What are you looking for?
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

expat gratitude: becoming a debt free gal

It's time for another installment of Expat Gratitude. Expat Gratitude is all about highlighting ways in which moving abroad has changed our lives for the better. It's not about the travels or the adventures. Instead, it's about personal growth and fulfillment. In the past, I've written about running and sparks and finding my own voice.

Today, I am going to write about money.

Money matters. Let's not pretend it doesn't. I have been so poor I hoarded change. In four plastic baggies, I collected coins: one for quarter, one for dimes, one for nickles and one for pennies. I kept a post-it updated with the total amount all four baggies added up to. These baggies gave me some source of comfort, like if I really needed to, I could do one grocery run and buy Top Ramen and Kraft macaroni & cheese.

So that time period kinda sucked.

But I am lucky because I wasn't poor for very long, and I always knew I had two great families at my back: Sean's and mine.

One reason why money was always a little headache was because of the student loan debt I carried with me for the past seven years. Even though I had two free years of college, even though my parents generously paid for half of the remaining two years, I still graduated at 21 with $50,000+ dollars of student loan debt.

And for the last seven years of my life, even while unemployed, I managed to make my $500 monthly loan payment on time. For reference, over the last seven years of my life, making this payment has required me to relinquish anywhere from 50% to 25% to 20% to 15% of my monthly income, depending on which job I had at any given time. And let's please remember that for the last three years, I was also the sole breadwinner of my family-- a family that was putting the husband through school too.

And this is where my gratitude comes from today, because  I never could have paid off my debt three years early, traveled the world and put Sean through school if we had stayed home in Washington State. Not unless we won the lottery, at least. Or caved and got a credit card.

Today, I am 100% debt free.
 I hope to stay that way for the rest of my life.
Thank you Taiwan!!!

Add your comment

  1. Yeah! A huge accomplishment! Congrats!

  2. Congrats! I imagine it's a wonderful feeling! I've yet to pay my student loans off...

    1. Thank you! After 7 years of debt, it feels amazing!!!

  3. Congratulations on becoming debt free! That must be a truly amazing feeling. I currently have about sixty thousand in student loans, but I am hoping to consolidate them in order to get a better interest rate. While I recognize that the loans were worth it in order to get my education, I am definitely looking forward to paying them off!

    Tracy Frazier @ Sunnen Law

    1. Thank you so much! It really is an amazing feeling, and I hope you can pay yours off in a way that is satisfactory to you!!