(So this post is a little self congratulatory. I apologize for that. But I need to scream something and it seems rude to tell people in the real world!)
I was very lucky regarding undergraduate school. Between scholarships, working, money my grandma left me and some generosity of my parents', I graduated college with no debt. Grad school was another story.
My whole life I knew graduate school would be on my own. My dad, wrongly, felt guilty about this. Like he'd somehow let me down. Not even close. He was amazingly supportive and still is.
But I still graduated with a hefty debt.
Because my credit rating was so good, and my dad agreed to cosigns my loans, I got really good interest rates. But even really good interest rates on a lot of money, is a lot of money in monthly payments.
When I graduated I had a few repayment options. I could do the 10 year regular repayment, graduated repayment based on income or spread it out over 25 years but wind up paying a lot more. I opted for 10 year basic repayment.
This meant my monthly payment was ~$731/month. Now some of my friends had significantly higher payments because they took out more money, they had undergraduate debt, and/or their interest rate was much higher. But for me, it was a lot of money (I think for most people it would be!).
I got a job soon after graduation with a non-profit. And I love my work. My salary, compared to other non-profits in the area was comparable. Now a bunch of the people I graduated with went into the private sector and made SIGNIFICANTLY more. Of course I was a little jealous of their salaries. But there was one thing my job had that their jobs didn't: loan repayment assistance.
Because I had a non-profit job, I was eligible for a loan repayment program from my school AND one from the state.
I have received a considerable amount of money from those two programs over the past 3 years. Plus, D contributes a portion of his salary to my loans every month and from time to time I've written an additional check to pay off specific loans.
Last night I was looking at my bank statement online and noticed my lender didn't take the full loan payment. Confused, I went directly to the lender's site and realized my monthly payment had again gone down!
When I started paying my debt in November 2008 until now, my monthly payment is now ~$440. That's a savings of almost $300/month.
PLUS, I still have a few loan programs I'm expecting to receive some money from. Which means, by the end of the summer I could have $300/month as a loan payment.
D and I are very careful and try really hard to not have to use savings to pay for anything. But realistically, we are using one salary to pay for two people, we do occasionally dip into savings.
Except for big purchases, we no longer have to do that. That is amazing.
I'm so proud of myself and D for paying off this debt so quickly. It isn't easy. And there are definitely things that we are denying ourselves in order to do it.
But I'm still proud.
Do you have debt that you are working hard to pay off?