How this recent grad paid off $20k in student debt in less than a year

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How this recent grad paid off $20k in student debt in less than a year

As a member of the Class of 2020, Nicole graduated at a time like no other. But between starting a new job remotely and moving back in with her parents during the pandemic, Nicole saw an opportunity to get serious about her student debt — and she went for it. With the help of, Nicole paid off $20,000 in private student loan debt in less than a year. 

Keep reading to learn more about how Nicole reached this payoff milestone.

What was your outlook before you paid off your private student loans?

I was a finance major in college, so I understand that debt is not inherently a bad thing. But when you first graduate, you have all this debt and a negative net worth, and it’s just this cloud looming over you. And not only did I have all this debt, but it was coming from multiple sources [federal and private student loans] — that was especially daunting to me.

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

I graduated in May of 2020, but I didn’t start making payments on my private student loans until October of that year. I finished paying them off in August 2021. 

What was your payoff strategy?

I was in a really fortunate situation to pay off my private student loans. I started a new job after I graduated, but because everything was remote because of the pandemic, I didn’t have to move to New York City right away. Instead, I stayed at home with my parents, and what I would have otherwise been putting towards rent, I put towards my debt. 

The platform made it really easy to set up payments every month [with Auto-Crush]. I also used the Round Up tool  — I would buy a coffee and think, ‘Oh my god, I just put sixty cents towards my student loans.’ And then at the end of the month, I would see that I had sent twenty bucks to my loans and I didn’t even have to think about it.

Once I did start to get ready to make the move to New York City and start paying rent, I thought I would have to slow down my progress. But then when I checked my private loan balance, I saw that I only had $60 left to go and I didn’t even realize it. I wasn’t expecting [automatic monthly contributions] to be so helpful, but they really were. 

Did you know what you were getting into when you took out your student loans?

As a finance major, I learned about how loans work in school, so I thought I was always pretty cognizant of what I was getting into with my student loans. 

But once I finally looked at my federal student debt, it was a little bit of a rude awakening. I was much more aware of how much I was taking out in private loans, because you’re way more involved in that process. But you don’t need to do as much to get federal student loans. And then once you graduate, you have to decide how to pay your federal loans back, and there are all of these different repayment options, and you don’t know what any of it means — even though I studied finance, I had no clue. 

Now that you’ve paid off your private student loans, how will you tackle your federal student debt? 

I’ll definitely keep using Round Up. It’s so cool, and it’s a really good way to face your student debt without having to think about it — pretty much everyone can afford [to round up to the nearest dollar] on every purchase. I’m also going to reevaluate my finances and look into using Auto-Crush to make a little bit of an over-payment every month.