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How I lived Frugally to Pay off $30K in Student Loans in Two Years

How I lived Frugally to Pay off $30K in Student Loans in Two Years

This is an interview with Snowball Wealth community member Dominique Jackson.

I am a travel journalist and social media editor for The Daily Beast, and I also started a company called Girl Around The Globe, where I hope to help women become financially independent. I accumulated about $30,000 in student debt when I went to a private art school in Chicago. After graduating, I didn’t receive an offer right away, so I moved in with my family in Columbus, Ohio. With a combination of living at home, aggressively paying off my debt, and a positive money mindset, I paid off all of my student loans in about two years.

What was your financial situation growing up?

Growing up, we were a middle-class family. My mom always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, but since we didn’t have the financial capacity for everything, she always encouraged me to figure things out. I was a very adventurous person in high school, so if I wanted to go on an adventurous trip, my mom would say, “great! You’re going have to figure out how to pay for that.” So I would do fundraisers to get enough money to pay for my trips. She wanted to help me and would help me financially when she could, but I understood the value of money and how stretched a dollar from a young age.

How have your views on money changed over time?

I’ve been going to therapy to break the poverty mindset and feel fully capable of accomplishing my money goals. For a while, I felt guilty about making money and questioned whether I could manage my new income. At the time, I also questioned whether I could pay off my student debt. Now that I have a positive mindset about my financial situation, I believe that I can make money without accumulating debt.

Over the years, I’ve also realized that our identity is attached to our work and how much money we make as a society. My mindset shifted to believing that money is available to me and there is an abundance of money. I also believe that God provides for me, so even if I go through some times where I don’t have money, I’ll be taken care of.

What are some money habits that you adopted?

I started debt free diaries where I write down my money affirmations, “money comes to me easily” or “I can pay this off.” I also found an amazing community of people that understood the journey I was on. Which is one reason I started Girl Around The Globe, to help other women find that community.

Can you tell us a bit more about your financial progress and what your goals are?

So I finished paying off my debt in 2020, so my next goal is paying off my credit card debt, and I’m expecting to pay it off by spring of 2021. After eliminating all of my debt and checking that off, I would like to start investing and building wealth. You cant save your way to wealth, so I would like to start looking into different investment options and possibly hiring an investment coach. I’m going to invest in learning about investing LOL.

Get our Financial Foundations guide for tips on how to invest.

How did you manage to pay off all your debt?

I would say it starts with mindset and delayed gratification. When I got hired at The Daily Beast, they asked if I wanted to work remotely or move to New York. I had two options. I could either move to New York and live a perceived lavish lifestyle–very unrealistic Sex and the City dreams lol or I could work remotely and keep living with my mom in Ohio. At that moment, I knew I had to make a smart financial decision that would impact my future. Although I’m sure it would look way cooler to highlight my life in New York on Instagram, I knew it was smarter to stay in Ohio.

I think that living frugally and managing my expenses helped me pay off my student loans quicker. Even after I moved out of my mom’s place, I decided to rent a small studio apartment instead of the larger one-bedroom apartment. This applies to my social life as well. When I plan social activities, I let my friends know my financial situation. I would invite them to go to the park, watch a movie at my house, anything that didn’t require us to spend money.

Money mantra?

“Live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later.”
“Money comes to me easily and effortlessly.”

“There is more than enough.”

What are your pieces of advice?

Take ownership of it. Don’t blame external factors for your circumstance because it won’t help you pay off your debt.
Don’t have any shame or embarrassment about your debt. Look for resources and ask questions!

Check out our guides tab to get free templates and guides.

What inspires you in regards to wealth building?

I just want true freedom. If money weren’t an issue, I would fly to different countries without worrying about the financial costs. I don’t believe people were called to live life just to work.

Apply to join our community to meet Dominique and other like-minded women who are on their way towards financial freedom.

Dominique is currently offering free goal setting sessions and resources to help women get out of debt. You can book a call here.

Also, check out our free budget template to get started!

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