Long time no see! You might have noticed I didn’t have a post on Monday…sorry homies. My wife and I moved over the weekend, so I had to take a brief hiatus from M$M. Don’t worry – it’s game on now!
Jen Hayes over at Frugal-Millennial.com reached out to me a few weeks ago and told me about her strategy to move in with her parents to pay off her debt. I think it’s an incredible plan, and something more young people and parents should consider as the debt-crisis continues to spiral out of control. (From experience – living with parents is actually really hard to pull off!) Enjoy and give Jen some love in the comment section below! ~M$M
Merry Christmas Eve! 🙂
When I was accepted into a competitive master’s degree program, I was elated. I was appalled by the price of the school, but I believed that a master’s degree would be a golden ticket to an amazing career. I thought I would be well off financially. I was very wrong.
I graduated with $75,000 of student loan debt, and my first “real” job paid so little that 50% of my income was going toward my loans. I became depressed. I thought about my debt constantly. I quickly realized that obsessing about my debt was not productive – it didn’t solve the problem and it only made me miserable.
What I needed to do was take action. After my husband and I got married, we came up with a plan to pay off our combined $117,000 of student loan debt in just three years. Repaying a high amount of debt in a short timeframe is not easy. It’ll be well worth it in the end, but in the meantime, it’s difficult.
Here’s what I do to stay positive during debt repayment:
Focus on the end goal
My husband and I work a lot, we’re extremely frugal, and we live with my parents. None of these things are easy. Whenever I find myself feeling sad or frustrated, I remind myself of my future goal. I remember that in three years, we will be debt-free. I had originally planned to pay my loans off over ten years, but the thought of being trapped in debt for the next ten years was unbearable to me. I know that the sacrifices we are making now will be well worth it in three years when we will finally have financial freedom.
Find free things to do
I have a complete spending ban on outings with friends. I have had people tell me that this is crazy and that I deserve to have a little fun once in a while. What many people don’t realize is that it’s entirely possible to have fun without spending a penny! I get together with my friends often, and we always do things that are free (like movie nights, board game nights, 5k walks, outdoor yoga, and festivals).
One challenge is that my friends continue to ask me to go to dinner or to other events that cost money. I say no and politely remind them that I have a spending ban on outings with friends. They are aware of my student loan debt situation, so they are understanding. I know that some people like to do things that are expensive (like going to dinner or bar hopping), but anyone who is a true friend should be willing to check out some free things with you once in a while.
Stop caring what others think
Yes yes yes yes yes! This ^^^ is my favorite freaking part of this post. Caring about what everyone else thinks will keep you in debt. Heck yeah!!! (Sorry, I got fired up and made it weird. I’ll let Jen talk again). 🙂 ~ M$M
There are people who think I’m completely crazy to be living with my parents at the age of 26. Others think I’m nuts for taking frugality to an extreme. I love this quote by Dave Ramsey: “If you find yourself in a radical mess, you need to make a radical change.” With the amount of debt my husband and I have, we are in a radical mess. Only a radical solution will solve our problem! When I feel judged by others, I remind myself that they are not the ones who pay my bills and that their opinions do not matter.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Every day when I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed, I see my peers purchasing their first homes, buying new cars, having babies, and traveling the world. It’s easy to feel envious and to wonder how they can possibly be affording it. Many of them may be financing their lives with credit card debt. Others may be extending their student loan payments to 25 years and trapping themselves in debt for many years to come. I could do the same, but it certainly wouldn’t be worth it to me. I am “missing out” on these major life events now, but it will absolutely be worth it when I’m debt free in just a few short years.
Be grateful for what you have
It’s natural to feel frustrated, disappointed, and envious of others when we are buried in debt. Debt repayment isn’t easy and it’s perfectly reasonable to feel all kinds of negative emotions while you’re paying off debt. Still, it’s important to keep things in perspective. 1 out of 6 people in the world live in poverty. That’s over one billion people. I may feel “poor” sometimes, but I have a roof over my head and I always have enough money to feed myself. Whenever I feel sad about any of the things I don’t have, I remind myself of all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for.
Maintaining a positive attitude during debt repayment can be tough at times. I have found several strategies that help me to stay positive. Focusing on the end goal (financial freedom), finding free things to do for fun, ignoring the judgments of others, avoiding comparisons to others, and choosing gratitude are all useful strategies that keep me feeling optimistic and motivated.
Should more Millennials consider living with their parents to pay off debt? Is it something to be ashamed of or proud of?