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Making Post-Debt Life Plans

I am proud to sit here and say (or type I guess) that I am debt free. I don’t owe nothing to no one! It’s a little strange though, because for the last four years, and very definitely the last ten months, my whole life has revolved around being in debt.

Since I graduated college and my loans kicked in, student loan debt has hung around my neck like a weight. I felt like I would never be free. But after a lot of lifestyle changes, a lot of eating leftovers, and a lot of weekend nights spent at home and not out, I have released that weight. I’m free!

But what’s next? What comes after debt?

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How I Accrued and Paid Off $25,302 in Debt in 3.5 Years

I remember the last few months before I graduated college. Many of my friends were frantically applying for jobs or planning exciting travel. People were pledging undying friendship and partying harder than ever.

Strangely enough, I felt a strong sense of calm. I knew I was going to move home and work for a year at whatever I could find. I wasn’t trying to be ambitious in any way, and for a very good reason: I had no money and a boatload of debt.

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Why Debt is Not Normal

I live with three housemates. Three of us also have significant others, meaning there are seven people in and out of my house regularly.

Of those seven people, five of us have some kind of debt: student loans, credit cards or a mortgage. Sadly, our numbers reflect the average American: the average American household carries $15,611 in credit card debt, $155,192 in mortgage debt, and $32,264 in student loan debt. 

Despite the fact that everyone seems to have some kind of debt, debt is not normal.

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Why Getting Out of Debt is the Best Idea Ever

Say it with me people: Debt is bad. For everyone. All the time. No matter what kind of debt you have, it’s bad. I have been battling my way out of student loan debt for the past 3 years. I graduated college in 2011 with $25,302 in loans. Not as much as some people, and not record breaking by any means. Not a sum to simply sneeze at either, though. I graduated right into the Great Recession and finding a job was (pardon my French) damn near impossible.

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