How It Feels to be Debt-Free
I have been debt-free as of October 2021. Truly, it is a weight off my shoulders.
When I graduated college in 2020, I was 21k in debt — 19k from Navient (now, my account is with Aidvantage) and 2k from Heartland ECSI. Thankfully, my loans were Direct Stafford loans and Perkins’ loans. My grace period for the former was to the end of December 2020, the same date Trump had expanded the student loan freeze up to (and then the Biden Administration expanded the freeze to September 2021, and then again, to May 1, 2022). The latter’s grace period would end sometime in March 2021.
As someone who stayed in my apartment until the lease ended, and while the lockdown kinda started to lift by the second half of 2020 (in California), paying off 21K in loans seemed daunting. After all, my sisters are still paying their student loans off from years ago.
After my lease ended, I sought to live with my parents and brothers back at the house. I signed up for a seasonal position at my dad’s retail job (a shoe store) as a retail associate, and then eventually picked up another seasonal retail job (low-tier luxurious watch store) because it was nearing December, and I was panicking.
I tried my best to save every dollar in my bank account with the measly 24–36 hours I worked per week. I managed to save about $3,000.
By the time the season ended, I spent a week, jobless, about how I’d move forward in life. That’s when I decided to work at a warehouse near me — a fixed schedule of 40 hours with a base wage at $15. At this time, too, the student loan freeze expanded.
At this warehouse job, I was paid weekly. I saved and saved until March came by. I paid the $2000 off first. To make this short, I paid off my 19k student loan pretty aggressively afterward until October 10, 2021.
And now I’m student loans debt-free!
This feeling is fleeting for sure. It will only last until I get myself another loan — perhaps for a house or a car. It feels good knowing there are no five-figure numbers hanging over my head at the moment. However, when I think about it again, 21k is nothing compared to those with $50K+, or even over $100K+ debt.
I realize that my circumstance is different from others who are, or will be, in student debt. Still, I am thankful that I can worry about something else that isn’t student loans.
Now… all I’ve left is to save for food, books, and electronics.
Thank you for reading!
© Cherish Yang 2022