In May 2007 I graduated from the University of Tulsa. A month later I was married. A year after that, we bought our house. At that point, we owed over $120k in student loans (mostly mine). So add a mortgage and a car payment on top of that. We are two twenty somethings with a quarter million dollars of debt, entering the work force in the middle of the financial crisis. All of that debt felt like a weight on my head.
I am a numbers guy, studied economics and finance and all that. So I set up a spreadsheet with amortization schedules for all of our debt that started with all extra income going to the highest interest loan and rolled over the payment amount into the next highest interest loan until it was finished. I am pretty good at this stuff so I had an accurate picture of the challenge in front of us, and the task was overwhelming. Of course, nothing works out like we plan, but if you don't have a plan, things are less likely to work out how you want. We bought our house in April 2008. It took us almost 10 years, but as of February 2018, we are debt free. No student loans, no car payments, no mortgage, no weight on my head.
Staying the Course
We don't have a huge house, and we have a new baby coming, so it is tempting to move up to something bigger (we can afford it right?), but now that I am debt free, I don't want to go back. If things go sideways, I don't have to worry about losing the house. That feels like freedom. I have to keep the lights on, water running, and taxes paid, but that is about it.
My Wife is Awesome
My wonderful wife is completely supportive of this. I can't talk about this journey without giving her credit. She made this possible. She earned the lions share of our income, and she has been willing to live beneath our means even as she continues to be successful in her career. She also paid the bills after I was laid off (twice). She is amazing in every way.
P.S. To all the older folks who like to grumble about lazy millennials living with their parents: Shut your face.