Congratulations! Here’s your diploma… and your loan re-payment schedule!
I went to college at NDSU (Go Bison!) Each semester I'd prance into the financial aid office, sign on the dotted line, and go about my day. When I graduated, I didn't have a clue how much I owed in student loans. That's how easy it was to go massively into debt.
I spent the first year out of school making minimum payments. The total per month was $410.75 which didn't affect me too much in the grand scheme of things, but when I sat down and totaled up what I owed, my jaw hit the floor! It would take forever to get out of debt at that rate!
Dave Ramsey Lit a Fire
It was 10 months after graduation that I read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. The next month, I made the first extra payment to my loans of $300 which continued to increase as I downgraded my smart phone, dropped my gym membership, and picked up two part-time jobs. Thanks Dave, for shocking my financial system when I need it.
I used a system called the debt snowball. I listed out each loan from smallest to largest, paying the minimum amounts on all except the small one. Every extra penny I had went towards the small one and once it was paid off, I rolled that minimum payment and everything extra into the next smallest.
The reason I used the debt snowball is that mentally, I needed those little "wins." Those small victories along the way kept me focused and moving forward.
After 15 months of sacrifice, I became debt free paying off over $37,000. Two weeks later, I married my best friend...and his debt. More on that later.
UPDATE: Read Tawna's My Dave Story to hear how her story ends!
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