March 29th started off just like any other Tuesday. I anticipated that it would be a regular, uneventful day that you would expect a suburban working wife to have. I went through my daily routine on autopilot when I unexpectedly saw received some pretty great news in the form of electronic messages from the Department of Education.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen… Paid In Full! Sweetest acronym ever. I have paid off 2 of my 4 student loans. 10 months after finishing graduate school, and over $18,000 later, I am 40% closer to eliminating my debt, 1 step closer to financial independence and much less stressed about the state of my finances. No, this is not a typo. We have buckled down and aggressively paid off the loans at an average of $1,800 per month, well over the initial monthly payments of $400. That took a significant amount of discipline, tough choices, coupon clipping, and blessings, in the form of full-time employment for both people. It is not easy but it is oh so rewarding. In the long-term, it is also very financially beneficial. I have saved myself more money in interest than I can even keep track of right now.
This approach is not for the faint of heat. Do you know how many new shoes and purses I could have bought with an extra $1,400/month? My poor husband wants a drone that he has not been able to get. I’ve had my eye on this lovely spring jacket that I think I would look fabulous in. But when you’re accruing interest at 5.2% daily, it is nothing short of irresponsibility to spend money on anything that does not reduce that debt.
The government said they would give me 10 years to pay it off. Like the true rebel that I am, I laugh in the face of such foolish suggestions. I have no interest in being an indentured servant to the DOE until 2025. I have wealth to build, retirement to save for, and kids that I want to birth and spoil. I cannot achieve these goals if $4,000 of my hard earned money goes to paying a debt that has a higher interest rate than my mortgage.
So where does that leave us? As of right now, before making the April payment, I have a balance of $26,500. I give myself one year, not a minute longer, to crush that balance to zero. I look forward to getting 2 more letters by April of 2017 notifying me that I am free to max out my Roth IRA and reward myself with the Burberry coat that’s been haunting my dreams.