I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby H. Fred » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:23 pm

Velvet: Just exactly what did you do to get that $10,000 to pay off the loan? Did you work five jobs? Live in a box on the side of the road? What? I can't figure out how in this economy you could manage to save/earn that kind of money AND pay your usual and customary bills like food, gas, rent, dentist, car repairs, etc. It's an amazing feat, that's for sure. My husband and I have a huge debt load and we've been trying for years to figure out how to pay it off but every time we get a couple of dollars in the bank, some emergency pops up (like the clutch went out in the car, the cat got his tail caught in the door and needed surgery, someone gets laid off and is out of work for a year, etc.). HF
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby velvet » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:58 pm

Excellent question, H Fred. I'll be honest. I have lived well below the poverty line for all of my life. So no, I didnt work 5 jobs. My loans went into default and ballooned up to $10,000. It felt very overwhelming. I went to a consumer credit counseling service and got advice. I had several smaller debts and problems I needed to clear up, and they told me how to call them and work out an automatic payment plan that would be a small, manageable payment, and after a certain number of months, a small percentage less of interest would be reduced. I paid $78 a month through automatic payments due to my very low income. this was about 10% of my income. I didnt have much to live on, but it was worth the sacrifice to rehabilitate my credit history. I knew it had to be slow and steady to win the race. I worked out the other small debts and things on my record. I learned a lot about money and saving from "How to get what you want in life with the money you already have" by Carol Keeffe. She talks a lot about the situation you mention - you try to make big payments on a debt you feel guilty about, and then suddenly the car breaks down and you have to get new brakes and you have no money set aside for such things. I learned how to make my life focus *not* about my bills and debts and instead make it about my goals. When you focus on debts and guilt, you tend to worsen debts and guilt, and act out of emotion about money. when you just make the basic payment on a debt and then focus on saving your spare change for a goal that excites you (say, a massage), then your energy and thoughts are on something good. I paid off $5000 by doing just those $78 a month payments. Then I started school and had the debt frozen so I didnt need to make payments on it and no interest accrued. Since I got financial aid checks each semester, I sent some of that money toward the debt (it seemed to make sense that money for school was used to pay a school debt). Yes, I lived without a lot of things, I learned to choose what was most important and valuable to me, and what was not worth it to me. I was willing to sacrifice a lot of things (but not everything) so that I could pay off that debt. I didnt go shopping and buy tons of clothes. I did occasionally buy an interior design magazine (or got one from the library) because that was something that made me feel fueled creatively. I saved up money slowly and learned a lot in the process. I dont feel like I suffered, I feel like I learned a lot from the process. :)
I see that they are happy, not because they got luckier than all the rest of us when they found each other, but because they passionately desire and believe in their happiness.- Susan Page Destination, Determination, Deliberation! - Twycross, HP&TH-BP
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby Beebelle » Wed May 13, 2009 9:55 am

Congrats Velvet. Thats such an accomplishment!!! Im sure it clears space in your mind for much nicer thoughts then worrying about your debt. B.x
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby caramel1982 » Thu May 14, 2009 4:57 am

Fantastic! That's great to know that you already paid the student loan. Now you can use your money to buy things like computers,PSP,cellphones and anything you like. Simulation pret immobilier
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby velvet » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:52 pm

I've been thinking about H Fred's question about what I did, and here are some very real and practical things I did. I sold my car in early 2000 and have lived without a car since then. That saved me tons of money. Instead I walked or rode the bus, occasionally I took the local commuter train. I live in the midst of a metropolitan area and walking to work and appointments was feasible. Getting groceries is never very comfortable, and I'd say very few people who own cars have ever thought to offer me a ride, so I've dealt with the challenge. Participating in social events has been hampered a lot by the lack of a car, but I think the benefits have far outweighed the costs. I turned off my cell phone. I wasn't using it, and paying $45 a month for even a good cell phone deal (no contract, unlimited calling) became a waste of money. I have used just my home phone for several years now, saving me about $550 a year, which I can put to what matters more to me, like traveling. :) I don't eat out much, I cook at home. I am pretty creative with spending less on food. What I basically looked at with spending money was really asking myself what was the most valuable thing I wanted? My answer was travel. So at the same time I paid off my student loan, I had 3 trips to Europe, plus week long summer trips to a pretty coastal town (all trips are without cars, by the way - it's amazing how much you can save and how creative you can get without a car even in foreign countries. Rick Steve's books on Europe gave me all the instructions and information for traveling via public transit). I cut out the things that didn't have enough value to me. Like the cell phone and the car. And once I was motivated toward my goals, I was also more motivated to work towards earning money toward my goals. :) In the meantime, I learned how to live without charging up credit cards and appreciating how much work it took to earn the money that came into my life. I wasn't perfect, I just aimed for being happier about money, and I'm more delighted about getting happier and more responsible about money than I am that I paid off the student loan. :) That seems a better measure of my success to me. velvet
I see that they are happy, not because they got luckier than all the rest of us when they found each other, but because they passionately desire and believe in their happiness.- Susan Page Destination, Determination, Deliberation! - Twycross, HP&TH-BP
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby sallypz » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:53 pm

