How I Paid Off 60K In Loans

tillmanw's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 152

Hey - I just wanted to stop in and tell you guys how I paid off approximately 60K in student loan debt. I went a very cheap/frugal route, but maybe you can apply my methods to your day to day. This post is for the middle class kids who don't get enough financial aid and/or scholarships. Also, I don't mean to offend anyone that does not go this route.

  1. Do not keep up with the joneses. A lot of kids in IB/S&T or whatever will live in a nice building that eats their entire paycheck after taxes,401k,health insurance ect. Try to get a flex if you can. I know people who have more than 2x more than my amount and are struggling because they live in a 'luxury' building in FIDI/Midtown. Remember, rent in that luxury space is 17-2000, but you need to pay utilities and your parents are prob going to cut you off their phone plan soon. Also, imagine failing your series 7, 63, 79 and you are stuck with a 1800 lease.

1.5 This has a very small chance of working for you but it worked for me. My private loans were issued through my school and the old financial aid lady let me keep them in deferment for as long as I proved to her that I paid my own bills. Literally had 20k+ in loans with essentially, a 0% rate. One thing I did was when my grace period was coming to a close, I moved them over to a 0% balance transfer card. If you are at a BB, your retail arm prob has a great 0% APY deal going on. Rates are going up so refi is prob not a good deal unless you pick a variable rate and plan to decimate the loan outright.

  1. Meal prep. I go to Costco and make my food every Sunday. This saves so much money lol. However, I can eat the same thing everyday and never get tired of it. I usually make salads with beans, chicken, sweet potatoes, or veggie burgers. Sweetgreen is good, but after you finish that $15 salad, was it worth it? And please, don't make the "I'm a big guy excuse, I eat a lot". I was a two-sport athlete and I powerlift 3-4x days a week. One thing I do which really kills my appetite is make a coffee protein shake. I do almond milk, protein powder, fiber, free coffee, and almond butter. This usually last me until 2:30pm. You can get a 11LB bag of high quality protein for $60 from myprotein.com. GNC matches amazon offers on all products so you can also go that route.
  2. This one is tricky because I came out with a lot of liquidity and I am cheap. Use credit cards wisely and don't keep up with the joneses. Do not get the AMEX platinum because everyone applied for it and you're stuck with a $550 fee. I have a lot of credit cards and business cards because I pay my rent to get the signup bonus and keep the card for the year and then product change to a no AF card. Even if you pay a 3% fee, you are still coming out on top. I have a cards that get me between 3%-7.5% return so the money I spend organically adds up. I have also used a few grand from sign up bonuses to pay off loans or I use the points when I need to go home or fly my parents up. I don't recommend this if you suck with money and you'll go to the bar and run up a tab. One card I have is the chase ink cash. It gets me 5% back on cable and utilities. Once I paired it with my chase reserve, I get at least 7.5% return when redeeming the points for flights. I also have the chase freedom, the unlimited, baml cash, ink business, and baml business premium rewards.
  3. You don't need that Thomas Pink shirt, $600 "sleds", or a 1k watch. I have wide shoulder/chest and a tiny waist so I get saks off shirts for $39.99, and tailor them to perfection.
  4. I also paid my loans with my credit cards through plastiq, I then used the points to pay off any accrued interest.
  5. For your two weeker or one weeker, you don't need to go abroad. Don't feel bad because everyone and their mother went to Europe for 2 weeks.
  6. Please max your 401k. That should be a given but people who work in finance remind me that personal finance and corp finance is two different things. It is literally free money and brings down your taxable income. Your first year tax return should be big, comparable to your SA return. Please note, do not bash me because I am withholding the maximum and I am giving sam an 0% loan. This is personal finance and I feel comfortable getting a large return after my first year to pay down loans. For everyone who says "I rather invest and get a higher return than pay down a sub 8% loan", cool. A 10k investment getting a return of 10% is only 1k before TAXES, that is if you made a good investment. You need to evaluate the downside of your investment going to crap. My friend who's an engineer was willing to risk his salary to the derivative market in order to pay down loans. Once again, do what you want but this post is for people who want to eradicate them loans.
  7. You do not need equinox. One thing I did to avoid paying for a gym for a few months is doing free trials at a lot of gyms. This is tedious but idc, I saved a few hundreds from it.

