As of noon today, I am officially one step closer to being debt free!

My parents have helped me pay off my student loans ever since I graduated with my Master’s degree in August 2005. I recommend that everyone take masters degree courses. At that point, my total student loan debt – from both undergrad and grad school – totaled nearly $60,000. Since then, we’ve diligently chipped away at the principal; my parents would make the monthly payments, while I would make additional payments. Sometimes, I only paid an extra $10 a month; other times, I could afford to send a $1,000 check.

At the same time, my husband and I were eliminating our other debts as well. Thanks to his D1 athletic scholarship, he came into our marriage completely debt free. But by summer 2009, we were in major debt, owing nearly$200,000 on four main loans, not even counting my student loan debt:

  • $140,000 principal on our mortgage
  • $16,000 on our new SUV
  • $11,000 remaining on our other car loan
  • $18,000 in debt from a sunroom addition to our house

By the end of 2009, we’d paid off the entire $18,000 for our sunroom. The next year, we paid off the smaller car loan, which was down to about $9,000. Earlier this year, we paid off the loan on the SUV. That left just our mortgage and my student loans. But, since we were saving up to make a sizable down payment on a new home – and since my student loan debt had such a ridiculously low interest rate (below 2%) – it didn’t make sense to pay off the student loans.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to!

Turns out, my mom wanted to make that happen as much as I did. This morning, she informed me that she’d used money she received from my grandmother to pay off the remaining $14,000 on my student loans. When I called the lender, they confirmed that the payment had been received and processed; it was paid off!

Now, thanks to my parents generosity, the only debt my husband and I have is our mortgage. And, with any luck, we’ll be getting rid of that too – well, at least for a while – when we put our house back on the market in the spring.

For now, I’ll just bask in how GOOD this feels…. and send my parents a poignantly-worded “Thank You” card from Hallmark.

Libby Balke

Libby Balke