3 Things I Didn’t Expect at the End of Paying Off $25k in Debt

In many ways, paying off $25,000 of student loans in 3 years was easy.

(Of course, I say that now that I’ve marked it off my Bucket List today.)

But here are some of the difficulties I faced that I wish I had known, along with this picture which shows that my “I’m too full at Thanksgiving” face is the same as my “I didn’t expect negative feelings once I paid off my loans” face.


1. It isn’t all excitement. I thought I would be so relieved and happy and ready to celebrate, which I have been. But I’ve also been exhausted from working overtime which also made me feel secluded from friends and family. I’ve been sick to my stomach at the thought that I worked so hard and have nothing to show for it (as in no savings, no house, no land). Instead I’ve just imagined 3 more years working this hard to reach other goals.

I don’t regret it; I’m glad to be rid of the weight of loans. I learned a lot in college, had amazing experiences, and met incredible people I’ve kept in touch with. I don’t know what experiences I would have had or who I would have met if I hadn’t gone to college, but if you haven’t gone to college, please realize that even if you were only making $5,000/yr after room and board, you could have about $30,000 in savings by the time you’re my age.

I have zero.

And the repayment process has been anti-climactic: for months I dreamed about hitting that “pay all” button, but I got it down so low that it was just like making another payment. I just wish I’d known this semi-depression was even possible after such an exciting accomplishment.


2. You’ll want to make big purchases towards the end. Don’t.

It seemed the last 3 or 4 months were the slowest for me. I’d spent years paying off this debt, but the sum had always been so huge that it seemed like I was paying it off at a good pace–not as if I should be able to pay it off in one week. I was doing great! Toward the end, though, I was all, “If I made more money, I could pay it faster,” and “Wow, I’m almost done paying them off. What will I do next?” This question got me into a lot of trouble because what I wanted to do next was going to cost money. I was frustrated that my loans had kept me from so much. I got impatient and signed up for classes and even this blog, which put me a couple of weeks behind my goal. I wanted to spend even more (I mean, what blogger doesn’t have her own laptop?), but thankfully my mom reminded me of Dave Ramsey’s story about Gazelle Intensity. That’s exactly how I felt.


3. You can pay too much too quickly on your debt. That doesn’t seem right.

Until you consider that I put so much toward my student loans one week that I didn’t have any money left for gas to go to work. I shared this with someone who said she had done the same thing. It wasn’t a big deal because she paid the credit card off, but it’s something to consider if you don’t have credit cards or some other back up plan.

You can also overpay through your time. I worked 26 days in a row, which I do not recommend. I feel like I need 2 months off now to rebuild all my relationships. I also worked so much that I missed out on some deals that would have saved me hundreds of dollars. Insurance would have nearly covered the cost of a year’s supply of contacts and a pair of glasses. I would have paid about $40, but instead I paid over $400 for glasses and half a year’s supply of contacts because I was too busy to go to the appointment before my insurance ran out.



I hope you are more prepared than I was if this is in your future, or that you find comfort in it if you thought you were the only one.

So many people have shown interest in my financial journey that I am pleased to offer Dealing with Debt, a FREE 4-week course in which I will share (1)what I gave up, (2) what I’m glad I did, (3) what I would do differently, and (4) what resources I used.

I had considered just doing a blogpost, but it’s really too much information for that. Plus, I don’t want people to just stumble upon one post and feel like it’s the whole picture. Also, I don’t have a section for it on my blog (yet).


Even if you’ve already paid off your debt, I would love for you to participate so that I could share your input with the rest of the “class.”

If you’re interested in Dealing with Debt, simply sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page.  (Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time.) You’ll then receive an email from me with the link to all 4 topics.

I can’t wait to share more with you.


For now, Live Tiny & Dream Big!


Steven Harrell: Tiny House Listings

I appreciate Steven Harrell of Tiny House Listings taking the time to sign my traveling guest book by answering a few questions about tiny houses. I met him at one of Deek’s Tiny House Workshops. If I had known how big Steven’s website is, I would have been starstruck…which I never noticed until now is a word very similar to my last name. I digress.

Here’s his entry. Enjoy!

In case you can’t read it in the image, here are my questions & his answers:

a) For you, what’s one of the biggest appeals of a tiny house? (While writing his answers, he pointed out the irony in this question of the BIGGEST appeal of a TINY house…I hadn’t even realized I’d done that. Also, he’s such an overachiever, always giving more than he’s asked for. Or maybe he’s just rebellious…or generous. Either way, here are his TWO appeals of a tiny house.)  freedom, less resources used

b) How long have you lived in a tiny house? Zero seconds

(I think this is what he was referring to when he handed me the journal and said something like, “I just put some stupid answers.” Well, ask a stupid question…)

c) What’s the hardest thing about it? Fitting my beer (I typed that as “bear” first, which would also be a difficulty, I imagine.) in it.

d) How much did it cost? (or what’s your goal cost?) Will cost about 25k

e) What inspired you to build a tiny house? Tiny houses mean less bills, less bills mean less answering to people which is pretty awesome.

f) What’s the best thing you’ve learned at this workshop? That my public speaking skills are far inferior to deek’s

g) What advice would you give someone considering a tiny house? Vacation in one

(I love this idea! Makes me want to vacation in one and also rent mine out once I finish it…you know, after I start it.)

h) Is it ok if I post your answers to my blog? yes

(He kindly proceeded to steal a page from this traveling journal to write down my website. So I tell him it’s “TrueStories–” He’s already like, “Seriously?” I continue “JournalEntries,” pausing to let him write it. Then I add, “It gets worse…Letters. Dot. Blogspot.com. Yeah, I’m gonna start a new one.” Here ya go, Steven. Better?)