Remember, you are making good money and are in a great place. I am not telling you to not hangout with friends or splurge, but I see a lot of unnecessary expenses deriving from people who are trying to fit in. At the end of the day, it is your life and as long as you are happy, you're good.

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Comments (54)

Oct 17, 2018

As someone going to NYC with student loans, thanks for this. Seeing that you did it with 60k is relieving, my only real intent to splurge is on a nice gym facility. Never been to an equinox but I couldn't live on free trials. As long as the place is clean, has free weights, and solid lockers I'm sold.

Oct 17, 2018
Orionsbelt1234:

As someone going to NYC with student loans, thanks for this. Seeing that you did it with 60k is relieving, my only real intent to splurge is on a nice gym facility. Never been to an equinox but I couldn't live on free trials. As long as the place is clean, has free weights, and solid lockers I'm sold.

Very cool bro

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Oct 17, 2018

Isn't equinox like 200 a month? A YMCA has all the same stuff, admittedly with less pizazz, for $50 max.

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Oct 19, 2018

Your comments are the coolest, bro.

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Oct 19, 2018

Highly recommend Blink in NYC. Very reasonable monthly fee for all location access pass (plus you can bring a free guest every time) and all the equipment you could need.

Equinox is only worth it in my opinion if you're really into classes, given how expensive those are at studios here if you pay by the class

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Oct 17, 2018

It will never make sense for anyone responsible to lend their money to the government at a 0% rate. Even a 2% rate is enough to be slightly-material to your budget it sounds like ($10K -- probably more, like $30K * 2% interest = $600). I agree with you, if you are very irresponsible then it probably makes sense to just keep it over-withheld.

Oct 17, 2018

I agree, it is very easy to get a better return. However, how many kids who make 100K out of college are going to do the right thing with that money.

Oct 17, 2018

Hopefully plenty, if you're in IB you should be smart enough to know to save/simply invest it. With that said, I get lazy sometimes too so don't wanna preach too hard.

Most Helpful
Oct 17, 2018

This is the second post by a recent college grad that has a disclaimer about offending people if they don't agree or don't like the post. Seriously? You are worried about offending somebody if they choose not take the same approach to debt or life as you?

What the hell is going on at college campuses? Do you start papers to professors "I hope I do not offend you with this paper in case you give me a bad grade and it hurts your feelings because it means you are a bad professor and I surely hope my poor grammar is not offensive to anybody with good grammar"

Oct 17, 2018

Chill out dude no one cares.

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Funniest
Oct 17, 2018

Thanks for encouragement - didn't mean to offend you.

Oct 17, 2018
George_Banker:

This is the second post by a recent college grad that has a disclaimer about offending people if they don't agree or don't like the post. Seriously? You are worried about offending somebody if they choose not take the same approach to debt or life as you?

What the hell is going on at college campuses? Do you start papers to professors "I hope I do not offend you with this paper in case you give me a bad grade and it hurts your feelings because it means you are a bad professor and I surely hope my poor grammar is not offensive to anybody with good grammar"

WTF. You didn't post a trigger warning! REEEEEEE

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Oct 19, 2018

I think when you're talking about finances, it can be a sensitive topic, and so it makes sense to say, "You do you," which is pretty much what the OP said..

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Oct 20, 2018
George_Banker:

This is the second post by a recent college grad that has a disclaimer about offending people if they don't agree or don't like the post. Seriously? You are worried about offending somebody if they choose not take the same approach to debt or life as you?

What the hell is going on at college campuses? Do you start papers to professors "I hope I do not offend you with this paper in case you give me a bad grade and it hurts your feelings because it means you are a bad professor and I surely hope my poor grammar is not offensive to anybody with good grammar"

Do you have nothing to do?

