to end up with no debt! You are my heroes. However, my husband told me that my theory couldn’t be true. These people had to be in debt somehow. There was no way all of them were living debt free lives! Either they had credit card debt or they just weren’t paying on their student loans.
The truth is, most millennials are not paying one cent on their student loans. B was right. See this article for the numbers. I won’t bore you with the staggering amount of unpaid student loans on here. However, it’s true. The truth of the matter is, many of our peers in their mid 20’s have not paid anything on their student loan debt. And then, they are making it worse for themselves by using the adult salary from their new adult jobs to get even more in debt. Millennials are buying things on credit cards and getting into credit card debt. They are buying new cars and have car payments (which is debt.) They are buying houses they can’t afford. It definitely isn’t the kind of lifestyle that is sustainable for the long-term.
I honestly couldn’t believe it was true. Could people really not be paying back their loans? But it is true. And I totally understand there are many reasons for not paying them off. If you want 4 reasons why you should pay off debt, see this blog post. However, it makes me really nervous for those people who are just digging a deeper hole for themselves. I know most of us are trying to get out of this hole that we found ourselves in. So here is some encouragement.
B and I got serious and decided we did not want to live in bondage to debt. So we read Dave Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover. We started a budget and stuck with it no matter what. Get a free budget sample here! We learned about the debt snowball, and how to use cash and the envelope system. We went to work, and it was HARD. But, here is my encouragement…..
BE DEBT FREE! IT’S WORTH IT!
Like I said before, I didn’t want to believe everyone who told me it would be worth it. It was such hard work and took a lot of self-discipline and sacrifice. However, I believe we have changed the course of our lives for the better by becoming debt free. We found out that it is possible to live on 40% of our income and use 60% to pay off loans. We learned how to be frugal and save money on everyday products. So now, we can still live on about 50% of our income and save 50% for whatever comes next. Buying a house now seems possible. A down-payment isn’t an impossible number to reach anymore. We were able to save money and buy a new-to-us car for cash! That means no car payment!
Because we have become debt free, we are able to do whatever we want with the money we take home. We are no longer in bondage. The loan companies no longer have any hold over us or our money. And let me tell you, that is a great feeling! I had no idea how stressed I was about our debt until it was gone. The amount of relief I felt when I realized we had no more payments shocked me. I had been so stressed! Being in debt is stressful. And I finally realized how much stress it causes us, our marriage and all of our relationships when we are worried about money.
So allow me to encourage you. It’s worth it, I promise. Imagine what you could do if you actually kept all the money you take home every paycheck. What would you do with all that extra? Buy a car? Maybe buy a house? Go on an awesome vacation? Be generous? So let’s work toward that goal! Get a budget and stick with it. Save every penny and pay down those loans. If we can do it, you totally can! Let’s get debt free!
If you need any advice or have questions, let me know in the comments!