good riddance to loan #1

Holy crap. Deleting something has never felt so damn good (don't worry YBAB'ers, I actually "hid" it, deleting just sounds better).

Today, I successfully made the very last payment to my first and smallest student loan, Nelnet. I am officially on the road to financial peace and it's exhilarating. Is this how one feels seeing the birth of their first child? The day they get married? No wonder everyone claims these things to be unforgettable.

This was a small feat, with the original balance only being $3,500 - compared to the rest of my loans this is chump change, but it's still a feat nonetheless. This loan was paid off in just 13 weeks.

Being the first victim, without additional money coming from a previous paid off loan, this one took a bit of persistence and planning. The 30 week money challenge I had created was my biggest asset, allowing me to save in incremental amounts each week with the money I have left over every month once bills were paid. I "cheated" and started with a $250 deposit, immediately starting me at week 8, and continued to make a deposit every Wednesday until I finished at week 21.

At week 21, I had saved $1,617.00, so where did the the remaining $1,883 come from? Secondary jobs! Dave Ramsey always talks about delivering pizzas at night after your day job to help pay down your debt. Luckily for me, I've had an amazing job since college working for a woman who owns a pet sitting business. She gives me all of the overnight shifts, which can easily bring me in $400 for a weeks worth of work and I essentially get paid to watch TV and sleep. Additionally, to make even more use of my degree, I also freelance for $50/hr while pet sitting or during what little free time I have. Lastly, I run an Etsy shop during the holidays selling my handmade video game ornaments, which has been extremely profitable for me.

Every cent I made from these jobs were put directly into my money challenge savings account, where I would make small, but large payments to Nelnet to help bring down the interest. Getting a secondary job doesn't have to mean delivering pizzas, use the skills and knowledge you have to do something you love during your free time and make money from it. These jobs were certainly a huge help in quickly paying off my first loan.

Since Nelnet was a $50/mo payment, that's now $50 extra a month I can put on my car loan, which is the next debt I'm tackling. I have already changed my auto-payments to reflect the new amount and have also set up my next money challenge.

With almost $1,000/mo going to student loans on top of my living expenses, paying off Nelnet was no walk in the park on a $41,000/yr salary, but I'm excited to be able to say I did it and excited to get on to the next.