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Oct 17, 2018

Yes

Oct 24, 2018

You are the exact persona that he's trying to hedge for LOL. Seriously, WTF is wrong with putting out a disclaimer and not wanting anyone to take it the wrong way? If anything, he should include another disclaimer specifically for you.

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Oct 17, 2018

He specifically says "anyone that does not go this route." Are you still in college too?

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Oct 17, 2018

Thanks for posting. How long did it take you to pay that $60K off?

Oct 17, 2018

You forgot to add the last step - daddy trust fund

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Oct 19, 2018

How long did it take? Student loans are unforgivable debt everyone with 60k in loans has to pay it off pretty much regardless if you are frugal or live it up.

Oct 17, 2018

I really recommend people paying them off. The probability of getting them discharged for people even in the public sector is <1%. Took me A little less than 2 years.

Oct 19, 2018

amazing good for you!

I similarly paid off $40k in a year in banking. But I lived extremely frugally - in hindsight I should have lived a little and paid it off a bit more gradually... as an immigrant, I am hesitant to spend money. It ended up affecting my overall happiness, etc.

Oct 20, 2018

Why not just pay it off with your bonus? If not your first year, then surely in two years. You don't need to go to all that effort to pay off 60k.

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Oct 17, 2018

For me, it was a mental thing. I was scared to take risk in the market or with anything money related because I had these loans. Yes, i could have easily carried this out but there's nothing like being debt free. Also, when you get older, your expenses increase. I didn't need the money when I was young. Some people can live with 50k of student debt lingering over there head;I am not that guy. Now that I'm free, I have no problem with going to a nice steakhouse or maybe I can finally leave the country without penny pinching.

Oct 19, 2018

Do you mind elaborating more about credit card points etc? How do you have so many credit cards and still have a good credit score? I have two at this point. How do you keep getting the signon bonuses? Is it worth it? Thank-you.

Oct 17, 2018

I reccomend that you watch "ask sebby" on YouTube. I have over a 775+ credit score. Multiple credit cards does not hurt your score, that's the biggest myth in the industry. When you churn cards and cancel the card, that deacreases your avg age of accounts which hurts your score. Hence, I said do a product change to a no af card (free credit card) rather than closing the account. Closing your account after getting a bonus could get your account closed with that issued. Have you ever wondered to yourself, "why does this guy always want to use his credit card when we order food in the office or at dinner?" He prob has the chase reserve/Amex gold which gets him a return that's better than the risk-free rate. Really reccomend you go on YouTube and learn because there's so much tax free money out there that can be earned. Also, the points are a good thing to sit on if I need to go home for an emergency or someone is getting married. Also, if the lady and I wanna stay in the mandarin for a couple nights, I'll just churn a card.

Oct 17, 2018

I have probably made over 9k of untaxed money by doing this method. PM me if you want to go into detail. You can also do bank sign up bonuses but those get taxed.

Oct 21, 2018

Can you PM me some more details? Its not letting me PM you.

Oct 24, 2018

Instead of guys PM'ing you, would you be able to do a public post on the subject matter? Would be interested in hearing more and I'm assuming that others are too.

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Oct 27, 2018

Could you please make a post and teach us sir.

Oct 24, 2018

lol 60k? Try 240k kid. Then come and talk to me.

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Oct 24, 2018

r/gatekeeping

Oct 17, 2018

I'm happy for you. Love to hear if you have any tips for the community.

Oct 24, 2018

Great post. I'm very similar to you in how I approach my finances. I save 60% of my post-tax salary every month (not even factoring in any bonus). I also live in Manhattan in a popular neighborhood near all my friends.

The key is not buying stupid shit. Eating right and waking your ass up to go to the gym will do way more for your personal appearance than $500 loafers.

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Oct 28, 2018
lost_in_sauce_99:

The key is not buying stupid shit. Eating right and waking your ass up to go to the gym will do way more for your personal appearance than $500 loafers.

i think i'd rather be the fat unattractive slob who lives his best life and rocks $500 loafers

Oct 29, 2018

Second that.

