|And it feels something like this!|
Good news! I paid off my car making me officially DEBT FREE! It’s taken a long time, and I didn’t consider my car loan too much of a burden, but it’s done! I don’t typically carry a lot of consumer debt, so today I thought I’d share how I do that.
1. I didn’t do credit cards. For a long time.
I’m not a fan of credit cards. They’re essentially a way to enslave people. I wasn’t one of those young adults who signed up to get a bunch of cards to finance a typical college experience. In fact, I didn’t even hold one until a year or two ago. Now I hold a few store cards which give me deals at places I regularly shop. STORE CARDS ARE NOT A GOOD IDEA. Unless, you’re like me, go into the store with a budget, and pay off the balance as soon as you get home. I haven’t paid a single late fee or a penny of interest as a result.
2. I’m going to college my way.
I’m beyond your traditional college age. At one point during my many breaks between school, I worked at a childcare center. I caught a lot of flack from my coworkers because I didn’t have a degree. One day it got to be too much. I let them know that I didn’t have a degree, but I also didn’t have tons of student loans only to get paid around $10/hour. One of my coworkers sat back for a minute and said, “You know what, that’s smart. I have a law degree and you see how much good that’s doing me.” Exactly.
Now I am in school, but I’m doing it via grants and scholarships. I work my butt off for good grades to make this possible. I hope to graduate in this semester, but regardless of when commencement happens I’ll be walking without a penny of debt.
3. I didn’t sweat my car loan.
I owned many cars the first few years I had my license. At first I was worried about carrying a loan. So I bought beaters that I could afford. It was the worst. A quick evaluation of the numbers revealed that I was spending far more each month in maintenance and repairs than I would be if I bought a decent, barely-used car and had payments. It’s been 7 years. I had to refinance after a divorce turned my finances upside-down. But I still managed to pay it off early (not too early; I only saved myself $60,) and the original loan and the refinance have helped me build my credit. This car has been so good to me. I’m a little bit afraid because I hear as soon as you pay it off stuff starts breaking down. But I’m choosing not to believe that commonly-regarded rumor because I’ll do nothing but turn it into a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Disclaimer? This doesn’t mean WE are out of debt. We have another car. We have a couple other things to pay off. But we’re really not doing that poorly on the debt front compared to most people in our consumer culture. We’ll keep living frugally and chipping away till it’s gone. The light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible.