If you have been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I can get on my soapbox, i.e. become very passionate about several subjects: the Lord and His Word, worship, purpose, identity (knowing who you are in Christ), boundaries, relationships and finances, among other things. However, let me be clear: a lot of the very things I am passionate about are also things I have struggled in and had to learn MANY lessons throughout my life. Therefore, I am not an expert, but just consider me your older (or younger sister) with lots of good advice to share with you through my experiences that will help you to hopefully avoid some of the blunders I have made.
Today, my advice is about finances, specifically student loans and how I was finally able to say bye bye to Navient after many years. I want to encourage you that you can too.
Without getting too political here, let me just say that I am 100% against student loans, for any reason, and the federal government needs to stop insuring loans. Some may disagree with me and that’s ok, but frankly, I am allergic to debt…period. I am, however, a major proponent for education and believe anyone can receive a quality education without going into debt. Somehow, I wish I had known this when I first entered college (cough…) 20 years ago! However, as of May 31, 2019, I was able to kick Navient to the curb and evict her from my life for good. Knowing what I know now, I want to highlight 3 things that helped me pay off my undergraduate loan and also as I continue on this debt free journey as a whole.
1. Don’t believe the lie. Change your mindset.
There is a pervasive culture, at least in America, that has sold us a lie that everyone needs some sort of consumer debt and that student loans are a great option to fund one’s education. It’s not.
Today more than 44 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt, which has become the one of the biggest consumer debt categories. All told, student debt in the U.S. now totals more than $1.5 trillion. As a result of this growing student debt crisis, many borrowers struggle to pay for day-to-day necessities like rent, groceries or car payments.Time article
Reading this quote above, I instantly became disgusted. Ya’ll, the Federal Reserve reported that the student loan debt in the US is over 1.6 trillion, which has exceeded credit card debt! I had to change my mindset as well as how I viewed debt. Over the last several years, I have invested my time and resources into first reading what scripture has to say about money, and debt and then applying it. There is a reason why the Lord tells us to, ” stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think.” (Romans 12:2, TPT). With a change in my mindset, my speech began to change as well. God even convicted me about saying, “I only have student loan debt,” as if having student loan debt was a badge of honor, simply because I no longer had credit card debt. As Christ followers, we are called to owe no man anything, but to love them (Romans 13:8).
2. Surround yourself with a community of like-minded believers.
I shared in another blog post about the importance of community and how me being willing to share what I was learning with others around me developed into a group of women who became such a source of encouragement, support and accountability for me on this debt free journey. We were able to walk through Financial Peace University together to help us. Couple that with the theme for my church this year being “a divine call to debt free living“, which covered 4 areas, including finances, I knew I was following God’s will for my life.
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.Eccelesiastes 4: 9-10, The message
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
3. Stay focused, prayerful and grateful.
It’s easy to get distracted, right? Truth be told, sometimes we WANT to be distracted so we don’t have to deal with the responsibilities of life and adulting. I quickly learned, though, that staying prayerful with the Lord and including gratitude was a huge help for me and kept me focused. While it was challenging at times, I began to really keep track of my expenses, create a monthly budget and monitor my debt amount every month.
One other way I also stayed focused was by writing down my goals. There is so much power in writing the vision and making it plain (Habakkuk 2:2). In the beginning of 2019, I wrote down that I would pay off my student loan debt by 7/1/2019. Since I was keeping track of my debt amount very diligently, I realized I would actually be able to achieve my goal one month earlier than I had intended!
Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 thessalonians 5:17-18, NLT
By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.Philippians 3:13-14, The message
One bonus thing I learned: when you get serious about God’s business and His plan for your life–i.e. what lines up with His Word and being a better steward of His money–He will get behind you and back you. I am living witness! I’m talking about unexpected checks in the mail, bonuses or a raise on your job, a reduction in a bill, someone paying for your gas, gift cards for no special occasion, just to name a few!
Began looking for the blessings along the way and be expectant for the many ways God wants to AND will blow you mind, as you get serious about practical ways you can become His best right now while waiting, even at it relates to your debt. He does exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
Sis, I am praying and rooting for you as you say bye bye to anything that is keeping you in bondage. Whether it’s Navient, Sallie Mae, My Fed Loan, or any of their cousins, lol, know that with God, all things are possible!
**If you are interested in the goals worksheet I use every year, you can grab it here!
***I receive no compensation for the resources or articles I have mentioned in this blog post.
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (NLT, The Message, TPT)
Sign up here and never miss a post!
Please like, share and comment.
LET’S STAY CONNECTED: