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It also helped that I spent a good chunk of my first years away on business, so I had basically no personal expenses during that time.
I thought it was important to give myself goals to look forward to, so I bought myself a Cartier watch when I had paid off half of my loans (I’m wearing it right now).
(Psst: M has her own blog, King of States — check it out!
)Basically, it was a mixture of living WAY below my means (sharing a tiny, rent-stabilized studio with my boyfriend, and cooking at home a lot) and spending basically all of my discretionary income on making additional payments, and, yes, using bonuses to make one-off “super payments.” I definitely would target one loan at a time (I never consolidated for some reason).
Can you manage your debt when you’re facing huge numbers, such as six figures?
We’ve talked about when to save versus when to pay down debt before, but a number of readers have asked for a post on Really Big Debt, so let’s discuss (particularly since the interest rate just doubled on new Stafford loans! I polled some friends to ask who had a plan or success story that didn’t involve inheritance/lottery, and thought I’d round up their stories, anonymously, below — but readers, please share your own!
When we finished paying all of the loans, we decided to split the money that we had been using for our monthly loan minimum payments to a) increase our mortgage payments so we’re paying off more principal every month and b) increase our automatic contributions to our kid’s 529 plan.
With Loan #6 we stopped for air — 2.5% is lower than our mortgage interest rate, so we just paid the minimum on that for a while, very occasionally mailing in a big check when we had extra money.