How I Paid Off $20,000 In Debt In 1 Year

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paid off debtWhen I graduated from college, I left with approximately $20,000 in student debt. Certainly not insurmountable compared to others but still a sizable amount.The idea of paying interest on it or just even living life in debt really did not sit well with me so I made it a goal of mine to pay it off within a year. Luckily, I did just that. Here’s my story.

I got a job, quickly

Before I graduated, I didn’t have any serious job prospects. I had a couple internships during school but nothing that lead to a full time job. Being that the economy was sh*t then, I didn’t really expect to find anything quickly but I was pleasantly surprised. About 3 weeks after graduation, I got a call to interview with an ecommerce startup. I interviewed on a Thursday, got the job on a Friday, and started working the next Monday. It all happened very quickly. I was making $40,000 gross, which in NYC wasn’t a lot but it was enough.

I lived with my parents

I don’t think anyone really wants to live with their parents after college but for me, it was my best option and really the one singular thing I did that helped me pay off my debt in a year. My parents live in Brooklyn so getting to work in Manhattan was fairly easy for me. Also, I wouldn’t have been able to afford anything larger than a closet on 40K so living at home was actually a lot more comfortable (minus some privacy). I did though help with some miscellaneous expenses. I’ve since moved out but still go home every week for some good ole’ home cooking (helps with my monthly food budget too…heh).

I lived and spent very minimally

I spent very minimally that year. Even though I was finally making an income, I knew it didn’t mean that I could live large. Rather than going out every night, I spent a lot of time having meals at home, reading, and working out. On the few nights I did go out, I limited myself to one or two drinks.

I worked throughout college

I could’ve left college with a lot more debt than I did but I worked part time also and was able to pay for some of my tuition while in school. I went to school full time but that actually only equated to about 18 hours of class time a week so working while in school was definitely do-able for me.

If you’ve paid off your debt already, how long did it take you?


  1. says

    I graduated with $15,000 in student loans, similar to you. Took me 14 years to repay! The interest rate was low, at a time one could earn a good return in a money market fund, and I was poor, so I paid according to the schedule, mostly.

    • Connie says

      It’s great that your interest rate was low! Mine wasn’t super high but high enough to make me want to pay it off asap lol.

  2. says

    Paying off $20,000 in student loans in one year is pretty amazing. After college I also lived with my parents, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and it is a big help financially. I did help my parents out financially since they had a mortgage…it was $600-$700 a month. I think spending minimally is very important right after college, too many new grads get excited about making “real money” and splurge.


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