March 15th

I’ve made huge strides this month.

My deeply regretted car loan is finally under $17k. I made some extra payments before I started the debt snowball that gave me a bit of a head start.

One of my student loans is under the $1k mark. I’ve never had a student loan reach that amount. I made a $502 Payment on it this month that kicked it to under $1k. This was incredibly exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier about such a small accomplishment. In comparison to what I still have to pay off, it really isn’t much, but I don’t care. It’s nice to see my student loans slowly fading away. I need to make some sort of ticker or counter that I can post at the beginning of each month.

So this is where I’m at now (roughly):

Debt Totals

I don’t know if I’ll be able to, but I’d like to pay off Student Loan 1 next month.

I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m really excited to see my progress over the next few months.

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My head is killing me.

I went out last night for my last, carefree spending moment for a while. I went out and had some drinks with my friend Kristina. I don’t see her as often as I should. I’m paying for it this morning. My head is killing me and I’m a little dizzy. I can’t drink like I’m 21 anymore. Mornings like this make me feel ancient.

So, today is the day. It’s March 1st. I’ve been counting down to this day for a week or so now. It’s the first day of my debt paydown. I’m really nervous about throwing a large amount of money at a bill, but I have to tell myself that it’s money I would have spent on frivolous things anyway.

The first debt I’m going to pay down is my smallest student loan. It’s comprised of 2 loans. One is from 2004 and the other from 2005 (!!!!!!!). I’ve been paying these loans since then, and the amount has stayed virtually the same since the beginning. For the last year or so, I’ve been making $100 payments instead of $70. I currently don’t have to make a payment until September.

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I’ll be attacking Group A first. If my math is right, I can pay down that full loan this month. I’ll be making my bulk payments at the end of the month just in case a big expense comes up. My job is completely commission based, so the fear of not having enough money is always there.

Money I should Have Paid My Student Loans With….

I’ve spent a lot of money on things. THINGS. This money should have gone to my student loans. I’m going to start taking some pictures of these THINGS on Instagram and cross-posting them here. Here’s the quote from my Instagram:

I’m starting a new series of pictures including things I purchased with money that should have gone to my student loans. #1 – Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. I can’t return you now, so every sandwich I make with you will now save me some money. Average Panera breakfast for me $7.01. Cost of breakfast sandwich and half a grapefruit – $1.75.

I work 6 days a week and take a one week vacation every 3 months. After federal holidays, I’m working about 288 days a year. I was spending an average of $7.01 at Panera on mornings that I worked. I go other places for breakfast, but I’d say the average was no less than about $6.00 a morning. At $6.00 I’m saving $4.25 a day. That comes out to about $1224 a year. That’s $1224 that can pay down my student loans.

Not all of these things will net a profit, but at least this one did.

Down On Debt

I never thought I’d feel trapped by my job. I love my career, but even the best career feels like a prison sentence when you HAVE to be there.

I moved to Austin, TX about 3 years ago. I’ve been in real estate for about 7 years. I went back to school around year 4 because my mom instilled in me a great fear of insecurity. She feared that the real estate bubble might soon burst in Texas, and I’d be left without a career. I figured my career at the time wasn’t much of a career, so why not?

I got my college degree in Psychology (how useful, I know), and shortly after, moved to Austin. I could have and should have done things way differently. Instead of living with my parents while I finished my degree, I got my own place. I had a lot of help, but even a lot of help wasn’t enough for a person who’d lived as freely as she wanted for 5 years.

Before my return to school, I only owed about $5,000 in student loans. I would give ANYTHING to go back to that amount. By the end of my degree, I’d racked up an additional $19,000 in student loans. But who cares, right? Student loan debt isn’t REAL debt. I would give ANYTHING to have never had that mindset and, again, I would give ANYTHING to go back to THAT amount.

When I moved to Austin, I looked for a job in marketing. I found a job with a company I hated and lasted there all of 4 months. I was lucky enough to have very little in the way of living expenses, so I figured why not return to real estate.

In Austin, you can find work as an apartment locator using your real estate license. I figured even if I didn’t make any money, at least I’d be doing something. It was only really a half truth. I knew I’d make money. I’ve always done well in this industry.

I started working and just a couple of months in I was doing well. I really loved what I did (let me make it clear again, I still love what I do). I got a place with my boyfriend and we were well on our way to having it all figured out.

About a year and a half in, shortly after a promotion, in the middle of the busy season, I went out and bought a car. I went in for an old car and walked out with a “used” car (2013, with only 1k in miles). Add on another $19,000 or so in debt.

Right after that I moved into a duplex that was $300 more than my old place. It also came with an electricity bill that was about $300 more than my old place as well.

Right around that time, the student loan payment on my biggest loan kicked in. When I made that first payment, it hit me. I was trapped. I was actually trapped. I’d pushed my debt out of my mind and pushed my spending to the very edge of sustainability.

I started reading up on debt and ran across the blog No More Harvard Debt. I was hooked. If this guy could pay down twice the debt with only a slightly higher salary, I could do it too.

So, I’m focusing on my student loan debt first. I want to pay off my student loan debt in 12 months. That’s roughly $2,000 a month. I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m going to try. I want to go back to loving my job and part of that is not feeling like I NEED my job.