I’m a sucker for a clickbait title. Truly, I am. I love reading about those stories where someone paid off $250k in two years by eating dry noodles and only drinking tap water. Oh, and earning insane amounts of money in their day job and/or living at home with their parents. My biggest question I have in my head when I’m reading these stories is “My god, how on earth didn’t their body give up functioning? Did they get scurvy from the lack of fresh fruit??” Maybe that’s not the point of the article, but it’s almost always my immediate reaction.
These stories are always interesting, and I’m very happy for the authors that they were able to achieve something that is both difficult and impressive. Clearly they had a laser-focus on their goal and went for it. I don’t like reading the comments where people are whining about how the author had special circumstances, and blah blah blah. It’s easy to whine, and I am pretty sure that the author, while maybe a little stung by the comments, is still quite happy with their achievement. I don’t comment negatively (or at all – I don’t think I’ve ever added anything to a digital conversation) but certainly I have some of those whiny thoughts floating around in my head. “Ugh, that’s amazing, I WISH I could do something like that. But nooooo, I live in Vancouver, it’s so expensive, I only make x number of dollars, ughhhhhh.” And then I realized: holy shit, I do have a debt repayment story that is somewhat impressive! Article title change, stat!
How I Paid off $13,500 in One Year
Yes. I paid off nearly $14k in one year, and I’ve completely forgotten about it since. Reading the title it does sound very impressive, and I remember at the time feeling extremely accomplished with myself (rightfully so, in my opinion). But, full disclosure, I had a special circumstance that helped me pay off the loan so quickly. You see, I was living in Scotland at the time, and in order for me to stay there the only visa I could get was a student one. And so I began my teaching degree, but I had to take out a loan to pay tuition. Now, not being a citizen of the UK I had no chance of getting a loan there – instead, I took out a Canadian student loan, with which I had zero interest on the first 12 months, and 18 months total to defer payments. As soon as I was on my teacher salary I began throwing money at that debt, which shrunk quite quickly because I was paying it in British pounds. $13,500 amounted to approximately £7000, a much easier number for me to handle. First-year teachers in Scotland are not rolling in it, but living costs are low and I was able to chuck hundreds at a time every month at my loan. The loan people must have hated me because I paid next to no interest thanks to my verve in getting that number down to zero.
I am in no way diminishing my achievement. Writing it down here and thinking back to my circumstances in 2012/2013 reinforces my feeling that I did something I didn’t think I was capable of. But I was able to game the system a little bit using favourable currency conversions, and that is something not many people are able to do. When reading these amazing stories of quick debt repayments, it’s important to remember the special circumstances people may have, but equally important is to realize that you may have some unique chances of your own. Even if you don’t, you will be able to get yourself out of any debt hole you are in. Time and perseverance will get you there, and then it will be your chance to write your own clickbait title.