Ding. Dong. The witch is dead.

June 16, 2010 · 51 comments

Yo yo yo! Quite possibly the most exciting announcement EVER . You’re probably going to want to take a seat before you read this. Are you sitting down yet? Okay good.

Today, mi amigos, I would like you all to know, I just popped a cap in Sallie Mae’s a$$ and laid her to rest. FOR GOOD!!!! That’s right PF’ers I am debt free! I feel so many things right now, but mostly I’m just turned on. What can I say? Being debt free is sexy. Ahhh, it feels so good to say, I think I might just say it again… I’M DEBT FREE!!!! Okay, now that I’m done gloating, let’s take a little walk down memory lane…

I graduated college Spring 2007 with $28,462.96 of student loan debt. I did the typical post-grad choice and deferred my payments for the six months allotted. I then consolidated my student loans with Sallie Mae, which in hindsight was the biggest financial mistake of my life. In February 2008, I had to make my first student loan payment. A whopping $178. I did this one time. After the first month, I decided I didn’t want to be in debt for the next 20 years, so I stepped my game up. I began doubling my monthly payments and figured I’d be out of debt some time in 2017. I thought I was pretty smart.

I continued making these double payments for exactly one year. In March 2009, it was time to get even more serious. I began throwing between $1,000 and $1,500 towards my loan every single month. Although I was committed to paying off my loan quickly, I still lacked the intensity needed to really get the ball rolling.

In April 2010, that changed. I became determined to be debt free by my wedding day. This is when I made a $10,000 decision and reduced my loan from $14K to $4K. After some more number crunching, excel spreadsheeting, and mathematical calculating I realized it was time to say goodbye to Sallie Mae for good. Over the weekend I submitted my final payment, and in case I haven’t already told you, today marks my first day of debt freedom!!! Kind of.

Apparently I made a mistake in predicting the accrued interest over the few days it would take my payment to process. Come to find out, my calculation was off by eleven cents…

So over the 2.5 years it took me to pay back my loan, I ended up forking over $3,832 in interest. This brings my total repayment to $32,295. While that number might be painful, it’s a whole heck of a lot better than the $52,000 total I would have paid had I taken the full 20 years to pay it back. Boo to the Ya for saving money.

I can tell you right now, I am already benefiting from the psychological effects of debt freedom. I feel incredible and am so excited to be able to spend my money without a voice in the back of my head saying “You shoulda used that money towards your debt.” Sallie Mae is one woman I never want in my life again. Ever.

As if you couldn’t tell, I am  really excited about this. Let me just get it out of my system one last time. HELL YEA!!! I’m Mother Effin, Debt to the Free. It’s time to go play “Ain’t gonna tie me down” over and over again, cause as of today, I am no longer Sallie Mae’s biotch.

Any suggestions for what I need to call my blog now? Perhaps, Punch Making Really Dumb Financial Decisions In The Face?

{ 49 comments }

1 StackingCash

Congrat’s Ninja! Never change your blog name, unless you get an offer for 500k or more.

2 Allen

Congratulations!

3 Beth M

AWESOME! It’s very inspiring to see that you did it in three years. I plan to have mine paid off 5 years after graduation (I’m gonna have more than 28k, unfortunately) and seeing that you did it makes me more confident. CONGRATS!

4 Frogdancer

That’s excellent news. Congratulations.

5 Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog

Congrats.

6 Joanna

Congratulations! Your post prompted me to stop lurking because yesterday, I called Canada Student Loans and told them to take my final payment out today! It is small compared to yours, 630.00 CDN, but considering my last paycheque was 720.00 dollars I think I feel its a pretty aggressive payment. Now, if I can just get my student line of credit from 4,730.00 to 0…
Keep your blog name, keep being hilarious and feel free to walk us down memory lane anytime, it is good to see how u have done it!
Joanna from Canada

7 Red

Congrats! That is so exciting! I cannot imagine the euphoria associated with being debt free. I get turned on just paying off ONE student loan. If I could pay off all of them… Geez! :) Anyway, enjoy the feeling! And please don’t change the blog name. It’s too funny.

