Debt Free By 26

These Texas sunsets keep me going some days.

After May turned out to be such a great month, I started crunching some numbers, like I’m prone to do, and found something interesting lurking in the calculator. With a slightly shifted budget from my second job, I can pay off my student loans by my 26th birthday (August 11, 2015).

The thought has been rolling around in my head for the past few weeks, even months, to make that a goal, but the numbers have never quite matched my ambition. But this time, after such a phenomenal month, I saw things in a different light. Instead of an impossible mountain to climb in a ludicrously short time, I saw a reasonable goal that, with a little (lot) of hard work and focus, I can accomplish.

How, you might ask?

  • A cut in our rent means that I should be able to dedicate $1,800-2,000 from each my June and July paychecks to my loans.
  • One freelancing job will pay between now and then for $150.
  • Keeping my fun spending to a strict $50/week (just enough for one riding lesson) and consistently working at least 9-10 hours each week at my second job will mean about $125 per week for loans.

That equals roughly $5,000 between now and August 11, just over what will be needed to pay off my remaining $4,800 in student loans.

Will it be hard? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

But the very idea of entering into my 26th year on this planet without owing anyone anything is incredibly enticing. It would also mark, almost to the day, seven years since I first went into debt and took on my very first student loans as a college freshman in August 2008.

After mulling over this for a few days, not quite ready to put fingers to keypad, I found this quote in my Passion Planner:

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

And a few days after that, we settled up end-of-May bills, and I found an extra $200 to put toward my loans, completely unexpected due to us basically not spending any money this month.

So why not? Why not aim for the absolute best?

The flip side is that even if I “fail,” they’ll still be gone at the end of August with my paycheck. So failure is not an option because failing is still succeeding.

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