|I'm pretty sure this is how much money Sallie Mae got from me.|
Anyway, when I finished college at 27, I had a degree, a job in a bookstore paying $7.00 an hour, and $15,000 in loans. I know that doesn't sound like much, but in 1994 it was a lot of money. For a few years, I was too broke to pay anything but interest on it. For the past few years, I have made a huge effort to pay it down.
Today, I finally paid it off. I kicked Sallie Mae to the curb, threw her out of my house, and I am waiting for it to sink in. I am now debt free except for my mortgage. I now have the opportunity to pay off my house (this will take a few years), add to my retirement fund, and save save save. I do owe a lot of this to Bud, who is great with money and has encouraged me all along to keep the "eye on the prize" and hammer away at this debt. Yes, I could have paid it off a long time ago, if I had had the discipline and drive. But I didn't. I wasted a lot of money on stuff that I don't even care about. When I calculate the many years of payments I made, I realized I could have had thousands of dollars to use elsewhere. Maybe bought a bigger house that didn't need so much work, give more money to charity, and not have the feeling of always trying to play catch up with bills.
So my lesson is learned. Yep, another lesson I learned in my 40's--besides the fact that I like a good shot of whiskey. Cash really is king. Coming from a family of 8 kids, and having to do without so much growing up, I do have to fight impulses to buy things now because I didn't have much before. The difference, I have learned, is that I don't need everything I want, and my stress level is lowered considerably not worrying about unnecessary bills. I earn enough now to make my way through life on my own; with a bit of discipline and listening to Dave Ramsey's podcasts, I can keep on the path to even more financial freedom.
Seriously--there is nothing quite like it. Toodles, Sallie Mae! You stayed too long and you stunk up my house.
When I was little, all of my baby dolls were named Sally. I loved that name (it was the 70's, people). Now I find I just don't like that name so much anymore. I prefer College: Paid in Full. I think I have finally earned my Bachelors Degree from Trenton State College.