8 Ana

You need to celebrate with your girl! Congrats!

9 Donnie

The $0.11 thing is absolutely hilarious. So anticlimactic.

10 Larry

I thought the Wicked Witch melted, not bled to death.

11 PunchDebt

In this case Larry, she wasn’t melting quick enough so I had to take matters in to my own hands :)

12 Larry

I don’t wish to rain on your parade – honestly. I agree you made the right choice. But consider this: You say, “I ended up forking over $3,832 in interest. This brings my total repayment to $32,295. While that number might be painful, it’s a whole heck of a lot better than the $52,000 total I would have paid had I taken the full 20 years to pay it back.”

As measured from 1990-2010, U.S. inflation averaged 2.73%. That means that $32,295 in 1990 is equivalent to $55,306 today. Assuming inflation continues at the same rate until your full 20-year period would have been over, and assuming your wages grow in parallel, you actually are coming out only about $3000 ahead – not bad at all, but it’s always important IMHO to consider that the longer you pay back a debt, the greater likelihood you’re paying with cheaper dollars.

13 Rainy-Day Saver

@Larry: I’d never thought to take inflation into account when accelerating payments to save interest — excellent point.

14 Larry

It still makes sense for him to have paid off the debt, but for reasons I haven’t yet seen mentioned here. For one, it establishes creditworthiness, which will make it easier to apply for a mortgage or other major loan later. It also clears away a major debt so that if he applies for a mortgage, he has a lower debt-to-income ratio. Finally (and this is more a general point that will almost certainly never apply to our Ninja), it is wise to eliminate student loan debt as soon as possible because such debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

15 Sandy L

Oneo of my student loans actually had a 0% interest. I paid it off years early. I guess it was dumb, but in my head, you never know when you may lose your earning power through disability, job loss, etc. Even though logic said to keep the loan for it’s full term, I just couldn’t do it.

Way to go ninja! Now the hard part comes..figuring out how to earn as much as possible with your savings. Paying debt is like the easiest thing in the world if you have extra money coming in. I still struggle with how to best allocate extra money to manage risk vs return. There are just so many options.

16 DENIS

Congratulations! My puny 4k student loan @ 2.8% interest is also my only debt right now but I’m in no rush to pay it off yet…

As for what to call your blog now…call it anything but “F*ck*ng and Punching” (Californication Reference) :)

17 Stephan

wow congrats debt ninja, i cant even imagine how you feel right now. obviously this is a time to celebrate, maybe even buy yourself something as a reward, but then get back to your basics and keep saving towards your next goal!
Preferred Financial Services

18 Pam

I think you should keep the blog name. You never know when you’ll have to wake up and punch that monster one good one in the future.

Gotta love the feeling of Debt Free! Not that I know as yet since I’m still punching that debt in the face, but I’ve seen a bunch of people reach this personal milestone and can visibly see the difference in them!

Perhaps you can add a subtitle to your blog:

Punch Debt in the Face, and walk away the champ when you do!

Or something witty.

Way to go Ninja!

19 Michelle

I’m doing the happy dance for you right now. What a wonderful wedding present to your fiancee – not having YOUR debt in y’all’s new marriage. Congrats!

20 Trina

Yay! Congratulations…that is wonderful news!

21 Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

Congratulations! We made a $3700 principal payment to my husband’s car last week, so there’s only $5000 left. We’re going to use the rest of our emergency fund to take care of that as soon as my husband has a signed school librarian contract in hand (sometime this week or next week). I understand the excitement!

I say keep the name of your blog…someday you’ll buy a house and it’ll be spot on again. In the meantime, it’s freaking hilarious so you shouldn’t give it up. :-)

22 buthidae

Congratulations Ninja!

23 momninja

We are so happy for you! What is your next goal?

24 Jenn @ Paying Myself

Awesome! I can’t wait to be debt free myself!

