I have a long game story!
I pay 7,000 a year on my loans, which sounds a lot more impressive when I say 21,000 in three years!I also live in a hideously expensive place and work in the arts, so my yearly tops out at 50 K a year. I am also not a “frugal” person, as I cannot live like that for ten years until my loans get paid — it’s not nice or fun. I can be hideously cheap, though! I recently admitted on here that my summer subletter’s annoying girlfriend left industrial bottles of tres emme behind and so I have been washing my hair for free for a year. I refuse to buy lunch out at work, but I willingly set aside 250 for cocktails and dinner and gallivanting a month. (This is high, for most people in repayment, but I am looking at the cost analysis of going to dinner with my mom or the birthday weekend for my college roomie or buying my dad fancy rose bushes for his retirement garden or paying for birthday dinner for an intern. My beloved lives in a different state: we go on weekend trips and we go out to celebrate being together when we actually get a whole weekend together. I LIVE for a good gallivant. Those things are worth it. I haven’t got a new phone in 4 years though. Or pants.) I go to the movies once a month (gallivanting, amirite?), but won’t buy concessions. It’s a balancing act so you don’t feel deprived. I keep something like 5 pounds of beef jerky and a dozen granola bars in my car (bought on clearancem I lvoe Ollie’s) — I never stop for a snack on the road. That kind of thing.
As for my paying off schedule, I am rigid about it. (For loan reference, I don’t remember what they were when I started 6 years ago, I was in a weird place.) I began doing a “boil the frog” experiment on myself when I was in that weird place. One of my loans is on auto pay which is easily adjustable, but the other is not. The easy one I just bump up by 10 bucks every three months. I’ve been doing this for 6 years, so that’s 24 bumps which means I am now paying 240 more a month that I used to, which has effectively doubled my payment rate on this one loan. The other is harder to pay additional on, so I used to take a paycheck from a freelance gig and toss it wholeheartedly at the loan. They recently revamped the site so now I just launch an extra 150 at it every month. I have a mint tracker for my loan goal which is July 2019. It lets me know how I do! When the easy to pay loan is gone, I will simply add that to the bump on the other loan.
I go on a couple vacations every year, so I try to get them saved for by May. And I have a pretty nice emergency cushion, so I no longer believe in windfalls.(No silly spending! We keep it tight!) When the winds fall, they land on the loans. I never turn down a freelance gig or overtime. I have a special OT playlist for these occasions. My coworkers know: if we are there after 6, it’s BANGERZ ONLY, aka the Will Smith Pandora. This slightly stresses my relationships, but if you love me, you understand. I freeze extra meals and keep them at work: always ready for more. I bartend for a wildly popular winery in the fall, so everyone always knows: no plans in September or October.
When I am paid off, I will begin saving for a lakehouse. I’m already used to penny pinching, so it should be fine. My loans were broken into eight pieces, every time I pay one off, I open a bottle of champagne and reset my teeth on edge. I hope this story makes you feel like this is doable! I only have two more years!!!!