How Georgiana Haynes Paid Off $18K In Student Loans By Age 29
Twenty-one years. That’s the average time it takes most people to pay off their student loan debt. But amazingly young architect and Avon consultant Georgiana Haynes paid off her student loans by age 29. Haynes, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, had a debt totaling about $18,000 from her studies at the New York Institute of Technology in Manhattan. But Haynes were able to wipe out her debt in less than half the average time. Here’s how she did it.
—Evaluate your situation. “When looking at how much you owe it can get a little nerve-wracking. However, it is important to understand how much you owe, what the interest rate(s) are if you have separate loans and how much they are accruing each month,” explained Haynes, who suggests considering refinancing or consolidation as you could save more interest monthly. She added, “Your loan provider can help you figure this out, don’t be afraid to call and ask them questions. You’ll want to attack the loans with the smallest balance first and make minimum payments on all others. Once the smallest is paid off add what you were paying them to the next loan payments. Continue down the line.”
—Examine your budget, i.e. determine what you can afford to pay. “I work as a full-time architectural designer and had an understanding of how much money I would be bringing in each month. In this step I liked using a spreadsheet, something that’s easy to follow. You want to account for all of your expenses each month; loans, rent, groceries, utilities, laundry service, and every little thing. Allocate every dollar to a task until you have zero unaccounted for, and stay within those budgets. Use apps like Intuit Mint to track your spending against your budget. I recommend using cash so that when the money for each category is done, it’s done,” advised Haynes.
—Don’t forget about yourself. “Make a plan, and pay yourself first,” said Haynes. “After you look at your budget and see what money you have left over, be sure to pay yourself first – and save – before spending. Make sure that you have an emergency fund of at least $1,000 so you’re not adding to your dept if an emergency arises. Think ‘do I really want to be on a 10-year repayment schedule?’ before the shopping spree. My plan always involved bringing in extra income and I started early. As young as age 17, I was working my part-time Avon business under my mother. Initially, the extra income went to my school text books, later it became the foundation of my emergency fund.”
—Have a side gig. “It wasn’t until I was out of school and pursuing my architectural career that I was really working my Avon business. I found extra time to fit it in on my morning commute or late at night on my computer. Whatever you decide, you really have to work it,” noted Haynes. “The extra money you make with a ‘side hustle’ can help you pay down that debt faster.”
—Celebrate. “There is no magic wand I’m afraid but, there are strategic steps you can take (to pay off debt faster). Use the funds you were previously using to pay down debt towards setting up an emergency fund with enough to cover your expenses for 3-6 months, start saving or investing for your future, and continue to stick to a budget for current and future expenses. After paying down my debt I started saving for vacations again and celebrated with a trip to Avon’s RepFest in Las Vegas, Nevada where I won a vacation to Tahiti.”