BREAKING NEWS: THE ~ULTIMATE~ MO’ MONEY SUCCESS STORY (SO FAR)
When I graduated school, I owed over $23,000 on my student loan.
I paid every cent of it off in under two years, just before for my 24th birthday. So you could say, I was #23andDebtFree!
How did I do it? Listen closely, my child, and I will tell you all my secretssssss.
GABBY’S TIPS FOR BEING DEBT FREE, FAST!
#1. Set a Goal
When I started having to pay back OSAP, the first thing I did was figure out how many years I wanted to pay it off in. I just kept thinking, there’s no way I’m going to carry this debt around with me for the next 10 years. I decided that five years was reasonable (and motivating), and it kept me from biting off more than I could chew if I got in a pickle financially.
#2. Understand that your loan is not your money
I never forgot my mom saying those words the moment my OSAP was deposited in my bank account. And she was right–it’s not my money. It belonged to the government. And I’d be responsible for paying it back in full (plus interest!) one day. It was merely just a vehicle to getting an education, which would lead to making more money in the long run.
#3. Make sacrifices
Your loan is not meant for buying the latest trends, going on trips, or eating out at fancy restaurants on the reg. It is meant for you to support yourself while in school. Use it to invest in yourself, like getting a new outfit for an interview or a laptop for class. If you feel the slightest bit of guilt at the checkout, it’s probably an indulgence, and not an investment.
The second part of this tip relates to your lifestyle choices once you’re out of school. To pay your loan back faster, scrimp and save wherever you can. I’m talking rent, internet, phone plans, gym memberships, etc. Sure, I could’ve been living in a really nice apartment in downtown Toronto for over $1,000 a month. Instead, I chose to live in a more modest place–a co-op, actually. It’s an older building and has the occasional bug problem, but rent is only $535 a month. It’s definitely a challenge seeing all my friends living downtown in brand new buildings, but my current living situation played a key role in helping pay off my loan insanely faster.
*The sacrifices you make to pay off your loan should not be at the expense of your health or safety.
#4 Live a Little
Money is like a relationship. If it’s always take, take, take, you’ll feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick. Don’t deprive yourself, but don’t go overboard, either. The way I treat myself is by buying coffee. And because I don’t normally splurge on things like alcohol, the latest trends, or getting my nails done, I can justify $3.50 a day–especially when it helps me get my work done, too.
Ask. For. That. Raise. DO IT. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the only way you can pay off your loan faster is by MAKING MORE MONEY. When it was time for me to ask for a raise, I came prepared. Knowledge is power. Do your research. Know your value and know what other people in your position make. When I learned that I wasn’t even making the national average for my role, I brought it up in my performance review and I got a $3,000 increase in my salary. That’s $3,000 a year I wouldn’t be making today if I didn’t JUST ASK.
BONUS – YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT COULD BE WORKING AGAINST YOU
What I’m about to tell you is the reason why I decided to drop the remaining $16,000 on my OSAP in a lump sum (I was paying around $330 a month).
You’re paying more interest on your loan than you’re earning on the money in your savings account.
Duh, right? Wrong. This didn’t even occur to me for years. Why are we funnelling money into our savings when we’re LOSING money on paying interest? I paid over $800 interest in one year on my loan! Of course, it’s important to have some money set aside in the case of an emergency. Anything you have left over should be going directly to paying off your loan.
Note: I don’t have any credit card debt. If I did, it would take priority over my loan, because the interest rates are insanely higher.
All in all, I hope you learned something here today. I could go on forever with more tips on how to pay off your loan faster (Part 2, perhaps? ;), but if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out! Better yet, if you have a student loan success story, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to feature you on one of our posts!
Keep going. You can do this!