It took hard work, sacrifice and a lot of sweat.
Colin from Rebel with a Plan graduated college in 2014. He received his bachelor’s degree in only two and a half years. But two things dampened his spirit at the time: He couldn’t find a job, and he owed $21,000 in student loan debt.
After not finding a job in marketing and public relations, Colin realized he must make a move, so he took a blue-collar job at a big telecommunications company. He worked as a technician installing internet and cable systems in people’s houses. Only a short time passed, and Colin hated the job.
“The ever-growing expectations from management and their desire to maximize profits by making us work longer hours wore me down,” remembers Colin. “But working so many hours did provide a positive. I received overtime. Since I was living at home and not paying rent, I put a big portion of my income, sometimes over 50 percent per month, towards my debt. I would make $1,000, $1,200 and sometimes $1,800 payments every month towards the debt.”
He told me about one particularly brutal day that sticks in his mind.
“I remember there was one day back in August 2015, when I had to climb several telephone poles to properly run this cable to a person’s house for their internet service,” says Colin. “It was over 100 degrees that day and very humid. I was sweating so much, and I knew the workday would be a 12-hour day. After the workday finished, I wanted to just lay in bed.”
As he lay in bed, Colin knew that he must pay off his debt quicker. So, he figured out a plan. “I set up a budget in Mint since it was free and cut down my costs,” says Colin. “I didn’t even have a $10 Netflix or Spotify subscription. I looked at my bare expenses and tried to see how I could earn more money. I was so tired at the end of the day that an ongoing side hustle wasn’t possible.”
Colin was still driving the old car he bought when he was 17, so cutting down other expenses wasn’t realistic. As a result, he pushed himself even farther physically and mentally. “I knew I could get overtime at work if I wanted,” says Colin. “I actually shuddered at working longer hours in the hot Texas sun, but I really wanted to get rid of my debt, so I started working more.”
A change of location
The grueling work eventually became too much for Colin, and in February 2016 he quit and decided to travel. With a bunch of savings and just a little more debt left, he started teaching English in Thailand.
Open multiple savings accounts: Open an online savings account at a place like CIT Bank or Ally Bank to take advantage of their 1.35 percent interest rates. Online savings accounts have higher interest rates than traditional banks and you’re not constantly seeing the balance so you’re less likely to spend the money or “skim some off the top.”
Have weekly check-ins with your money: When I first started budgeting, I would always get to the end of the month and be shocked at how much I was spending. I got irritated, so I set weekly check-ins with my money and reviewed all my expenses. It cuts down on the surprises at the end of the month.
Meet the Author
Article last modified on February 16, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Colin Paid Off $21,000 in Student Loan Debt - AMP.