Wiping Out My Student Loans
First of all, some disclosure: I'm not a financial advisor.
Now to the good stuff.
I graduated from Barry University when I was 22 years old. By the time I was 24, I had enough money to wipe out my loans, while still having a lot of fun. I finally decided to pull the trigger and wipe out the whole thing at 25, right after I got married.
Most people are not this open about their finances.
I'm being open about my finances because I want people to realize they can make capitalism work for them.
I didn't grow up rich. I did have some opportunities and I made the most out of them. I'll try my best to point out when I had an opportunity not everybody was as fortunate to get.
Here's one. I was fortunate to have a great job that allowed me to prove myself and increase my salary by busting my ass. They gave everybody chances to work for bonus money and I took every chance I could get.
If this isn't you, don't worry. It might take you a bit longer, but there are things you can do to speed up the process.
So, this is how I did it.
This is the thing everybody says and yet nobody does. At least sometimes it seems that way. I tried Googling for the average American's amount of savings and different articles reported different numbers.
Either way, it doesn't matter what the average American does, it matters what you do.
I did things like living with my parents, buying cheaper brand clothes on sale, and finding free events on the weekends or deals on apps like Groupon and Trip Advisor.
I know this has become a meme lately, but I even stopped buying coffees at Starbucks.
I also had a girlfriend who was financially responsible, and encouraged me to be the same way. That's not something everybody's blessed to have, and that's one reason why she's my wife now.
Sometimes we splurged on going out to dinner and the movies. Every once in a while we'd even go to Disney.
You might be sitting there scratching your head, wondering what was the point of not buying coffees at Starbucks if I was spending money on bigger things anyways.
Saving money isn't about living like a hermit. It's about focus.
I was honest with myself. I was okay living with my parents, wearing cheaper clothes, and going to free events because I focused on the things I enjoyed the most.
Really what I was doing was not spending money on rent, not spending money on clothes, and not spending money on events.
I was spending money on the few things that brought me the most joy or meaning in my life. Everything else, I could do without.
There are things on that list I haven't gotten to yet. That's okay.
Having a house in the Florida Keys with a boat and a jacked up truck is on my list. I'm not in that position yet, so I don't have them.
If I didn't care about saving money, I could finance the truck and the boat, and rent a place down there for weeks at a time every summer. I don't because I know how important it is to save.
By focusing my spending on a few things that my wife and I loved to do, I saved about half my paycheck every month.
But saving alone wasn't enough to get the loans paid off quickly. I also had to learn how to invest, I'll tackle this in my next post.