I have some huge, wonderful news for you today, Picky Pinchers family!

After three years of hard work, we just made our final student loan payment.Β 

We are FINALLY free of student loans!!!!! ~$65,000 is paid off back to Uncle Sam and we couldn’t feel better.

This has been a long time coming. We had to pay off our $14,000 credit card debt first, and then tackle all the (expensive) surprises that came with buying a home. But we did it. We freakin’ did it.

When we first got married, Mr. Picky Pincher said, “I want us to be totally debt free in the next five years.”Β I told him he was nuts, and that debt was a normal part of living. I’ve obviously come a long way since then!

We celebrated the payoff on Thursday night with Italian ice and delicious mini donuts.

Now, we do plan to treat ourselves to a nice steakhouse dinner next week, too. But I say we’ve earned the right to a nicer treat. πŸ˜‰

Honestly, I wish I had something big and profound to say right now, but words can’t express the relief, gratitude, and happiness that have come with paying off these loans. They’ve been holding us back for so long, and now it feels like we have the power to move forward.

So what’s next on our money journey?

We do still have a car note. Fortunately it has a low balance that we can pay off before the New Year. After that, our only debt will be the mortgage! How exciting!

We’re still solidifying our plan for 2019, but it looks something like this:

  • Bulk up our savings to be a 3 – 6 month emergency fund
  • Contribute extra to the mortgage. This should be paid off in ~6 years. πŸ™‚ Many people debate whether you should pay off your house early or not when pursuing FIRE. My reason for early payoff is peace of mind and having less bills. I want to have a paid-for home in retirement–it’s one less thing the bank has a say in!
  • Increase pre-tax retirement contributions (I’ve been doing a post-tax Roth but need a Traditional IRA)
  • Home improvements. Maybe it’s vain, but we have big plans for our home. We plan to redo the counters, the floors, and landscape. We plan on staying here a long time and would like a space that works better for us.

I’m also putting in my two week’s notice at my job soon (eek!). I’m so happy that paying off debt has given me the chance to do something I TRULY love. I didn’t plan to be self-employed when we started this journey years ago. But I’m grateful that we planned to give our future selves more freedom. Here it is. πŸ™‚

We want to know: Do you have any life or money wins? Let’s chat in the comments!

Also, here’s a picture of Zap trying to play with the cat laser by himself. I had taken a 10 minute break to help Mr. Picky Pincher pay off the loans, and Zap just couldn’t stand 10 minutes without entertainment.

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