Joel and I have been married since 2007. We got married after our sophomore year of college, so we took out student loans to pay for our schooling. We also used that money to pay for our living expenses, including lots of things we did not need, like a big screen TV. If you are a college student reading this, please please please don't use your student loans for living expenses! We learned our lesson the hard way, and 4 years later we are still paying for it.
Between the two of us we had $95,000 - $100,000 in debt when we graduated!! I know when I saw it written out and all added up, I almost had a heart attack. The good news is with a lot of hard work we have paid that down to $19,000 as of January 2014.
Now before you judge, let me explain a little bit about this debt. First, none of it credit card debt! Secondly, we paid for our own private school tuition. We were 18 when we started, so student loans were the only way we could pay for it. Plus our thoughts at the time were when we graduate we can pay it off pretty quickly cause we will both have good jobs. Last, we bought two new cars at the same time. Looking back now that was not a good idea, but we have learned our lesson.
When we graduated from college neither Joel nor I had a job. So we moved to Florida and lived with his family while we looked. After 6 months of not finding anything we moved to Dallas and lived with my family. I found a job in retail after one week, but it was not enough for us to live on our own or pay our debts back. So sadly we went into deferment. Basically, that means we didn't have to make payments, but they would still charge us interest. After being here for 4 month Joel and I both got jobs at Aldi, they had great benefit and decent pay. In other words, we graduated in May 2009 and it was July 2010 before either of us had a full time job using our degree. That's a year and 3 months before we started paying our loans back. Since then, Joel and I have both found jobs outside of retail with better pay. We also bought a house in Sept 2011 and had our son in July 2012.
We have taken Financial Peace University through Dave Ramsey (highly recommend if you haven't taken it!). We have our envelopes and we diligently try every day to be careful with our money. However, with the mountain of debt we have built up it seems never ending.
I am beginning the process of using this blog as a source of income to help us pay off our debt sooner. You can help our cause by sharing this blog. The easiest way to do that is to become a google follower, facebook follower, a twitter follower, a bloglovin follower, a pinterest follower, or you can follow me on instagram @carissahoward07.
If you would like to read all about each loan we've paid off please click here.
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