life · lifestyle · marriage · minimalism

A School Loan Pay-Off Story

EPSON MFP imageThe back story
Rob originally was planning on going to a computer technology school when he was 18, but the school shut down and closed the door on his plan so he entered the work force packing up UPS trucks with boxes.

Rob and I have been married nearly twelve and a half years and were quite young when we did so (20 and 21).  A month after we got married he started attending a mechanic school, believing that was the field he was to enter.

His 13 month course was going to cost $24,000.  We didn’t really talk about money much back then, we just spent a lot of it.  He figured he’d pay off his loan by working and I just left him to take care of it while I’d pay the car insurance bill.  We were living in my parents’ basement in that first year and a half and paid rent to live there, but really we had barely any bills.

We received a notice in the mail that said Rob had not been paying his loan for four months.  I was in shock and started to pay his back payments and take over his monthly payments from that point on which was just easier on him anyway.  He led us into a few financial problems over the years that I took by the reigns to fix (which is also around the time that I started to sell a few of my possessions and started slight minimalist living).

I was working sometimes every day of the week making a stable pay that was helpful to our finances.  I chose not to go to college as our plan was for me to be a stay-at-home mom like I am and had always wanted to be (still don’t know what I’d go to college for if I went anyway).  We were in an apartment with a lot more bills, so it put my mind in a better perspective to budget and stop spending, especially because I became pregnant two months after we moved there.  Once I left my job at nearly 8 months pregnant, our finances became rough pretty much until this year and mainly because of this loan.

Rob was a mechanic for a short time before moving to the position of a service writer (his pay was so sporadic and unstable).  He was a very devoted employee no matter where he worked, and dedicated himself to the tasks before him, so it was hard on him to not make more money.  He left his first car-type of job and worked as a service writer elsewhere, eventually given a parts adviser position, but he still didn’t have stable pay (it was different every month based off of a commission).

Nearly two years ago Rob got a salary paying parts adviser job which has been a blessing to us and helped us get back on track financially. What he does for a living doesn’t even need a degree.

This week we paid off Rob’s school loan!
If we had the ability to, we would have paid this off sooner!  We paid off over six thousand dollars to finish it up in this year alone.  The interest rate was 8%-14% depending on the year, so we paid double the original loan up to nearly $50,000 total for something that was ultimately a waste of money.

How we did it:
-We simply paid $50-$75 a week on top of our monthly loan, sometimes more depending on our finances. It was challenging, but worth it.
-Each tax return season we would put a big chunk of money into the school loan.
-We sold quilts I made and Rob’s unused instruments that were building up dust.
-We don’t buy things we don’t need or don’t use regularly as minimalists as it is, so that also helps.
-We cut out expenses for items and bills that also were not needed.
-We also would spend only about $75-$100 a week on groceries, getting only what we needed for the meals I had planned.
-We were a lot more cautious and budgeted more together then ever before (love that teamwork).

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