I agree with the others above – don’t you dare change your blog name! I love it. A witty subtitle would probably be appropriate though.

25 Forest

Good job.

26 Jon DeGroff

Congratulations! That is awesome news.
Now it’s time for you and the girl ninja to get rich and enjoy life!

27 Judi

Congratulations!! We’re looking at another 18 months. Don’t change the name of the blog! I love it.

28 Khaleef @ KNS Financial

Congratulations, Ninja! This must be an amazing feeling – one I can hopefully share with you in a few years!

Please don’t change the name of your blog. Instead of attacking your own debt, you can teach and inspire many to punch their debt in the face!!!

29 MPP @ MyPrettyPenies

Woohoo!!!! Congratulations! Ahhh such a fantastic feeling, eh? Yay! I am SO happy for you my friend. :)

30 Serendipity

Congrats on being debt free! Woohoo!

31 Money Maus

YAY!!! Congrats! :D

And I agree with the very 1st comment, lol.

32 Joe Plemon

VERY exciting. Congratulations for, well, punching your debt in the face! I love it!

33 Kaye

HOORAY! Congrats, Ninja. I can’t wait to be free myself!

34 Rainy-Day Saver

Awesome news, I’m glad you decided to punch Sallie Mae in the face!

35 The Saved Quarter

Fantastic!! Congratulations!

36 Miss Alpha

Yay!! Congratulations!! :)

Also, it’s awesome that you walk the walk. So few bloggers are so real and so driven to be what they claim. ::long distance high-five::

37 ashley

Oooh!!!!!! You deserve a fancy shmancy pants celebratory dinner!

38 Aury (Thunderdrake)

YEAAAAARAAAAAAAAAAAWRGH! That’s awesome! :D

What else is there to really say? You just PUNCHED DEBT IN THE FREAKIN’ FACE.

39 Lola

Nice work – you’ll do well with buying a home when the time comes. As for the name, I’ll join the millions begging you to keep the PDITF title (cue up It’s the Eye of the Tiger, etc.)

40 Sandy L

Maybe you should name your new blog “Punch spouse in the face” and you can talk about your newlywed life. Then when kids come along, you can re-name it again “punch kids in the face” and talk all about child rearing. Totally kidding here. Your blog name is great..no need to change.

41 Bankruptcy Ben

Congratulations man. hopefully you’ll help other people punch debt in the face too!

42 Retirehappy

Does Girl Ninja have student loan debt? Because if so, you guys can continue punching debt in the face once married. By the way, an interesting blog post could be to talk about your marriage plans w/respect to finances. Are you going to merge them? Keep them separate? I’m always interested to hear what others do about that.
My husband and I merged our finances, but we married young and so neither of us had anything at the time. He didn’t co-sign the majority of my student loans, which is a good thing, and we are trying to pay down the one he did right now. We do keep separate “splurge” accounts, into which I put an agreed-upon amount each month (right now $200) that becomes our spending money for the month. We love the system. :-D

43 Samantha @ Food Edu

Wow, I have been reading your blog for awhile now and I have never commented, but congratulations! You are an inspiration to someone like me who has a loan of a similar size and wants it paid off! And I love how you “popped a cap in her a$$”-lol

44 Tiffany

Congrats! Your post inspired me to throw and extra 300 at that witch…and to pull a spreadsheet of all my debts together with the principal, APR, and estimated pay off time…

AND to create a comprehensive household monthly budget..

so…great post!

45 Meebs

Ninja. Love the site. Never turn your back on the stick figures, or the punching. We salute your mighty day. Keep punching, master puncher.

46 Abbey

Ninja, kind sir, you have made an awesome accomplishment! I can not wait to punch sallie mae in the face myself! keep up the great blog, i will forever be a follower…konichiwa bitches.

47 Laura

I still have debt to punch in the face, so you can keep the website name and help all the rest of us. :)

Can’t wait for the day I can post that I am debt free. I am keeping my fingers crossed this time next year!

48 Steph/seenonflickr

Belated congratulations!!

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