Navient aka Sallie Mae Just Paid Me!

In this post I wrote about paying off the last of my student loans, and how completely excited I am to move on to a new chapter of my financial life. 

I also mentioned how I overpaid by a few cents, just to be sure I paid in full. I wondered if they would send me a refund check and said I would post if they did.

Well, even better… For years I used a Upromise credit card. The benefits were linked to my student loan bill and paid cash automatically to my loan every month. They made a payment I was unaware of, so I received $11.70! I was so excited when I saw I had mail from them. The feeling of them owing me money is pretty epic! I put it in my savings account. Obviously it’s a small amount, but every little bit matters. 

In this, it’s really just the principle. 🙂

💛 Jillian 

Five Tips to Pay Off Your Student Loans 10 Years Early

 Navient I went to a lot of college. My first stop was a bachelor’s degree at a private university. I worked full time while attending, and graduated a bit early. For all of my money saving survival strategies, I still left with around $20,000 in debt. 

It didn’t take long to realize that majoring in theatre was perhaps not the most lucrative endeavor I could have taken on. Yes, you may all take a minute to gloat about how much wiser your degrees are. No rush. I’ll wait. 

Still, y’all have NO IDEA how useful those acting classes are I’m pretty sure they should be required before working in an office. 

Anyway. The corporate world does not really agree with the above statement, so I decided to get an MBA. Another two years, working full and part time- it varied. I earned my master’s degree with another $40,000 in debt. The most I ever made while in school was $11 an hour. 

When I finished my MBA, I waited tables and bartended until I could get something a bit more lucrative. I did things that most of my peers didn’t, in order to be able to make large payments on a small salary. 

  1. I took every extra shift I could. 
  2. I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 23. This saved about $500 a year (now that it’s a smart phone or die, I estimate this savings would be more like $800-$900 a year).
  3. I didn’t buy a car until I was 25. Gas, car payments, car insurance- all variable, but I saved at least $400 a month ($4,800 a year).
  4. I cooked at home as much as possible, and rarely bought new clothes. I did treat myself to a few vacations, believing that traveling is invaluable (but hunted for cheap tickets, stayed in hostels, etc.).
  5. Every tax refund, big tip, bonus, cash gift, anything I could, went toward my loans.

Did I spend money? Sure! But I did prioritize really heavily toward debt repayment (and retirement, but that’s a different post entirely). I always knew I had to just keep paying, but I truly thought this day would never come. I couldn’t even picture ever being able to pay it all off. 

On Friday I made my last student loan payment. I got a notice yesterday that it posted, and I logged into my account. Look at the picture. They actually owe me $.10!  

I have been anxious about this debt since I started college. They send statements with horrifying dates like the one above that say you won’t be done paying until you’re 85. Well, I beat their projection by over 10 years (I hadn’t planned that, and only noticed it yesterday when I logged in). I can’t even explain how good that feels. I paid off my car a few years ago, so now I literally have no debt. 

This year has pretty much have decimated my emergency fund this year, so my new goal will be to focus on that. It was used for true emergencies (an unplanned move, an emergency room bill, a car wreck)- or at least what I call emergencies. It always hurts a bit to use it, but I feel so good knowing it is there. 

If I can do it, you can, too! Anyone else have exciting news to share or tips on paying down debt?