Velvet, What a wonderful success story. You are a hero!! I was inspired by reading this thread (read from begining to here). You worked very hard and did a great job dealing with a tough situation. Glad you got to take a couple trips to Europe. I lived in Germany for about a year in mid '70's & didn't have a car..trains were great way to travel. An idea...maybe you should take the $78.00 a month that you paid on the loan and put it into a savings account (or a cookie jar) every month..then it will have a chance to accumulate for you. Big savings accounts,and often millionaires, start out with small amounts of savings. Have you ever thought of giving seminars or classes to teach people to do what you have done?? In order to save money we got rid of the house phone & only use the cell phone, found that having 2 phones were a waste of money. Good luck with school, hope things turn out fabulously for you. sallypz (MoxieMe)
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby kashtanka » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:27 pm

Velvet, Some of the things you said about your poverty level income sounded so similar to what I lived though when going to school I lived on approximately $900 a month and had a son to take care of also. (the money I mentioned included child support) After the monthly bills I had $30 a week left over for food to feed two. Like you, I became very good at cooking economical meals. I couldn't afford anything but the basics, and when I needed to buy an iron to iron my clothes, I couldn't afford to buy one. I dreamed about that iron for weeks. As an example of how low on money I was, one time I saved $5 and took my son to McDonald's. I cried while I was eating there because I hadn't been able to afford anything like that for a couple of years, since my divorce. So with my 3 year old son in daycare, I worked during the day as a cashier in a grocery store, and for two days a week went to college. (full-time) Unlike you, I did feel stressed on account of the money because of my son. I mean, I never planned my life to be like that. Long story short, I got my BS degree in Business Administration and Accounting, I went on to become a Tax Auditor, put my son through 6 years of college by myself, and my son is a terrific young man. I'm not saying I was left unaffected by all the stress -it took a toll on my boby - but after I walked 4 miles a day for a couple of years I did recover.
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby sallypz » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:45 pm

Kastanka, Your story sounds extremely familiar...almost the same for me when my (now 30 y/o) daughter was a baby. When she was about a month old my 1st husband walked out on us simply decided 'he wasn't mature enough to be a father'.. He took every cent we had...including going into my purse and taking everything I had...literally did not have 2 pennies to rub together...also found he had run my credit cards up buying merchandise I never saw...did you realize that a husband can use his wife's credit card even if his name is not on the card (or the account)... I never saw one cent of any kind of child support..luckily I had a good mother and she helped me out with baby sitting..and helped me find a job and get into school...I worked a job, went to school, took care of the baby, etc, etc (our food/diaper/cigarettes budget was also $30.00 a month)..did not know how to drive then either so did all that taking the bus back and forth everywhere. My daughter has never actually seen him in real life, they've never met, however, since a couple years ago, she has had some contact with him via e-mail...she often ignores his emails though...calls him 'the sperm donor' or 'that guy'.....funny thing is, after all these years of no contact with her (or me), nor ever contributing anything financially toward her upbringing, not even a Christmas card, nor birthday card even...he is puzzled by the fact that she refuses to call him "Dad".....no duh, guy... sallypz (MoxieMe)
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby kashtanka » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:24 pm

sallypz, Your story sounds identical, right down to the husband saying he wasn't mature enough to have a child. It was a "mistake" that I got pregnant and he wanted me to have an abortion. I wouldn't, so we grew distant until he was finding other women particulary attractive. Very shallow. I'm sorry that you didn't have any financial support from your child's father - that was tolerated a lot more back then, wasn't it? That's great that your mom was able to help you so much! I would have asked my mom to help and I know she would've, but I never asked because she was raising my sister's son. What a creep your ex was to rack up your credit card! Grrrr It's amazing that he comes out of the woodwork and expects respect after years (decades) have gone by. I guess he thinks he's mature enough now. I'm impresed by what you did in going to school because I know how hard it was. Where you able to finish your education and get a degree? This has been refreshing in a way, talking about this, because it shows just how resilient and capable women are!
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby sallypz » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:14 am

