We’ve paid off 20k in Student Loans in July!!!!!!

The concept of the man trying to pay off his big debt compared t

So this is a short post to basically yell and scream with joy that we’ve successfully paid off 20k of loans this month!!

This is WAYYYY more than we were expecting to have available to pay off for this month.

A couple of things happened in July that helped increase our income significantly, most of which are one-off situations that sadly won’t carry forward in the next months.

To backtrack, at the start of the month, we had 156k in combined student loan debt. 111k of it was mine, while my husband owed 45k.

We now owe 136k. Still a big ol chunk, but at the end of the year, we want to get this down to 86k combined. My loans will be down to 70k, and my husband’s to around 16k.

Below I show where the money came from to pay off 20k in loans.

Monthly Expenses:
  • We managed to increase what we could put down on our student loans from 23% of our after tax income, to 40%.
  • We accomplished this by making some massive changes in our budget, all of which I’ll document in a future post since it’s too much detail to include here.
  • If we’re disciplined, there’s no reason why we can’t continue indefinitely with these savings!
Tax Refund:
  • We filed taxes like everyone else months ago through our accountant.
  • We’ve since switched accountants and as a courtesy, the new woman audited our past returns.
  • She found a discrepancy that our last accountant made.
  • After fixing it for us, we received back almost 3,000 as a refund, on top of the refund we already got!
  • The money came through this month, so we split it and applied it to our loans.
Spot Bonus:
  • My husband and I both get a bonus (mine is quarterly, his is annual).
  • The CEO of my company recently implemented spot bonuses. These are bonuses given on top of our regular bonuses, and are awarded for exceptional performance.
  • Basically, you do something that makes the CEO happy, and on the spot you get rewarded with a pretty sick cash bonus! You even get your picture with him. How nice ;o)
  • Soooooo I got the cash bonus this month!!! Long story short, I made a MAJOR customer very happy. The CEO happens to be a Sponsor on the project, so he found out and rewarded me immediately.
  • After tax, I got about 5,000 dollars!
  • I also get an all-expenses paid vacation for 2, and I get to choose from a list of getaway locations. Not even joking right now!!! Stuff like this is definitely one of the reasons why I love working for my current company.
  • Some months out of the year, depending on how aggressive our department has to be to increase our billable utilization, we have SPIFF competitions.
  • These are basically performance targets, which if we meet, we then get a reward.
  • Welp, I met my SPIFF number x 2. So I got double the reward, which ended up being about 2,000 after tax.
Side Consulting:
  • I think I mentioned on another post that I created a profile on Upwork (basically a job board) to search for side consulting gigs.
  • I found 3 freelance jobs so far, but the hours are irregular so I can’t count on it as a steady stream of income.
  • Between all 3 clients, after tax I get 1,700 this month. I didn’t even do that many hours. I just set a decently high hourly rate, and amazingly people actually hired me.
  • The downside of this is that I’ve been traveling almost constantly for work this month.
  • I’ve already run into a lot of problems where the client needs a response ASAP, and I’m unavailable because I’m traveling or I’m with another customer (through my actual work).
  • I’m still figuring it out and trying to juggle it all, but so far I’m elated that I can actually bring in some extra income!
Bike and Drum Set Sale:
  • I have a TON of stuff I’d like to sell over the next few months. I’ve been going through our house eyeballing everything I want to get rid of.
  • This month, we sold my husband’s extra bike. We both have bikes that we’ve been using for years. For some reason, his parents got him a second, newer bike last Christmas (which we didn’t really need…but thanks parents!). So he sold his old bike, because why not?
  • He also had an old drum set that he wanted to sell, since he hasn’t played in maybe 10 years.
  • In total we made 1,100 on the sale. That money is going straight toward my husband’s loans. Weeee!
  • I am SOOO ecstatic about this one.
  • I’ve been trying for months to get my husband to even consider renting out one of our rooms on Airbnb.
  • He’s kind of a curmudgeon and he really hates the idea of ‘strange people’ in our house, even if we’re there at the same time.
  • Long story short, after MUCH back and forth, we decided to try it out.
  • We’ve put up 2 of our spare bedrooms upstairs for rent, and already made a little over 1,000 after tax, after a few nights.
  • Again, with this one, I’m not sure how frequently we’ll do this. We’re only trying short term rentals for now, for a couple nights here and there. Having strangers in our house is like nails on a chalkboard for my husband. He hatesssss it! He told me he’d rather work for the extra money instead till he’s 85. Bwahaha

So long story short, we kicked ass this month with the extra loan payments. I paid 13,320, and my husband paid 6,720.

Sadly, I don’t think we can replicate this amount next month, but hey, there’s no harm in trying, right? ;o)

14 thoughts on “We’ve paid off 20k in Student Loans in July!!!!!!

  1. $20K?!? Congratulations! That is amazing 🙂 I love how many different ways you worked to save money and increase income in order to chip away the the student loan debt. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you!!! It’s a great feeling for sure.

      Now all I’m thinking is ‘how can we do this again next month??’

      It’s a bit of an addictive high, but in a good way ;o)

  2. Look at you guys go! That sounds like amazing progress, and some awesome recognition at work : )

    Ooo, AirBnB. Good luck with that! If you haven’t already, The Frugal Gene has a series on AirBnB that might be worth looking into.

    Hope next month keeps up the momentum! (even if there isn’t any more extra income coming in ; ) )

    1. Thank you so much!! :o)

      And omg, I actually haven’t checked out her site. I’m reading through the Airbnb series now. This girl is my hero, btw – she saves 100k a year?? Incredible.

      That’s exactly what I want to be doing once our loans are paid off.

  3. Hi Ava, I just read your story in my J. Money email. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am Judeo-Christian and I do not judge you at all. You are TRULY an inspiration girl. WOW WOW WOW.

    I don’t know how you feel about the real Jesus Christ but I take Matthew 6:33King James Version (KJV)

    33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    quite seriously and know He is the author of all good things.

    I am debt-free and working toward financial independence also like you and the others on J. Money blog.

    Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey. You and hubby are doing exactly what he teaches. He would LOVE to hear from you.

    Keep in touch
    Alex Close

      1. Ava, if I can be debt-free, anyone can. Admittedly my debt was nothing like yours but when I decided to wipe it out, I put everything I earned into it just like you’re doing. The only $ I kept was tithe and basic living expenses thanks to my parents; the rest went to debt. Great part of this Ava, it’s temporary. Now I’m on the other side and look forward to hearing you folks are also. =)

        1. Thank you so much for the kind words!

          Congrats on being debt free, btw! What a huge accomplishment :o)

          So true, that this debt payoff experience is just temporary. I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for ours. I think by year end we will have paid off over 95k in student loans between my husband and I. Eeek!!

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