Oct 27, 2018
tillmanw:
  1. I also paid my loans with my credit cards through plastiq, I then used the points to pay off any accrued interest.

Great post - can you explain what exactly you mean by "used points to pay off any accrued interest?"

Array

Oct 17, 2018

For example, if you get the basic citi 2x cash back, you will get 2% back on any purchase. I have a few cards that get me >2% but I'm just using citi 2x as the basic card because it's no hassle to get it. I would use that card to pay off a 5k loan which gets me $100 back. I could either reinvest that $100 or use that to further pay down principal or interest on another loan. One trick you can do is sign up as a sole prop and get a chase business card. Business cards usually get $500 free in fees from plastiq which you can use to pay down any form of debt or to pay your landlord. One thing I wish people knew is that you can keep moving your loans around from balance transfer cards. You are legit paying 0% for years. Also, if you are ever denied a credit card, just call the reconsideration line. Act like you are on a S&T floor and smooth them over with that BS sales lingo in order to get approved for the card. Actually, always call recon when after you apply for a card, I have never waited more than 20 minutes to get approved for a card.

Oct 17, 2018

You earn points from credit cards. Citi 2x cash back is 2x points per purchase. Be aware, not all points hold the same valuation when redeeming for cash. The glorious AMEX platinum points is about 40% less when redeemed for cash. The only trick I know is to redeem the points through a Schwab account. Example, I plan to churn the AMEX platnium and transfer the points to my Schwab account in order to redeem the signup bonus as cash. I recommend to do this stuff now before you need to get a car loan or montage in the near future.

Oct 30, 2018

I got rejected of the double-cash card a a few months ago and tried to talk to them and still didn't get it. I guess I have to be a better smooth talker.

  • jwtrojan
  •  Oct 29, 2018

quick question - did you not worry about your credit score while doing this? I moved 6k of loans to a 0% interest card and my credit took an 80 point dip. Took almost 6month to recoup those points..

Oct 17, 2018

I could care less. Credit score can be very volatile and your score dropped because your utilization % rocketed. Why does a young cat out of college need a high credit score? If you don't plan to go to an underwriter in the near future, who cares.

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Oct 30, 2018

This is very refreshing to see! Still in college, but my main worry is paying off loans versus aiming for a lifestyle that I can't maintain.

Nov 16, 2018

Good advice. Allow me to share how I compare:

1.) Life hack to not keeping up with the Jones' -- delete Instagram. I live in a luxury high rise in Hell's Kitchen and do pay a lot but it's worth it given the walking distance to the office, the free gym which I actually use, the doorman (not included in most NYC buildings), and an elevator (also not standard). So despite the higher cost, I save on commuting since I don't use the MTA and don't have to pay $150 for a gym membership. Include the decrease in stress from not commuting and the "high cost" becomes well worth it for a bank analyst.

2.) Totally agree with meal prep. I make a sandwich everyday and eat it at my desk. My grocery budget is about $40 a week.

3.) Totally right about the credit cards. I too have the Reserve but I pay it off each week. The points I earn are used for flying which more than makes up for the annual fee. No wonder Chase doesn't make money off it!

3.) I get my suits and shirts tailored when I travel abroad. A shirt at Indochino will cost you between $60-80. A better shirt from a tailor in Nepal or Nicaragua will cost ~$20. After all, where do you think these luxury brand clothes are manufactured? Paris? Ha!

4.) Half of my shoes are from Aldo and everyone tells me how great they look. Long story short - don't be a brand whore.

5.) I had some credit card debt from being an irresponsible kid in college. I transferred those balances to 0% APY cards, paid the minimum, and set aside cash to invest in modest ETF investments. Between that (assuming may investments have grown modestly) and my bonus, I expect to pay everything off in about a year.

6.) I religiously take my two weeker abroad. Sure the flight is expensive (that is if points didn't already pay for it), but it's worth it if you're only paying $7 for a three course meal in Malaysia.

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Oct 17, 2018

Amen

Dec 20, 2018

My question is: How did you apply for business credit cards?

Mar 16, 2019

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