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I paid off $43,000 in student loans this year.

And I still have more to go.

While I’m only half way done with my debt-free journey, I’m feeling pretty accomplished right now. Last year around this time (after over-drafting my account on a shopping trip), I got really serious about managing money and getting out of debt. I realized I make entirely too much to be this broke, and so set the goal of paying off my student loans in two years. I have been making purposeful strides since then.

As I reflect on this year, I’m thinking about what needed to happen in order for me to get here. What do you need to get out of debt? Here’s what I found:

Sacrifice: You have to give up on a lot. Since getting on this debt-free journey, I’ve given up my apartment, shopping, bi-weekly trips to the nail salon, regular hair appointments, weekly brunch stops, eating out as often, and a bunch of other things. It has all been for the greater good because I take the money I would spend on those things and put it towards my debt.

Contentment: After you sacrifice all those things, you can start to feel behind other people. You can also start to covet what other people have since you look like you have so little, but you have to be content. Focus on your lane and your portion. You have a goal, sis. Don’t get distracted looking at what other people have.

Diligence: You have to stay focused and keep going. You will get discouraged. There will be a sale at your favorite boutique. Ignore it and stick to what you’re doing.

A Plan: According to the homie Dave Ramsey, “You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander your way out.” You have to have an intentional plan of attack that you stick to. That includes a budget and long-term steps. If you’re not sure how to financially plan, I highly recommend listening to Dave Ramsey yell at you; it will change your life.

Miracles: Getting to this place has not all been on me. God has worked much favor in my life since I’ve made these intentional steps. I’ve gotten more serious about submitting my financial life to Christ and I have seen Him blow my mind. I’ve received random checks in the mail, people have given to me and I’ve been helped on this journey. I’ve found that when you commit to doing things God’s way, He comes alongside you with the assist.

Since “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender,” (Proverbs 22:7) I’m not trying to be in the bottom half of that equation. I’ve spent enough time there.

Lourdes Anita

P.S. Mad love to being debt-free.

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