I can finally say it – I paid off my debt! As of September, I finished paying off my student loans and officially became debt-free. This is a personal achievement that I’m happy to say I’ve completed from my list of goals.
Earlier this year, I shared that we were on a journey to become debt-free in 2018. When I started actively making payments on my student loans in 2013, I had about $20,000 of debt (which was higher than when I graduated thanks to interest). Like most young graduates, I started making the minimum payment while paying for other living costs. It wasn’t until 2016 that I started aggressively making payments higher than the minimum payment and when I had extra money to spare.
This is a goal that not many people around us are striving for, so this was a new adventure for us. It was challenging at times, since there’s sacrifices that go into cutting expenses in order to save money. However, at the end of all of it, I’m beyond proud of us for sticking to our budget and for myself for hitting this goal.
So what’s next?
Well, I’m doing my best to create and follow a budget where I am actively trying to save money. I purposely budget money going into my savings account each money rather than adding it to spending line item. And at the end of the month if I’m under my spending on a certain line items, I add that money to savings.
With the money that we’re saving, we’re planning a couple of things. The first is our wedding. If you missed my last blog post on our vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, then you wouldn’t know that we recently got engaged! With that, comes a lot of planning and budgeting for the cost of a wedding. That being said, our wedding is going to be as small as we can reasonably keep it and as cost-effective as possible. We definitely are not interested in going into debt over one day of our lives.
Second, we want to save money for a house. Whether that is remodeling our current house or buying an affordable fixer upper in our current area, we don’t know yet, but it’s something we want to do for our future. Finally, we want to keep traveling, which requires some savings. We already have our next trip planned for Mexico in spring 2019, but our wanderlust list continues to grow!
As for my blog and content, it’s been a bit of a struggle to find a focus over the past few months. So much of my content was about trying new macro-friendly recipes and foods. Now I’m eating just the basics to continue achieving my fitness goals, while also on a budget. So no new recipes. I’ve stopped consuming as much media as before, which means less influence to buy new things that I don’t need. I’ve picked up a second job to help bring in some extra money, which takes up part of my weekend. So less time for personal work than I had before.
With this change in lifestyle, comes change in my blog. I’ve always maintained that I am always growing and changing – it’s something I truly embrace. And so I expect that my blog and content will also be dynamic and change over time.