Balance + Lift

Paying Off Student Loans with The Savvy Couple

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Today we have an interview with Kelan and Brittany from The Savvy Couple. In a little under five months of paying off student loans, they paid off $25,000.

Holding debt is never fun. We get roped into this glorious fantasy realm where the more we borrow means the more fun we have.

Just like all fantasies… that's all it is – a fantasy.

You get conned into believing that taking out more debt is the right thing to do, but then you wind up just deeper and deeper in debt with no real end in sight.

That's not the way to live.

But, with some dedicated work and a little hustle you could completely get out of debt and live a more free and happier life.

Sound too good to be true?

It's not. I have an awesome interview with a lovely couple that proves that even getting out of $25,000 in student loan debt is possible in a short amount of time.

Is Paying Off Student Loans Fast Possible?

It absolutely is.

Kelan and Brittany paid off $25,000 in student loan debt in a little less than five months.

They hustled and were dedicated to decimating their debt. They wanted a life of freedom more than the next new and shiniest gadget.

Anything is possible when you put your mind to it really.

You can even search the hashtag #debtfreecommunity on Instagram and see the multitude of people who are getting out of debt or HAVE gotten out of debt. It's amazing.

What to Consider When Starting to Pay Off Your Loans?

It's good to consider your current budget, your current income, and what you can feasibly pay towards your loans each month.

You might also want to consider how much other debt you have.

Check out this post on paying off debt if you have more than student loans to pay off. And, if you don't know what budgeting software to use, we love YNAB and show you how to use that here.

The goal is to get out of debt, but not make yourself miserable in the process.

Baby steps are what helps.

  • Add extra payments each month
  • Make extra money on the side to toss at debt
  • Sell things you don't need
  • Babysit for the neighbors
  • Decrease spending in other categories

Basically, find whatever works for you and your family's circumstances to be free of the debt you're currently in.

Kelan & Brittany Journey Paying Off Student Loans

Tell everyone a little bit about yourself!

We are Kelan and Brittany Kline the frugal high school sweethearts over at The Savvy Couple. We help families learn how to budget their money, organize their life, and unlock the freedom to create their dream life.
We live in upstate New York and have a baby girl named Kallie. We absolutely love growing our online business, traveling, stay active, lift weights, go camping, and go to church.

How much debt did you start with?

We started with $40,000 in student loan debt. I went to school for my bachelors in business administration with a minor in finance. Brittany went to school for her masters in literacy to become an elementary school teacher.

How long had you had your student loans before aggressively attacking them?

We both graduated in 2012. We put our loans on different until Brittany finished her masters in 2015. So around 5 ½ years after graduation, we were simply chipping away at our debt. We went from $40,000 to around $25,000 over those 5 ½ years. Then in 2018, we decided we were done living with debt and wanted to have more freedom financially in our life.

How long did it take you to pay off your student loans?

It took us right around 6 years total to pay them off with more than 60% of them being paid off over those last 5 months when we attacked them with everything we had.

What tactics did you use to pay off your debt?

The most important thing we did to successfully pay off our debt was not fall into lifestyle inflation. We have always tried to live a frugal lifestyle (1). Meaning we budget our money like crazy, don’t go out to eat often, buy are cars used with cash, and don’t spend money on materialistic items.

Along with living a frugal lifestyle, we started a few side hustles (2) including our online blogging business. We have always looked for ways to earn extra income online (3) and luckily our blog really took off and help fuel our debt-free journey!

We were determined to pay off our remaining debt as fast as we could. We knew if we really cut back on our expenses and put every last penny towards our debt we could make it happen within a year. By God's grace, we were able to do it in only 5 months.

What do you think was the reason you were able to pay off your loans so fast?

There were three things that really contributed to us being able to pay off our student loans so quickly.

1) We learned how to budget our money (4) and stick to a very strict budget during the 5 months of attacking our debt. We were able to cut our living expenses down to around $2,500. Simple things like not having as much food waste, entertaining ourselves at home, and stopping investment contributions at the time helped a ton.

2) We had our online business that started to thrive. For the entire first year of running our blog, we did not take a cent of income from it. We kept the money in the business to invest and help it grow. The months we were attacking our debt our blog was making over $10,000 per month so we were able to take large sums of money to put towards our debt.

3) We committed to our goal together. As a married couple, it’s SO important to be on the same page with finances. We have our weekly marriage meetings where we sit and talk together. We both decided it was time to get this debt out of our lives and together we made it happen.

What would you say to others who are in debt and that want to get out as fast as possible?

We have never been big fans of Dave Ramsey. We feel his way of thinking is very narrow-minded and not always the best solution to every financial problem. But the one thing he really nails down is not ignoring your emotions when it comes to your personal finance.

We took our debt personal and road the emotions through the journey to make it happen so fast. It was such a high every month putting $5,000 towards our debt and watching that number slowly disappear. Take the time to determine WHY you want to become debt-free and let that fuel your fire to make it happen.

Best tips, tricks, and all the things that people can do to get a handle on debt?

Everyone that is struggling with debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and stressed about money needs to take action to fix the problem.

The biggest difference between those that are in control of their money and those that let their money control them is the willingness to take action.

Sit down by yourself or with your significant other and talk about your dream life. What does it look like? How do you spend your day? What jobs do you have? What do you want your work schedule to look like? How much do you make every year? What activities/hobbies do you enjoy? Do you travel a lot? What type of house do you live in? What age do you want to retire?

All of those questions are so important to have answers to. Without knowing what your end goal looks like taking action is much more difficult.

Once you know what your dream life looks like start planning out the steps you need to take to get there. Things like setting up a budget, saving rate, investing, career change, side hustles, etc should all be talked about.

Create a plan, get organized, and start taking action! We all get one life to live.

The WORST mistake you can have in life is having regrets at the end of it.

Do you have any other debt after paying off student loans (credit cards, house, rental properties, etc)?

The only other debt we have is our mortgage which is $991 per month and a 3.5% interest rate. We don’t plan on paying off our mortgage any faster than we have to because we use that money to invest and earn 7-8% in the market.

We do use credit cards to earn travel rewards and go on multiple vacations a year practically free. We make sure to be very responsible and pay off our credit cards each month and have so for over 10 years without ever missing a payment. Our credit scores both hover around 800.

Our cars were bought used and paid in full with cash. We have never had a car payment and plan on keeping it that way.

Becoming debt-free has given us the freedom to take complete control of our lives. I promise it’s worth putting the work in to become debt-free.

Do you foresee ever going back into debt or do you plan to save cash for everything?

We don’t plan on never going back into debt again. We were lucky to walk away from college with relativity small amount compared to most.

We have many sinking funds set up where we will fund things like home repairs, cars, travel, and more. These accounts allow us to save up cash to pay for everything to avoid needing to go back into debt.

Now that you’ve paid off your debt, what financial goals do you have next?

Just hearing “paid off your debt” brings back incredible memories. It’s such an amazing feeling and I want everyone to be able to feel the weight lifted after making your final debt payment.

YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IT TO ACHIEVE IT! You can become debt-free. You need to make a commitment to make it happen starting today!

For our financial goals, we really focus on one number, our net worth. We have our budget set up where we “pay ourselves first”. Meaning we make deposits into our savings and investing accounts before anything else. That makes sure we stay on track with our savings goals.

We recently topped the $100,000 mark in our net-worth and we are working on growing that to $250,000 in the next couple of years.

Trying to pay off debt but are horrible with money? Check out our post that will help you pay off debt even if you're not good with money!

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