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The purpose of this blog is help people improve their Mind, Body, Soul (relationships) and their Money.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Debt free interview #10 - Michelle of Making Sense of Cents

This weeks interview comes from Michelle of Making Sense of Cents. Michelle overcame a salary level amount of debt she used in order to further her education. Here is her story:

1. How did you get into debt?
My debt was all from student loans. I have three degrees (two undergraduate business-related degrees, and then a Finance MBA), and I put most of my school tuition on student loans. I did receive a good amount of scholarships, but it still was not enough to cover the heft college tuition at the private university for my undergraduate degrees that I chose.

Also, even though I was working full-time, I never really put any money towards my student loans. I always just figured that I would pay it off later and that it would be no big deal. Because of this, I continued spending like crazy - I bought thousands of dollars of clothing each year, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on food, I lived on my own, and more.

2. How deeply in debt were you at the worst point? What did it feel like? 
At one point I had around $40,000 in student loans. To some that is not a lot (I know others who have over $100,000 in student loan debt), and some it is a crazy amount. Whatever the case may be, $40,000 in student loan debt is a number that gave me migraines whenever I thought about it.

3. When did you decide to get out of debt and why? 
Right after I graduated from graduate school with my Finance MBA, I decided that I HAD to get out of student loan debt. I didn't want to have it linger over my head for decades or even years to come. I knew I wanted it all gone!
I'd rather focus on other things in life than having a student loan debt payment each month. Yes, I get to use my degree to better my future, but I was paying for something that I couldn't physically touch so it was a hard thing to pay each month.

4. How long did it take you to get completely debt free? 
Luckily, I really buckled down and took on side jobs to pay off my debt as fast as I could. I believe I paid off my student loans around one year after I received my Finance MBA. It was hard work though - there was a full year where I was working over 100 hours each week so that I could put almost all of the money I made towards my student loans.

5. What advice would you give to someone trying to become debt free?
My top tip would be to find other ways to make money on the side. This way you don't really have to suffer by cutting back drastically (that does help though!) and you can still live your normal life.

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