And so it ends…
It. Is. Finally. Over.
It was 2:20 AM on a weeknight. I was awake… and working. I had a big deliverable due the next day. I was pissed off. I’m usually a very mellow person, but I get cranky when I have to work overnight and can’t sleep like everyone else. I look at the clock and know that I’m not going to get any sleep. I have too much work to do. I know that the whole day at work is going to be stressful… Ugh.
I also know that my paycheck had already hit my account. It hits every payday immediately after midnight. I knew my account balances and knew what I wanted to do. I couldn’t destroy this job, but I COULD destroy the one thing I hated more … this damned student loan debt.
I put down my work laptop and got on my personal laptop. I pulled almost all the money from my Life Fund (minus $50 to keep the account open) and moved it to my checking. Then I logged on to my servicer’s website. I passed by the ‘”Pay” button and clicked on the button that said, “Calculate payoff amount”. Then I saw the total payoff amount. It was indeed less than I had in my checking account. Next to the payoff amount was the “Payoff” button.
As my mouse hovered over the payoff button, I started to cry. Tears of pain.
This was it. All the years of being a slave to this debt. All the sacrifices. All the bullshit I had to put up with… How I’d hated this debt. This was it…
I hovered over the payoff button again… and clicked…
…and cried some more. Tears of joy, this time.
I was free. I AM FREE!
After pulling myself together, I felt … I wasn’t sure how I felt. Relieved? Satisfied? In shock and disbelief, maybe? Unfortunately, I couldn’t even spend time celebrating. The clock was ticking and I had to get back to work. But I vowed to take some time off work the day after I turned in my work in order to do nothing but bask in the glory of being debt-free. And I did. The following day, I left work early, had a nice meal, but then went to sleep crazy early, because I was so exhausted. So not much basking time, but it was good nonetheless.
I have about $600 in my checking account right now, and that’s ok. I’m not worried. My Emergency Fund ($10,000k) is intact and untouched. $600 can more than carry me until my next check.
Before I published this post, I had to make sure it was really gone. (And I was also too busy with work). A few days later, I see this beauty:
Isn’t it glorious? I should make a poster out of it and hang it on my wall. LoL.
My student loan over the years
3 years and 8 months ago, in March of 2016, I’d finished paying off over $30,000 of credit card debt and was finally able to turn my attention to my monstrous $112,258 in student loans. I was a little bruised from slogging it out with my infernal credit card debt for a couple of years before that point, but I was ready for the fight.
By April, I’d refinanced my 12 federal (subsidized and unsubsidized) loans with a range of moderately-high interest rates, down to one loan with a significantly lower interest rate. Soon thereafter, I made my first payment, a payment that felt large and small at the same time.
By July of 2016, I’d chopped the balance down to below six-figures, my first of several milestones. I started celebrating every $10,000 drop in my loan amount. I continued my fight and in 2007, I was named a Student Loan Conqueror!
Things started to shift in 2018. By February 2018, I’d paid off half the student loan and could finally feel the load starting to get lighter. By the summer, my original variable interest rate had started to climb quite a bit. In June, I did my second re-finance to get a low fixed interest rate now that my balance was significantly smaller than what I’d started with.
By November, my once super-cool servicer had been sold to Navient, which was bad news, so I refinanced a third time to take my business elsewhere. I got an even lower interest rate as my income had increased a bit by that point. This year, 2019, I refinanced what was left of my student loan for the fourth and last time, because of job uncertainty. And the rest, my friends, is history.
Key Posts about my student loan debt pulled straight from the DDSW Archives.
- [03/19/2016] [-$112,258] And So It Begins…The Epic Saga of DDSW vs. the Student Loan Debt Leviathan
- [04/08/2016] [-$110,643] Why I Refinanced My Student Loans
- [04/16/2016] [-$107,000] The First Payment
- [07/15/2016] [-$98,992] Goodbye Six Figures of Debt!
- [06/15/2017] [-$72,452] Student Loan Conqueror?
- [02/28/2018] [-$56,000] It’s Half Gone! I’ve Paid Off 50% of My Student Loan Debt!
- [06/07/2018] [-$48,446] Gaining and Losing Interest (Rates)
- [06/15/2018] [-$46,776] Re-refinancing My Student Loan and My Shrinking Opportunity Fund
- [11/30/2018] The Post Where I Have No Idea What My Student Loan Balance Is
- [04/05/2019] [-$25,906] DDSW Considers Yet Another Student Loan Refinance. And a Milestone!
- [06/05/2019] [-$18,000] Let the Countdown Begin
Thank you, guys. I couldn’t have done it without you.
From advising me to refinance, which is not the best decision for everyone, but it was for me, to supporting me when I fell off the track and succumbed to debt fatigue, to talking me down when I wanted to run screaming from my current job and headlong back into school and likely more student loan debt. You guys told me to take care of myself, but to hold on and stay the course a little longer, if I could, to get this debt paid off. And I did. The student loan monster stalks me no longer. Thank you.
What is next for DDSW?
I’ll make an official Debt Free post and then start figuring out what ‘life after debt’ will look like for me. 🙂
In the meantime, I’ll be busy walking on sunshine…