I've been stalking this blog/forums since I discovered it in August. And we've finally made the first step, so I thought it was the right time to register and say hello. First, THIS is amazing and life-changing concept for me. I'm what others have termed a recovering shopaholic/middle class disease. So thank you, for showing me there is another way to live besides working in the slog for 30+ years.
About me (the Stella half)/us: We live in a small midwest town where I work at a private University. Landor is finishing his bachelor's (for FREE, part of my work benefits) at the same institution in the field of Medical Technology. We are both 26 years old, happily married without kids. Until the 29th of November, we owned a home that was way too expensive AND an hour drive from where I work and Landor takes classes. We were spending 2 hours on the road every day. So that is the first step that I talked about earlier. We sold the house for a small profit, and we are moving this weekend into a rental that is 2-1/2 blocks from campus and near to the grocery store and our credit union. We'll be selling one of our cars, and keeping the other only for visiting family out of town. We have a credit card but never carry a balance. That is mostly to boost our credit rating. So that's the good news.
The bad news is that between the two of us we have over $50,000 in student loan debt. We met while attending a different university, where I completed my degree and Landor attended for a few years before deciding that he was spending a lot of money and not knowing what he wanted to do with his life. He changed majors 4 times before quitting school. All of our student loan debt is from that period in our life. And we have a car loan that has been aggressively paid down, but we still owe $6,400 on it.
I make $52,500 a year before taxes. Landor is currently not employed, since he is finishing his degree. We just promised each other that we will never buy another car on credit, or sign another loan. So our plan is to aggressively pay down the student loans over the next few years. My best guess is that if we could throw an extra 1k payment at the highest interest loan each month, and then snowball from there, we will have all the student loans paid off in 28 months. Landor, however, will be graduating within that time. When he graduates, if he can get a job at the local hospital, the starting salary is about $40-50k a year for his profession. So at that point things will really take off because we can live comfortably on less than 20k a year (we have done it before and with help from these forums can do it again!) and have $80k between our two salaries to throw into early retirement.
We've also committed to not having kids until the student loans are paid off. And, Mr. & Mrs. Money Mustache have given me a lot of ideas for how to have kids on the cheap. That part of the long term plan is going to be a balance between how much we have saved and if one or both of us could be home full-time.
I'm looking forward to really interacting with people who can help us with our goals, and getting embedded in a like-minded community. If you have any suggestions for paying down debt or see a flaw in our master plan, please give suggestions!