DFS: How Catherine Paid Off $27,000 in Student Loan in 5 Months – EP 415

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Life after school is daunting, perhaps due to the desire to prove to oneself that we can be adults with a bright and stable life, but life isn’t a movie and adulthood is far from a steady life pace. In this episode, Jen and Jill listen to Catherine’s story of paying off her $27,000 student loan in just 5 months after graduating.

No one’s person’s journey is going to be exactly the same as the others, but collectively we can learn from one another


  •  Your first job at a school. So fresh, so young, so bright, so naive. Your first job may or may not enroll you automatically without you knowing it into a 401K and that’s great. We love when businesses do that because out of sight, out of mind. But if you left that job to move to greener pastures or even browner ones then you are going to want to take back control of that 401K. 

    If that’s too complex for you to even wrap your mind around, I get it. Capitalize is a service that will actually find your 401K for you and then help you roll it over for FREE into an IRA of your choice. Let your first job be a pleasant memory and not one that haunts you.

Life After Being A Student

Catherine embarked on a determined journey to become debt-free right after graduating. Initially facing over $120,000 in student debt, she reduced costs by commuting her senior year, lowering her debt to $27,000 by graduation. Inspired by the Frugal Friends podcast, specifically Ep 177 What Is Values Based Budgeting + How Do You Practice It? She committed to paying off her student loans, leveraging her local jobs to live at home and minimize expenses.

By carefully managing her finances and dipping into her savings, Catherine made her final loan payment in October, achieving her goal of becoming debt-free and allowing her to focus on building her future savings.

A Values Based Financial Journey

Catherine’s journey to becoming debt-free was not without its challenges and moments of self-doubt. She often questioned if she was missing out on opportunities, and sometimes felt her efforts were futile. Listening repeatedly to the Values Based Budgeting episode of Frugal Friends (Ep 177) helped her stay focused on what she valued, prompting deep self-reflection each month. 

To manage her debt, Catherine worked 48 hours a week at her full-time job and an additional 14 hours at her part-time job which allowed her to pay off debt while also focusing on retirement savings by automating her 401K and Roth IRA contributions. Now debt-free, her next goal is to save for a housing deposit, aiming to buy rather than rent. Be proactive in understanding loan values and expenses, make a solid plan, and find creative ways to enjoy life without excessive spending.

✨ Update on Catherine

Since paying off her debt in October 2022, Catherine has finally achieved her financial goal! In November 2023, she and her boyfriend purchased a condo together. Making 16 offers before securing their home, they successfully bought a condo near their families. Catherine learned valuable lessons about negotiating and understanding her financial comfort levels and boundaries.

What are you not spending on this summer so you can save for something bigger?

Jill and Jen are both cutting back on travel this summer, with Jill opting for local activities and Jen postponing a family cruise to save for bigger vacations in the future.

Bill of The Week

Thank you Shawn for sharing your bill about EP 381 6-week ROTH IRA challenge for 2023!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. We love love love reading your kind reviews and we especially loved this one from:

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Great encouragement!

Being frugal can seem a lonely path, it’s awesome to have Frugal Friends to make it fun, and seem so achievable.

Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this show, please take a minute to leave a rating and review, it helps potential new listeners know what our show is all about!

And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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