This is the fourth post in the new series called “How I Got Out of Debt” where I interview real people who have paid off real debt and been through some real struggles. All of this to show you that it is possible to pay off your debts sooner than 25 years after you graduate. You can find the other interviews here.
Name: Zina Kumok
Age: 26 years old
City: Indianapolis, IN
Debt Paid Off: $28,000
Time it Took: 3 years
Zina began blogging at DebtFreeAfterThree.com to hold herself accountable for paying off her student loan debt. She graduated with a degree in Journalism, and has been featured on many major news publications, including Time magazine and Lifehacker.
Tell us about the moment when you realized you needed to pay off your debt.
When I graduated from college and started my first job, I realized how much I hated paying my loans and that I wanted to pay them off as quickly as possible. When I got my first paycheck, I realized that my loans made up 20% of my take-home pay.
Between paying my $550 rent and traveling six hours to see my boyfriend every weekend, I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on myself. It was so frustrating to think about the hours I had spent working and interning just so I could shop at Aldi. I realized that if I didn’t want to continue living like that, I had to start paying off my loans seriously. That’s when I decided to see how quickly I could pay them off so I could really start to enjoy my life. I wanted to live frugally and save as much as I could.
How much debt did you pay off? Was it all student loans?
I paid off $28,000 in student loans in three years. I’ve only ever had student loans as far as debt goes.