I have some very exciting news today y’all. It almost doesn’t seem real. After months of working my butt off, sending every spare dollar towards my debt and just dreaming of the day that I would be debt free, I think that day is in site. After some careful debt payments calculations (one of my favorite things to do really), I think I stumbled into the exact date that I will become debt free- and it’s very close.
I made a $900 payment yesterday which was a huge blow to my remaining balance of $2,100. I’m officially in the one thousand dollar range! My debt stands at $1,202 as of today.
It’s completely crazy to me that that’s all that remains. I remember making my first debt payment in January 2012. I felt overwhelmed by how big my original debt number was ($25,302) but even then, determined to not let it run my life. Now here it is in it’s final throes and I’m ready to cut off the head! (I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones recently, I might be getting violent.)
This is way, way ahead of my plan. I started 2015 thinking that I would move heaven and earth to be debt free by December 2015. I was ready to work but not that optimistic about it happen, not really. I was expecting an income of about $1,300 a month for the majority of the year. I knew I could make more catering over holiday season, but that doesn’t start until October. With my living expenses at just about $900 a month, it was going to be a huge stretch to pay off my $13,000 in debt.
Then some amazing things started happening. I was offered a staff writer position for a NYC blog. I got a pay bump from my nonprofit. I received a raise from my catering company in January and then another one just a few weeks ago. I was given the chance to coach three lacrosse teams this year, which meant double the stipend. And of course, I focused in on living frugally each and every day.
My debt payments became THE priority in my life. I built everything else around them. And it paid off. January started off with a bang. Then February continued to be a strong showing. It was March though, that set the train in motion that has brought me to today. With April as my highest pay off ever, I was down to just one loan, my lowest interest Navient one, by the middle of the month. I set a new goal- I told myself I wanted to be debt free by the end of June.
Now May has come and almost gone and I am looking at the end of that loan. If it hadn’t been for that unexpected expense this month, I would probably be writing my debt freedom post right now. #lifehappens
However, while that unexpected charge may have put a damper on things, it certainly didn’t stop anything. Maybe I’m not debt free right now but I will be soon. Very soon. In fact, I think I will make my last student loan payment in exactly two weeks. I should be 100% done with my student loan debt by June 5th.
I almost feel like I’m cursing myself by putting this out there in the world. Any number of things could go wrong. But barring any unforeseen circumstances, that’s the date folks.
It doesn’t seem real. It just doesn’t. What will my life look like once this debt is gone? It’s become such a part of my life and my daily habits that debt is almost a part of my identity. Though I have plans to pursue saving and investing with the same mindset that I did debt payoff, it’s going to be a shift.
Most of all though, it’s proof that anyone can do it. That with the right mindset, the work, a support system and opportunities, anyone can dig themselves out of debt. So if you have debt I want to encourage you on your road to freedom. It may be long but it does indeed have an end. June 5th to be exact. =)
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.