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Today I have a great interview with Alexis Schroeder. She managed to pay off her student loans in record time and was kind enough to share her story on how she was able to pull it off.
Here's the interview below:
Tell us a little about yourself, what's your background, what do you do?
I'm Alexis, 26 years old and living in beautiful Colorado. I'm a full-time blogger at Fitnancials, a personal finance and entrepreneurship blog. My audience is primarily women, with a focus on introverted millennials. I'm a big side hustler – my side hustles paid off all my debt by the time I was 25 years old. A huge focus on my blog is showing other women to make extra money with side hustles or by creating their own business.
What made you have to take on student loan debt? How much was it?
I went to school to become a special education teacher. Before I enrolled in college, I knew I was going to have to take out student loans, so I wanted to be really smart about my financial plan. I enrolled in community college and took all general education courses first. I paid out of pocket for these. Then I enrolled in university and graduated with $15,000 in loans.
Were there any times you felt regret or anxiety?
Not really, I knew that I had to take student loans to graduate from a university, so there was no point in feeling anxious about it. I also went into school with a financial plan, which most students don't do, unfortunately. I never took out full loans and I paid out of pocket when I could.
Did you do anything to speed up the process of loan repayment? If so, what?
I paid off any interest that was accruing throughout my duration in college. I paid off loans while I was in college when I could.
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Did you take on any side jobs in the meantime?
I had several jobs throughout college. I did everything under the sun, such as taking care of individuals with special needs or the elderly, freelance writing online, working as a virtual assistant, walking dogs, babysitting, nannying, and so on. I also started a blog in college, which became my biggest source of income while in college. I was a senior in college making $80,000 a year from all of my side hustles, with the majority of income coming from blogging.
Did you ever look at refinancing your loans? If you did refinance, what company did you do it through?
No, because I knew I was going to pay off the loans the day I graduated.
What was the most surprising thing you realized as you were paying off your debt?
I didn't find this surprising, but when I paid off my debt, it felt so good to be debt-free. I was really proud of myself for being smart about financial aid. My friends and both boyfriends I had in college always took out the maximum loans and ended up graduating with way more than I did.
Were there any sacrifices you made along the way?
I hustled big time in college, but I also knew it was only going to be for a season and that the next season would be amazing. Now, my life is incredible. I work less than 30 hours a week and spend a lot of time doing the things I love. I also get to volunteer and donate my money to causes that I'm passionate about.
How has your financial situation changed since you paid off your loans?
I'm living in freedom. I grew up with a strange financial situation. One side of the family was terrible with money and the other side was great. My parents were divorced, so I lived with the bad side of money and knew I didn't want to live like that growing up. I'm very intentional with how I spend my money and how much I am saving for retirement.
What advice would you give someone who's thinking about taking on student loans?
Do not take out the maximum amount, you more than likely don't need the full amount. Pay off the interest that is accruing while in college, this really helps. Enroll in community college first and take all the courses you can before you enroll in a university. Go to a school that is in-state if you can and live with your parents if they live nearby your school. I realize that a lot of people want to live in dorms and be on campus, but that comes with a huge added cost. Figure out if that cost of living on campus is really worth it to you.
Bio: Alexis Schroeder is the owner of FITnancials, a blog dedicated to serving women who want to achieve financial freedom and grow their online business. With budgeting and numerous side hustles, Alexis paid off over $40,000 of student loans and debt in under 5 months. If you want to pay off debt, start a new career, you've landed in the right place.
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