Kastanka, I was lucky when I went to school. That was in the late '70's, I had been in the Army and qualified for the GI bill, also the state I lived in paid your tuition in full if you went to a community college or state school, all I had to pay for was books & uniforms. I went for a 2 year degree in Nursing (RN), when I graduated and passed the state boards my income doubled. Luckily I did not have the student loans to pay back that Velvet did. Unfortunately, my choice of nursing as a major was based only on the fact that I could complete the degree and get a job in 2 years time & would have the money to take care of my family. My choice of Nursing was not based on any particular desire to be a nurse. The Nursing degree has performed its function...I have almost always had a job & enough money to keep us in food & living expenses but I have never enjoyed the field of nursing. I have always hoped to be able to get into something else, something that I could enjoy doing. I still have that hope and have been working on that lately. My plan is to start my little business part tine (& work too) while I build the business and eventually get out of the nursing field and work at what I enjoy full time. One of my ultimate dreams is to make enough money to offer scholarships to young women who find themselves in the same place you and I did years ago. Women helping women (and children). It's almost always the women who get the children and then have to struggle to take care of not only themselves, but the kids too, the kids end up suffering because mom is always exhausted, stressed out, and busy. It's an unfair situation & the only way to make it better is to help each other out. I realize how lucky I was to have a mom that helped out and that many other women in similar circumstances aren't so lucky. There must be ways to help them too. My daughter was actually a planned pregnancy, but when the reality came up of being a family he ran out. Despite the fact that I struggled he's the one that really lost out. It was a joy to see her grow up. He showed no interest in her as she was growing up...he ran away to the west coast, far away from any responsibility. Now he's getting back from her just exactly what he earned....nothing....& I will never encourage her to 'be nice' to him because that's not what she feels she needs to do. I did remarry when she was about 10 y/o so she did have a 'dad' for awhile (he died when she was 19). Putting together a 'blended' family has it's own set of difficulties too. I was so lacking in financial knowledge back then, thought that that was 'a man's world' to be financially savvy. I'm glad things are changing. I think Velvet is very smart getting rid of her debt...Debt can make you feel like a financial slave. I'm glad she's free of that. I hope she can keep on with her incentives to stay debt free. That's a lesson I wished I'd learned long ago too.. Credit cards have been too easy and tempting to get in the past...I find myself wishing I never had one. Credit card companies were even using hard sell tactics to get kids in HS to get credit cards (and into debt)...how unfair. Haven't used mine in about 4 years..the max I had on it was $8,000.00...but even with not using it for 4 years I'm still paying off the balance..can't afford to pay it all in one chunk. Once I get it paid off I'm going to never use it again. I'd cancel the account but many places, when you travel, require a credit card number to guarantee your hotel room. So it seems to be a necessary evil. Velvet, BIg Kudos for your financial freedom!! Keep at it girl!!! sallypz (MoxieMe) (The Moxie was learned in the 'School of Hard Knocks')
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby kashtanka » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:55 am

sallypz, It's funny you have the dream of providing scholarships for women who are going through the same thing you did - so do I. When I was going to a community college, I won a $500 scholarship which was for a woman with good grades and financial need. Boy did I need it! I also won another $500 scholarship through a women's group. So - it has been a dream of mine to be financially able to provide scholarships for other women, one at a time of course. It would even be better to be backed by other women who want to do the same thing to be able to help more women at a time. What I am doing now is giving craft items and sewing machines to organizations for kids. Getting back to single mothers, another thing I wanted to help them with is purchasing an interview suit (or nice outfit if the job doesn't require a suit). Also, help with groceries once in awhile. I think a nursing degree is an excellent degree to have, and like you said, always in demand. Even if you had the GI bill to pay for your schooling, you still had to do the work so you're to be given much credit. (I also had free schooling because of Federal and State grants for low income households) You made the decision to put family first when you opted to get that degree, but you can go back to school now and get another degree or certificate. You sound like you could do anything you put your mind to. Good luck with your business enterprise. My income doubled too when I first started working as a tax technician, and much to my ex's credit he wouldn't divorce me until I was financially on my own. He felt some responsibility after all. Velvet, you have done a remarkable job with staying afloat on such a small income. Bravo for you! You have been an inspiration to me and many people on the Sher board. It almost makes me want to go back to school!
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby sallypz » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:11 pm

Kashtanka, You're giving back in a great way. I have given clothes & household items at times. But would like to help single-moms to find ways to become more financially able so they can take care of their kids better. I had thought a scholarship/loan in nursing...at least, they'd always have a job...something they wouldn't have to pay back if they passed all their classes and passed the RN state boards. (Incentive...as nursing classes can be very difficult). Also they are probably the most stressed out group--considering all the responsibility they're shouldering--so I also want to help them find ways to enjoy their life, to have a little fun in their lives (the kids too). While I was adopting my daughter, Tanya, I ran into all sorts of information about how children in the world are abandoned, poor and suffering--another of my goals is to help give them a voice--to help correct the poor treatment that children often get. So I speak up on that subject whenever I get a chance, too. sallypz (MoxieMe)
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby kashtanka » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:33 pm

sallypz, maybe we could brainstorm through pms about what things we can think of to help single moms and their children. I just don't want to hijack Velvets thread. Sound good? If you let me know if that's okay with you I will send you a pm.
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby JeannetteLS » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:37 am

Kahtanka and Sally, could you maybe start another thread about helping single moms and kids? And people without cars, etc.? Maybe on the Deep or Shallow discussions? The whole thread has been wonderful to watch--you ALL, starting with Velvet, have great stories and knowledge to offer.
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Re: I PAID OFF THE STUDENT LOAN = I am FREE of DEBT !!

Postby kashtanka » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:53 am

Hi Jeannette, That's a good idea. I will start another thread tonight.
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