Several years ago, my partner and I started paying off nearly $80,000 in debt. We dispatched our credit card balances fairly quickly, but the student loan was more intractable. It still is. We continue to chip away it month by month, little by little, at a pace that’s manageable for us given our income and budget constraints.
Our progress feels awfully slow at times. This used to annoy me, but I’ve become more comfortable with our long-term debt payoff journey. I’ve learned to recognize the benefits of a sustainable approach to debt payoff. I’ve realized that it is truly possible to live – really live – with debt. Like, you can have loans and also have a life. You can owe someone money and still be good with money. You can carry debt while also saving and giving and planning. You can pay it off over years rather than months and still feel a sense of achievement.
Our debt has transformed from something that used to make us feel bad to something that’s now just another line item in our budget. These days, our student loan payment doesn’t hold any more emotional weight than, say, our electric bill. It’s just a thing to pay, and we do, and then we don’t think about it until the next month.
There’s no such thing as one-pace-fits-all when it comes to debt repayment or personal finance in general. If you’re working towards your goals at a consistent rate that keeps you moving forward, if you’re doing your best with the resources available to you, you’re doing it right.
And that’s worth celebrating.