How we Paid off $65,000 in Student Loans under 3 Years

Yes! You read that right! My husband and I paid off $65,000 in my student loans in under 3 years and we’ve been debt-free and building our savings ever since! I realized recently that I haven’t taken the time to write out exactly how we did this and I’d love to put it out there on the internet in hopes that it helps SOMEONE.

To start off, let’s rewind.

I graduated college with a Psychology degree in 2012. I chose to attend a very expensive private University in Southern California, hence the $65,000. Before I graduated, the Lord provided and set me up with a full-time position as a Resident Director at Grand Canyon University. This type of role typically requires a Master’s Degree, so when they offered me the position- I said YES before they could change their minds! While I worked at GCU, I worked towards my Masters in Psychology and had it completely paid for as a benefit to being a full-time employee of the University (Still so so thankful for this). I walked across the stage with that degree in May of 2014.

While I was working on my Masters and working full-time, I was chugging along at paying my debt because Jeff and I were still dating and I was the only person putting money towards my loans. Knowing we would be getting engaged in the near future, I wanted to get that number as low as possible. Now I can’t give you a definitive number because I don’t remember exactly, but in the two years I was working on the debt on my own, I put about $30,000 towards it. When Jeff and I got married in October of 2014, we hit the ground RUNNING. The following 6 months are still a blur. By April, we were debt-free having paid off the rest of the debt ($35,000) in just 6 months.

For those of you still following, I should clarify- Jeff proposed in August of 2013 and I relocated to California with a new job offer in July of 2014. We did long-distance until we were back in the same state and he moved in with me after the wedding.

HOW DID WE DO IT?

Okay, okay! So now you know details on timeline and jobs and engagement and all the things, but HOW did we put THAT MUCH towards debt? I got one word for you, sister! SACRIFICE.

I’ve never eaten more rice and beans in a season (nor do I ever want to again) than I did then. I’m not kidding! RICE AND BEANS. Sometimes, we would have crockpot chicken when the chicken was on sale in the frozen section and pour a can of salsa in. I also never want to eat that again! Not only were meals cheap (We spent $40 week/groceries), but entertainment was cheap, too! By entertainment, I mean we used Jeff’s parent’s login for Amazon Prime to watch movies and that was a “movie night!” We rarely went out and when we did it was probably because someone gave us a gift card.

How I live now? Yeah, that’s not how I lived when we were paying off debt. We lived on my paycheck and put every cent of Jeff’s paycheck toward debt. It was fast! 6 months sounds QUICK and it is (in hindsight) but the days DRAGGED ON. Comparison would creep in, self-doubt resonated with me, and I constantly felt burdened by the debt I had welcomed into our marriage. I felt guilty beyond belief. None of these things are from the Lord, BY THE WAY!

So, if you’re in a season chugging along, struggling with comparison, racing towards the finish line, and trying to cut out expenses- KEEP IT UP. Your hard work will pay off. Literally. I don’t regret a single thing we gave up in that short season. I knew we would sacrifice a lot in a short amount of time, or we could sacrifice a little for a long time. I chose the first option (personally, I think that’s best because interest rates suck!)