How I Paid Off My Student Loans in Less Than 3 Years {Podcast}

Do you feel like you’ve been paying on your student loans FOREVER? Or maybe you just graduated from college – CONGRATS! – but are dreading the fact that those student loan payments are finally coming due?

Joining us today is Angela Ozar, author of “Close Your Tab & Don’t Look Back, A Guide to Getting Out of Debt and Getting Ahead in the Real World.” She tells us how she paid off $30,000 in student loans in less than 3 years & is now on mission to help others manage their money and student loan debt after college.

Tell us a little about your story leading up to this point. 

  • $30K in student loan debt upon graduation (average today for undergrad is $37K)
  • Got a job right after college in corporate (4 years)
  • Paid off my debt in less than 3 years, while also saving aggressively for retirement
  • Spent 2 years at a non-profit helping women start businesses where I learned: the significance of what I had done and importance of paying off debt quickly and wrote about my method for fast tracking debt repayment

What are the common mistakes/traps students fall into after college graduation?

  • Keeping expenses low! (managing a substantial income for the first time)
  • Paying the minimum on their monthly loan payments
  • Not using their #1 advantage TIME
  • Need a sense of urgency

Did you use a budget?

Surprisingly, no! I attribute success to:Managing w hat I have well and maximizing my outputs, Self-discipline, Persistence

Did you have to sacrifice a lot?

  • No, not really
  • I traveled and bought pretty much what I wanted
  • Goes back to keeping daily and startup costs low
  • Recommend looking at what you care about and where you spend your money
  • Trade-offs not sacrifices: roommates, used furniture, used car so no car payments

How has paying off your debt quickly helped you?

  • Given me freedom over my choices (especially career)
  • Get what I want faster (travel, things, etc.)
  • It’s brought me security

What are your main takeaways for college graduates?

  • Have a sense of urgency paying off your debt (go above and beyond)
  • Spend money like your still in college, even though you have a “real job”
  • Start saving (3 to 6 months living expenses just in case)

What are your recommendations for high schoolers or parents of students?

  • Work while you’re in school (get a head start saving!)
  • Educate yourself on the financial aid process
  • Getting money for school
  • Knowing how much debt you’ll have (if any)
  • Being knowledgeable about your loan type
    1. Federal or private
    2. Interest rate
    3. When interest accrues

Do you recommend getting professional financial help?

Absolutely! I recommend getting a financial planner right after school to get a good handle on your finances.


Angela Ozar is the the author of Close Your Tab & Don’t Look Back, A Guide to Getting Out of Debt and Getting Ahead in the Real World. She paid off $30K in less than three years, and is now on mission to help others mange their money and student loan debt after college. 


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