Hey everyone and welcome to a new series I’m starting on the blog. It’s called the Debt Mindset Series and it’s all about money mindset which is the key to jump start debt payoff and make progress. I’m excited to share stories from real people this year about their journey with paying off debt and the mindset shifts they had to make to influence their actions.
With that being said, have you ever felt like your debt was holding your back from a better life? If your longing for more freedom and wanting to use money as a tool to achieve that, this recent debt mindset interview I conducted with Rachel is for you.
Rachel Foxwell is a writer and full-time marketer who is passionate about teaching millennials about money management. Rachel graduated college with $28,000 of student loans, which she is working furiously to pay off.
To document her financial journey, Rachel created The Latte Budget, a personal finance blog.
How Much Debt Do You Have and How Did You Accumulate It?
I’m fortunate to have never been in consumer debt. I’ve always been a saver and I just got my first credit card last year. All of my debt is from student loans. When I graduated, I had $28,000 of student loan debt.
I know many people have much more in student loans, but I was disappointed in myself because I failed completely at educating myself about the dangers of student loans.
What Was Your ‘Aha’ Moment When You Realized Your Debt Was a Problem?
Once I graduated, I moved 1000 miles away from my home state of Iowa to South Carolina. When I realized my minimum monthly student loan payment – $315 – was about as much as a flight back to Iowa, I got so mad!
I had to save so vigorously to be able to afford to travel while prioritizing student loans at the same time. If I didn’t have student loans, I would have so much more freedom to do what I actually want to do!
Did you implement a specific strategy to start paying off your debt? Why?
My goal has never been to see how quickly I can pay off my student loans. While I am on track to get them paid off way ahead of time, I did the math and it made much more sense mathematically for me to put a higher priority on retirement. Unfortunately, the salary of my first job didn’t allow me to focus on both!
Instead of doing one monthly payment on my student loans, I pay once a week and I always aim to pay more than the minimum, even if it is only $20 extra that month. I commit any bonuses, extra paychecks, unexpected money gifts, or tax refunds to paying off debt.
It really does help! I also started blogging and freelancing on the side to supplement my full-time income. That extra money all goes to student loans. For me, finding the balance between all of my financial obligations has worked best.
What were some obstacles you were/are faced with?
Like a lot of millennials, I faced a lot of student loans and an average starting salary at my first job. So my biggest obstacle was finding the money to pay for all of my financial priorities, like living on my own, saving for the immediate future, saving for long-term, and paying off debt.
I combat this by reminding myself that what I earn is up to me! We all can find a higher paying job, start a side hustle, or work a second job. It’s very empowering to think like this!
What motivates you? What would you say to people who think they can’t get out of debt in an attempt to change their mindset?
My long-term goals motivate me. I am getting married in the spring and I want to come into that marriage with as little debt as possible to set ourselves up for success. My dream job is to become a college business professor, which obviously requires a lot of expensive schooling. Every dollar does count in terms of getting me to my goals.
To someone who thinks they can’t get out of debt, I encourage them to just start somewhere. And I think people need a little tough love with it, along with empowerment. You are responsible for getting yourself into debt, but you do have the power to get yourself out of debt. Instead of pitying yourself, empower yourself.
Learn More About Rachel
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