Ready to hear a student loan success story? We often hear all the horror stories about student loan debt, but sometimes there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I had the pleasure of interviewing a woman who has done what we all dream of doing: paying off the student loans! This will be the first of hopefully many interviews involving a student loan success story.
Let me introduce the first student loan success story on Surviving Student Loans: Chonce
Chonce is a freelance writer who is obsessed with frugality and is passionate about helping others to increase their savings, eliminate debt, and work towards financial stability.
A Student Loan Success Story:
When did you graduate and with what level degree?
I graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism
How much did you initially borrow?
How long did it take you to pay off your student loans? (If you took the full time, why? If you took less time, what motivated you?)
Just under 3 years. I started out with about $30k of debt I wanted to eliminate when I graduated college ($9,000 car loan and $21,000 student loans).
I wanted to have more control over my money and what I spent it on and wanted more freedom for myself and my family so that’s what motivated me.
Was there a big difference in the initial amount borrowed and what you paid overall? If so, by how much?
Not really but interest did add up and capitalize during the grace period so it was a few extra hundred.
Paying off the Loans
Did you make any sacrifices while paying off your student loans? If so, was it worth it?
Yes, but not I don’t really see them as huge sacrifices because I’m happy and content with living a frugal lifestyle but I cut a ton of expenses at first.
I commuted to work and kept living in my college town after finding a job after graduation to save money on rent and I also got rid of cable, negotiated better rates for car insurance, stopped buying new clothes for my son and I, and started cooking more at home and dining out less.
I also just prioritized debt payoff over most things. Two of my car door handles broke two years ago and I put off fixing them until I paid off my debt. I also gave up international travel but that’s more of a luxury and not a huge sacrifice.
What was your biggest struggle? How did you overcome it?
My biggest struggle was getting back on track when my journey would change or I’d hit a bump in the road. I’m very Type A and love planning everything but life is always unexpected.
I planned on paying off my debt much sooner but something always came up. My plans slightly changed but overall, I knew I wanted to become debt free.
Throughout these past 3 years, I had an expensive surgery, got married and paid for the wedding in cash with my husband, quit my stable job to become a full-time blogger and freelancer, and just dealt with normal setbacks like being unmotivated or facing a big expense that caused me to not pay off as much debt for the month as I planned.
At the start of every week/month, I got right back on track and remembered the core reason why I was doing all this and used it to fuel me.
At the end of the day, the budget fails and huge random expenses I encountered didn’t really derail me from meeting my goal in a major way.
What advice would you give to those currently paying down their student loans?
Change your mindset first to believe you can do it. Find out your core reason for wanting to become debt free and use it to motivate you.
Break your goal down into attainable chunks and develop a solid plan you can stick to come hell or high water.
There’s no secret sauce, but there is a special formula you can use. Focus on lowering your expenses, find ways to make extra money, and commit to making extra debt payments each month until you eliminate your balance.
If you would like to know more about Chonce, she chronicles her journey with balancing motherhood, work, and finances on her blog My Debt Epiphany.
- Get your student loans organized (you can get my free printable here)
- Chone didn’t have much student loan interest but you might. Make sure to check.
- Create a plan to attack your debt
- Break it down into manageable steps including creating a budget
- Understand that setbacks happen and try to get back on track
Do you have a lot of student loan debt or have you successfully paid it off? I would love to hear from you! Share your student loan debt or student loan success story below.
Get The Organization Printable!
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