"Let no debt remain..."

Oh, I'm so excited to write this blog post.

We graduated from college just over 2 years ago and my husband had about $20,000 in school loans- not a horrendous amount; actually, it's about average. Two-thirds of 4-year undergraduate students graduate with some debt, and the average student loan debt among graduating seniors is just over $19,000. So, it was exceedingly normal.

We started off paying the student loans as the plan said to- minimum payments- as we saved up a down payment for a house. This is not what Dave Ramsey recommends, but the interest rate on our savings was higher than the loan interest rate! How could it make sense to pay it off early?! Even after we got a house, the house interest rate was higher than the school loan rate- which to pay off? We went on spurts, off and on paying more than the minimum. Jobs came and went. Then, something snapped. We finally decided we were going to go all-out and just pay it off and be rid of it. Debt, even "good debt," is not something we want, regardless of the interest rate.

Two years after graduating college, we have two paid-for cars, a house, a dog, and no non-mortgage debt.

Hooray!! I'm SO excited.

Why be debt free?

For us, it's all about margin. The fewer required expenses we have, the more freedom we have to make life choices. The more we can give. The more we can save. The fewer bills there are, the less we have worry about how to pay them.

We still have goals; right now, they're pretty boring- expand our emergency fund, fund our health savings account, get rid of PMI on the house, save for a destination wedding in the family (OK, so that one's less boring)- and we have a plan. I love dreaming about the future. I love seeing our spreadsheet showing that we'll meet all our goals by the end of next year. I love the flexibility that we have now and I anticipate will grow in the future. Most of all, I love owing nothing to anyone, except owing a debt of love to my neighbor.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

-Romans 13:8 

Graph of student loan progress, from beginning of 2007 through earlier this month. 
New balance: Zero


Ariel said...

Joanna!! This is fabulous!! Congrats!! My husband and I are in the process of doing the same thing. We just started so we have a little while but thankfully, with CC debt and two cars, it's only about $21k. I'm excited about getting it out of the way. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

Anonymous Cogitations said...


Kathie said...

Congrats! I know its an awesome feeling and one worked so hard for! You're other goals are quite impressive as well.

Kacie said...


Even though the interest rate was low, you still have to pay it off at some point. So I totally understand why it makes sense to be done with the durn thing as soon as possible.

Now that you're debt-free, you'll have even more money available to put toward your goals! YAAAAAAY!

*Doing happy dance with ya*

Meredith said...

Congratulations! I am SO thrilled for you!

Becca said...

Congratulations! I'm excited for you!! I made it through college on drama scholarships so escaped the loan cycle--thank God! Have you called in and yelled yet??

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

Hooray! That's so exciting!! :-) (I meant to say something when I was on the phone with you, but forgot!) I remember how good it felt when we paid off the car - I can't imagine how much more amazing it must feel to be COMPLETELY debt-free! :-)

Brett said...

Congratulations! It's a terrific feeling isn't it? When my wife and I got to the same point, it was incredibly freeing. Having that margin makes a big difference. It means giving is easier. It means you don't have to freak out when the price of gas jumps. It means when you want to do something big like take a vacation or start a family the financial aspect plays only a minor role in the decision.

I did like your comment about your debt being "exceedingly normal." Mostly I liked it because your actions to get rid of that debt are exceedingly not normal.

Joanna said...

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement!

Ariel- Keep your eyes on the prize! I can now speak from experience, that getting rid of the debt is doable, and freeing. For us, it was all about having the common goal and sticking to it.

Becca- I don't know if we'll call... I don't listen to the show very often, and we didn't follow his advice to a T, but we definitely bought into the idea of being debt-averse!

Pete said...

Congratulations on becoming debt free!

My wife and I became debt free except the mortgage a year or two ago when we paid off my last school loan. It is such a freeing feeling isn't it?

Donna(mom24boyz) said...

Wow, that is great, you guys should give yourselves a pat on the back! I wish I had known at your age what I know now--or what you seem to know! Things would be so much better for us if we did not have the bondage of debt. We hope to be free of all debt in less than two years--2 cars, and a student loan are left...but we have 4 kids and tons of medical bills that tend to creep in and curtail our goals---so you are smart to get ahead before you poetntially have children. God bless and good luck with the rest of your goals!

Lisa said...

Yay! Next stop, no mortgage!


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