I’ve been mulling this one over in my head for a few months now. Debating how to present this information to you and if anyone would even be interested. I know there are a lot of blog posts out there about the success of people paying off debt; I know because I’ve searched them out myself! My husband and I paid off more than $40,000 in school loan debt in less than a year and I’d love to tell you our story.

really great ideas to pay off debt! Then you can chant "no more debt" around your living room too!!

One disclaimer – for whatever reason in our culture finances seem to be a taboo subject, I don’t know why, and I don’t agree they should be. Yet it still feels very vulnerable to open up and tell all about our finances. So my hope is this post can be read and interpreted in a non-judge zone. 🙂

My husband had a little over $62,000 in school loan debt. Most of it came from his Master’s, but nevertheless, that and our home is the only debt we have. As of today we have paid off $40,281.23. We started paying one year ago. What did we do?

It all sort of came to a bubble within the same few months. I quit my job when I had my son, and his student loans became effective just about that same time. My husband has always been a budget nazi, so it is normal for him to review our budget frequently. Last year he did our budget and told me that we were $1,400 OVER budget. WHAT!!??  Wow that came as a very big shock. We had not bought anything out of the norm. We had a discussion about what to do. It was simple; it’s just like losing weight.

Calories in vs. Calories out
Money in vs. Money out

It came down to one of us needed to get another job, or we needed to cut somewhere. As we reviewed every line item of our budget it became obvious that we actually don’t have any major places to cut. There were (and still are) areas that need refining (like the grocery bill…) but not enough to make a significant difference. So, did that mean one of us had to get another job? I cringed at the thought. I didn’t want to leave my new baby, but I didn’t want my husband to get a second job.. I would never see him.

After discussing the options, we ended up deciding we were going to move out of our house and rent somewhere super cheap until we paid off student loans. My mom and dad, who are the most gracious people I have ever met, ended up offering their basement to us. We moved in rent free and then ever month threw a crazy amount to student loans.

Now, at this point I’m sure you are saying.. well this doesn’t work for me because I can’t move into my parents basement and enjoy the benefits of rent free. I get that. It was the biggest blessing for us to be able to have that option, and I get that option is not out there for everyone. But just being rent free isn’t where the equation ended. It took hard work and sacrifice to pay off so much.

How we paid off $40,000 of student loan debt in one year!

  • For starters, I got an at-home sewing job. I was able to sew during my son’s nap time and bed time and pull in a little extra. It was by no means thousands, but a few extra hundred dollars here and there makes a difference.
  • Here are a few other good ideas for managing your money while being a stay at home mom.
  • My husband did a lot of overtime work. Whenever his job offered a weekend, overnight, or holiday overtime pay, he took it.
  • We cut down SIGNIFICANTLY on our entertainment budget. That goes for all categories such as eating out, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, clothes, baby toys, crafts/hobbies, vacations, etc. Our focus for that year was to put our extra money to student loans. This is where the small purchases add up so fast, so it makes a difference when you combine the sacrifices from all of these categories.
  • We lived (and still do) with old paid off cars.
  • We rent out our home. This might not seem like a sacrifice; it’s more of an emotional one. Having someone else live in your home can be difficult. But we receive a small amount above our mortgage that helps go toward student loans.
  • We sold stuff. Things such as my husband’s motorcycle. That was hard. Read this post about selling on Amazon – you can make a ton of money.
  • We put our savings toward student loans. Hard thing to do, but the logic makes sense. The amount of money you are loosing on your student loans does not equal the amount of interest gained on savings.
  • We put our tax return straight towards student loans.

Paying off debt can be really hard, but the reward of feeling free of bondage is even better than one can imagine. We’ve paid: 40281.23 because of interest we still owe: 25,379.66.  Since we promised my parents that we would only stay one year (that way we didn’t “overstay our welcome”), we stopped paying off student loans so aggressively, and saved up a down payment on a house. We’ve now moved into our second home (we still rent out our first home). We are now back at paying student loans to our budget max. I’ll be sure to update when the remaining balance has been completely paid off! 🙂

The bottom line, change what you are doing. Calories in vs Calories out. Simple. Money in vs Money out. Go make more money, or figure out how to stop spending so much.

How we paid off $40,000 in one year

**Just so you know, you can make money with me. With Happy Mama Tales. It’s not like some pyramid thing where you have to buy in. It’s called an affiliate program. All that means is that I give you a specific link {special to you} and if you get someone to buy one of my online classes I pay you. {For my first class, you earn $15.00 per seat you sell.} You can sell as many seats as you want. Simply sweet. Super easy. Great money. **

If you are interested in that, email me at   happymamatales {at} gmail {dot} com