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I've read a lot of these 'triumphant' posts about paying loans and it always turns out the person was an engineer and got a huge bonus, or lived at home, or came into inheritance, or something. I was pretty frustrated by this when I started reading PF, because of course those people can pay their loans! I tried to the best of my ability to adhere to the advice on this sub about loans and budgeting and it’s working so far. I thought my post could provide some insight for others in similar situations with no safety net. I graduated college in 2015 with $15,000 in debt, in four federal loans ranging from 3.5% to 7% interest. I know this isn't a lot of debt compared to the average. I didn't start seriously paying it until December of 2016 and paid it off completely as of today. I left home at 17 and have been in the service industry ever since. I went to a CUNY school and got an arts degree in a field I love I don’t regret it for a second. What I do regret is that after four years of working full time as a waitress in college just to pay rent ($1000 a month because NYC) and general expenses, I was straight up irresponsible with money for a year after graduating because I finally had free time. I spent from $300 to $800/week drinking and going out. I own a $1000 handbag and yes, I bought a lot of avocado toast. All of my friends had trust funds and could spend hundreds going out and there I was, playing along. I was keeping up with the Jonses in the worst way and was breaking even at best. By the time I got serious about finances, I was $3k in credit card debt, too. I was paying the minimum on my loans ($142) with no end in sight. So I did a complete overhaul: -Moved to the West coast. Rent is now $650 a month instead of $1000. Utilities are $30-50 compared with $100+, No cable. -I don’t own a car or a bike. I live downtown and walk everywhere. Yes, it is limiting, but I spend a maximum of $20/month on uber if I need to. Still way cheaper than owning a car, and cheaper than my metrocard in NY. It also forces me to explore my neighborhood and be more creative. -Got a job actually in my field!! But pay was $15 and hour for anywhere between 5 and 25 hours a week. Obviously not liveable but something for my resume. -So I got a serving job. This was four nights a week, but because I’m not in San Francisco or something I was making between $80-150 a night. -Got another serving job that paid a little better, one night a week and two days (meaning doubles on the weekend) so I was now working Monday to Friday in the morning at the job in my field, Wednesday-Friday nights as a server in two restaurants, and doing back-to-back doubles every weekend (9AM-1AM). -I cancelled a $75 gym membership and bought a yoga mat and some weights. -Moving to the west coast helped a lot because my state has a high minimum wage for servers instead of the $5/hr I was making in NY. I think it will help me on taxes next year. -I used Mint and tracked every. Single. Penny. I know where every dollar between December and June went and hold myself personally responsible for it. I started making coffee at home. My SO and I meal prep together. We go to the reduced price movie night at the local theater, happy hours or bottomless brunches, and any free event our city offers. We are rarely bored! -I set my loan autopay to $600/month, and any extra leftover from the month went straight to the loans. I was averaging $1000/week working 7 days a week, in twelve “shifts.” I paid off the credit cards first and by January was making payments of $1500+ per month to my loans in addition to the autopay. My final payment was for $2k. There were a lot of times when it sucked, when I fought with my SO about us not taking vacations, when I was neglecting my personal life because I was pretty much always working. It was not easy. But now it’s all paid off! I spent a lot of time feeling like I may as well be living in a van down by the river, but seeing the zero balance is extremely satisfying and it was all worth it. I have quit two of my three jobs and am pursuing something in my field without the weight of my loans on my shoulders. I guess I really just wanted to say that not everyone on PF has a trust fund, and it IS possible to get your finances in control without one. The best advice is to use Mint or a budget tracker and avoid lifestyle creep. I know my debt will seem insignificant to most people, but this was life changing for me. **Edit - TL;DR:** I paid $15k in loans in 7 months as a waitress by moving to a low COL area, working three jobs seven days a week, using a budget, and avoiding lifestyle creep. **EDIT 2: I can't believe the support this post is getting! Thank you all for your responses, this is unreal for me. I'm working a double today but I'll be back later tonight and can respond to more of you.**