A year ago I put a decision into action, that action being paying off my student loans. Although I graduated in 2011, I wasn’t in a place where I could pay off my student loans and do well with it (plus I was contemplating going for my masters, glad I didn’t). I enrolled as a part-time student and worked three part-time jobs. A year after graduation, I was able to quit all three and began working as a full time teacher. The following Spring, I was finally settled (in my current apartment) and in a good place, so I finished off my classes, let go of the idea of pursuing my masters and prepared to start paying my student loans off. This was last November (2013).
One Year Later
Fast forward to a year later and I just finished my last student loan payment for the year. Sometimes it has been very draining, but I went in knowing that the first year would be the hardest. Some of it was trial and error, but I’ve found what works best for me in terms of when to pay and how often. Paying extra every month and making extra payments here and there have made a big difference. When I total what I started off with, I’m happy to say that I’ve paid off over $9000. It may not seem like much to some, but considering I’m a teacher and bought a new car paid in full this year, I think that’s pretty good. Two loans were paid off this year and I plan on paying off another small one in the next few months. It’s going down!
I’ve always been frugal and my student loan debt is the only mistake I can really fault myself on. I’ve done an excellent job tracking everything (I have the really organized binders and records to prove it) and I’ve been mindful of ways I can save money. In the coming year, I plan on searching for a better car insurance company (well, cheaper than my current one and one who doesn’t LIE) and finding more small ways to save.
I’ve also done a pretty good job of finding ways to earn extra money (side hustling). Websites like bubblews, perktv, swagbucks and mypoints have helped me get things without spending money out of pocket or gone directly to my student loans. I’ve also had a stellar online selling year, though this month things have capped off. I was bringing in $100-300 a month, which isn’t too bad. I’ll get an automatic raise in six months and maybe other promotions to increase my salary.
Where do I hope to be in a year as far as finances go?
- Find more side hustles (I have a goal to earn $2000 extra next year, I met that this year!)
- Pay off $10,000 or more on my student loans
- Get a raise, promotion or a better paying position
- Build up by savings
- Contribute more to retirement
I’ll have my goal update for November up by the end of the week. I haven’t done too bad this month, but I need to book it on some goals to finish everything!