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Couple Standing on Grass in front of Lake

How did you acquire “$40,000” in debt? What did that debt consist of?

I acquired my $40,000 in debt all from my student loans. I have three degrees – my undergraduate degrees are a B.S. in Business and a B.A. in Management. And then I also have a Finance MBA.

Even though I worked full-time all throughout college, I never really paid much extra towards my student loans. I didn’t work on actively paying off my student loan debt because I just didn’t care. I was so dumb at the time! Instead, I spent my money on clothing and going out to eat.

What did it feel like to have that much debt?

When I finally graduated with my MBA, I realized that I really needed to start paying off my debt. It was hanging over my head and I just did not like that. Knowing that my student loan debt payments were going to be over $500 a month for something that I could not touch (well, besides the piece of paper hanging up on my wall!), I just did not like that.

How long did it take you to pay it all off?

I paid off all of my student loans in July of 2013. That means it took me less than one year (11 months to be exact) from when I graduated with my MBA.

What resources did you use to help you through this process?

The main thing I did so that I could pay off my student loans quickly was working towards making extra money. There were many days where I was working 16 to 20 hour days so that I could pay off my debt as quickly as I could. Even though I was working all the time, I don’t regret it one bit!

Did you face any challenges along the way?

My main challenge was trying to balance it all. I didn’t want to sacrifice my quality of work at my day job, but I also didn’t want to run myself ragged to the point where I would hate my life. Even though I was working a lot, I tried to find a healthy medium so that I could still enjoy life while working all the time.

How did this affect your relationship? 

Me working all the time definitely affected my relationship with my significant other and those around me. I was constantly a joke amongst our group because people would say that they would never see me. However, once my debt was gone, everyone was definitely jealous that they didn’t do the same.

What were you doing for a living while you were paying off the debt?

When I was paying off my student loan debt, I worked as a financial analyst for a small investment/financial firm. In my spare time, I also did all different types of online freelancing so that I could make extra money.

How did it feel once you paid it all off?

It felt AMAZING. And, it still feels amazing. I still cannot believe how quickly I did it, and it’s nice to know that I won’t have student loans hanging over my head ever again.

What practical tips do you have for people looking to pay off their debt?

My main tips include looking for different ways to cut your budget, and to also work towards making extra money. Usually there is only so much that you can cut your budget, but if you are able to make extra money then you can throw all of that extra money towards your debt.

If you want to connect with Michelle, check out their site at MakingSenseofCents.com.

This is part of a series called “Debt Success Stories” which features people who were able to pay off a significant amount of debt. If you have a Debt Success Story I would love to hear about it. Please visit the contact page to let me know the details.