Isn’t crazy to think about all that happens in a year? This time last year I was getting ready to move into my new apartment, I had just started working at my side hustle, I had 3 student loans paid off and had been driving a paid off car for over a month. But, I still had $28,673.32 in debt.
I have thought about this day so, so, so many times, and it’s finally here! This morning at 7:10 a.m. I scheduled my FINAL student loan payment. In my past couple payment day posts I talked about how I would still have a small balance after I made my payment today, but I was able to make it happen. I paid off all my student loans. I am now 100% debt free! (And I was able to accomplish my goal 5 months and 16 days before the original end date I set for myself.)
Right before jmr left for work this morning I logged into Navient and just sat there staring at the computer screen. He asked if I was going to schedule the payment, and I told him I needed a few moments to gather my thoughts and process everything. It took me another 10 minutes to schedule the payment. With one click and a payment of $1,501.41 I became 100% debt free!! I’ve been pinching myself all morning.
After I scheduled my payment, I called jmr to let him know and to share my excitement with him. I then got off the phone with him, and my morning really proceeded as normal. I spent way too long lying in bed taking Snapchats of my cat, Chip, who was having a real attitude problem this morning, got ready for work, made my lunch and coffee and ran out the door late, as per usual. I don’t know why, but when I pictured this day I thought it would look a little different, like I would feel different. But really I am just the same person as yesterday – just a little bit happier and now debt free.
There was no parade, or confetti, or flower peddles laid at my feet as I walked to my car. Dave Ramsey didn’t pop out to have me do a “debt free scream.” It was just me, smiling like a fool all the way to the office. When I got to work my boss asked I got some sun. I said “no, why, do I look red?” He said “no, you look, I don’t know, like glowing.” Maybe I am. I am so beyond proud of myself.
In 14 months I paid off $31,803.85 (interest paid included) in student loans, which is an amazing accomplishment, but my journey really started in July 2015 when I set out to pay off my SUV (pre-blog). I accomplished that goal in 6 months and then started on my student loans in January 2016. I can proudly say I have paid off $40,103.60 in 20 months.
So what’s next? I guess from here on out my focus will be on saving – saving for our wedding, for an emergency fund, for retirement, for a house and all the other things in life that cost money.
While I’m sure unforeseen expenses will come up in the future, I want to be as prepared as possible. That is one HUGE reason I wanted to become debt free. I want to make things easier for my future self. For example, I’m 26 years old. It will be literally decades before retirement for me. And that’s exactly why it matters. Sixty-five-year-old Jessica is still Jessica. What I do today affects me in 40 years. I want to be comfortable in my golden years, and saving today helps to ensure that. And since I am now debt free (and so is jmr), we have the ability to take our time and plan out our next big purchase or savings goal, because none of our money is going towards debt.
If I can teach you anything or you have gotten any value from reading this blog, it’s that paying off your debt now is the stepping stone to have the life you want. I read a quote a while ago that said, “the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, the second best time is today.” I’ve applied that quote to multiple aspects in my life over the past year. I could have started paying off my debt when I graduated college, or even when I was in college, or when I got $10,000 from an automobile accident I was in, but I didn’t and that’s okay because I made the decision to start one sunny summer day and I never looked back.
A year ago looked very different, and a year from now can look different for you too. A year ago I owed $28,673.32 in student loans, a year before that I had $39,263.95 in debt and didn’t think about it once. The best time to start is today. Every drop contributes to a puddle whether it’s raining hard or not. Never give up.
Now is now.
Until next time…
Current Progress: 13 loans paid off, debt balance $0