1. Quit WHINING!
So many people live outside of their means in America. It’s the American way! As a follower of Christ I am called to live different than that. When Geoff and I started paying off his student loans it hurt to send over $800 a month to something that should have cost much less. The idea of paying off more than the monthly payment seemed impossible because I liked living outside of my means. It was much easier to complain about how Geoff should have gotten more federal grants or applied for scholarships or that IU was greedy and just wanted our money. It was even easier to blame the banks for the very high interest on student loans. However, when it comes down to it we chose to go to school and knew the cost when we started. The whining will not get us out of debt. In fact I find myself more obsessive about debt than I do when I just suck it up and pay it off.
2. Set your first priority to be debt free.
For Geoff and I this tip meant that Geoff took a second job delivering pizza’s. Not the most glamorous job but it served as extra income to make extra payments. This also meant that Geoff would be gone more. Because of this we have made the most of our time together when we have it.
For me this meant that I did not spend money on clothing and beauty products/haircuts. It meant that I needed to be patient and save money over a few months to purchase the things that I wanted. This was a new concept for me because I had never had debt before. In college I worked full time hours to afford the nice things I wanted. Debt brought me humility and shined light on my selfishness.
3. Set regular goals and be realistic.
When we got married we set goals to be debt free in 5 years. This cut the loan payoff time in half. To get to this goal we evaluated our income and the extra income from the second job. Setting goals helps us to remain on track and focused on the future of our family.
4. If it’s God’s will it’s God’s bill
This has been our mantra from day 1. Geoff started saying it in our premarital counseling and it just stuck. God called Geoff to go to college and he also calls us to pay off the debt that came with it. But he is present with us in the debt repayment. Right now we are on track to have our loans paid off in just 4 years ($80,000) on a social work and bank teller income. God can do big things to allow you to pay off debt. We have spent much time in prayer and have felt God’s immense love in our process to pay off this debt.