Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Debt Free in 8 Months?

via Pinterest , from here
Recently The Oregonian featured a fascinating story about a "30ish couple" that was able to pay off their massive student loans ($69,000!) within 8 months. The couple wrote about their journey to being debt free on their blog called Beans & Rice, Rice & Beans. Their goal was to pay down the debt within a year, but their dedication led them to early accomplishment. Wow! As a current graduate student at a private school, this story grabbed my attention!

How awesome is that to be able to live debt free after 8 months of super hard work?! Talk about self-control, meticulous planning, learning about yourself, and determination.

This couple had some great advice I particularly liked these points:
-- Pay only in cash
-- Don't eat out at restaurants (yes, that is one easy trap for spending $)
-- Get smarter about planning meals (they say "maximum nutrition for minimum cost")

Based on interview with them, it sounds like it was a very positive experience overall. While they suggest to not go to restaurants, they learned how to manage outings with friends and stay in control of their budget. By no means was it easy, but it got them free from the chains of Sallie Mae.

I am not quite sure on the total loan amount that I will owe once completing school (this includes undergrad too). Most of my loan money is with the government and a smaller portion is a private loan. My hope is to have these loans paid off as quickly as possible. I am aware though, that educational debt is considered "good debt." It does help build credit, which shows you're a responsible loaner of money. However, like this couple, I don't like being bound to someone especially the government. I also hate the idea that loan money is accumulating interest, which is a barrier between me and the principal amount. ugh.

I may not be able to pay off my loans as quickly as they did, but their lifestyle is something that anyone can do. Living simply is a possibility that can be a challenging choice. When I have more income, I can save more. I can learn how to plan nutritious meals and make them with low-cost ingredients. I can be smart with restaurants (I am already pretty good at this-- I eat by the price most times!). And all kinds of things!

Living simply, as I have been learning, means to live creatively. As one great quote says, "Live simply so that others may simply live." When we're free of the burdens than weigh us down, we can give so much to those around us-- emotionally, physically, and financially. I think that's beautiful.

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