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? 


Simplify Sunday- Success

Gorgeous Seattle Day

The Simplify Sunday series is going to be about minimalism in every area of life. Today it is about simplifying my thinking and how I define success. It’s funny how you don’t realize the ideas that are running around in your brain until you truly think about it.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing my blog entry on My Stitchfix Stash. She mentioned how crazy it is that we have reached a point in life where I can buy $98 pants and she can buy $50 shirts (something that had happened earlier this year that we marveled over); and that we have come a long way.

My first reaction to this was guilt. It was hard for me to even post the prices of that stuff. I feel like I shouldn’t be spending the money, I should be buying something less expensive. It is great to be able to buy things that I like and be able to pay for them, but that doesn’t feel like success to me. You know what success does feel like to me? Freedom. Is this tied to money? Sure, in many ways- but not in all of them.

I now have the freedom to take a weekend off and visit Seattle. I took the picture above on a run around Lake Union, and looking at that gorgeous view feels so relaxing, even now.

Jillian and KumaIt’s the feeling of not having to go to the second job I had for so many years after work. Instead, I can take my dog to the park and know that I can pay my bills. I can run and play with him and feel free.





Jillian and Baby AI am a worrier. This isn’t my baby, but I have worried that if I had a baby I wouldn’t be able to provide for them. I am just now getting to the point where I can simply be. I don’t need to worry as much, I have been able to save some for retirement, and I’m sure I could get another job if I lost mine. I could have that baby that I’ve been wanting, and be able to support them just fine. I still obsess about retirement, but I know that I’m doing what I can and I need to let it go.

This is what success feels like to me. It’s a little bit of guilt, over becoming middle class after a lifetime of struggling. Why me and not someone else? Primarily, though, it is freeing. I can go to the store and buy organic produce and not worry about paying the electric bill. I can save for the future, which takes away some of my anxiety. It turns out, in my mind success is just the feeling of freedom. That’s what I was looking for all this time. I thought it was more money and a better career, but it was all mental. I need to work on simplifying my thinking and remembering what really makes me happy.

What does success look like to you?