To learn how to start a traveling guest book (& why you should), check out this blog post.


Be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page so that you don’t miss other posts like this. I also include some things there that don’t end up on the blog.


Keep living tiny & dreaming big!

Living in a Tiny House

One of the best things about Deek’s Tiny House workshop I attended last month was being able to go inside tiny houses that were already lived in.

I really loved Jessica’s and was able to interview her while there.

She’s 26 and lives in a 218 sq. ft. house (including the loft) with her 4 year old daughter.


Here are my questions & her answers:


  • How long have you lived in a tiny house? 8 months
  • What’s the hardest thing about it? Getting used to it–picking what you need in your life
  • What inspired you to build a tiny house? Changing job/divorce/money
  • What advice would you give someone considering a tiny house? Don’t give up on it. The beginning will be tough. After a while, you’ll find ways that it’s better than what you had before. For example, not having to clean as much!



I think she said it takes her about 20 minutes to clean the whole house.  It was really cute, too! She said it isn’t always that clean, though. She and her daughter also adjusted to living tiny by being able to put some of the 4 year old’s toys at Grandma’s house. She also lives on the property. Both of their houses were built by Jessica’s brother who also lives there.  “Community is great for big families…if you are family oriented,” Jessica added with a laugh. “[Living in a tiny house] also helps with being outside because there isn’t lots of room inside.”

The people at the workshop added this tree house with a wall of windows to their backyard during our weekend there:




I hope this inspires you to live tiny & dream big! Sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page for even more inspiration and updates as I post.

Deep Well Ventures Giveaway

This is an amazing business just getting underway, & I’m so excited about it. Even if you don’t enter the giveaway, go like the Facebook page to let them know they have your support!

Stainless Steel Water Bottle (H2OPE)

Not only do I love the creative & meaningful logo on their water bottles, but I love the fact that they support mission work from providing clean water to caring for orphans. Plus, I love drinking water & encouraging others to be healthy. These water bottles are great reminders, & you can sign up today to win one along with a Starbucks gift card! You’re welcome.


So you don’t miss deals like this in the future, & so you can keep up with other fun posts, please sign up for my newsletter near the top right of the page. I hope to include special info and opportunities that I haven’t even posted on the site. These emails will only be sent out once or twice a month for now, but I hope to make them something you wish would be more frequent! 🙂 Maybe I’ll be able to arrange that. And of course you’ll be able to unsubscribe any time if you end up finding them to not be useful.


Thanks for reading…and may the odds be ever in your favor!


Live Tiny; Dream Big!

14 Favorites: Movies Based on a True Story

1. Fruitvale Station (Rent it or watch the trailer here) Warning: It’s rated R. Also a tearjerker.


2. Faith Like Potatoes I’m not a big fan of the title, but I just love the story & quality of this film.


3. Freedom Writers (Rent it or watch the trailer here) Teacher makes a difference in the lives of troubled youth.


4. The Rookie (Rent it or watch the trailer here) Baseball & inspiration.


5. 42 Another Inspiring baseball movie. Jackie Robinson.


6. The Blind Side (Rent or watch the trailer here) Football is my favorite sport. I like Sandra Bullock & Tim McGraw, too.


7. Amistad (Rent or watch the trailer here) Matthew McConaughey. Need I say more? Well, I’m going to. It also has Morgan Freeman and was directed by Steven Spielberg. Plus, you can buy the dvd for only $6!


8. Miss Potter (Rent or watch the trailer here) I remember thinking, “I seriously would not mind having her life.” This is probably my personal favorite of all of these. As a writer, dreamer, & creative-type, Beatrix Potter’s life story is so inspiring. Ger the dvd for only $5.96. I might actually have to do this myself as I don’t think I even have a copy!


9. Becoming Jane (Rent or watch the trailer here) While we’re on the topic of amazing female British authors, Jane Austen is played by none other than Anne Hathaway.


10. The Young Victoria (Click the image to buy or watch the trailer.) My friends and their love of  many things British really rubbed off on my in college. This movie about Queen Victoria was one of many gems I got from that season of my life.


11. Bright Star (Click the image to buy the dvd for only $6.38) While in England, we visited one of the poet John Keats’ homes. This movie influenced that decision for me. It was lovely.


12. The Other Side of Heaven (Click the image to buy this for only $5 on dvd.) This Disney movie stars Anne Hathaway. It’s a really sweet and memorable movie. I need to watch it again now that I’ve been out of the country a few times.


13. Undefeated (Rent or watch the trailer here) This is a documentary but didn’t really seem like it to me. Once again, I love football. I also am a sucker for stories about inner city youth. This one is set in Memphis.


14. Band of Brothers (Click the image to watch the trailer or buy the first episode…which is an hour & 14 minutes long…for $4.99) Technically it’s an HBO mini series and not a movie, but it’s so good! They have clips of interviews with the real men in each episode.


These are affiliate links which means I receive a portion of the sales. This money goes to helping me run this site as well as chasing my big dreams. I do not use affiliate links for products I don’t support. In fact, I signed up for it because I realized there were so many items I was going to share on this site anyway because I think more people should know about them.



Please tell me your favorite true stories so I can watch them! I’m sure I’ve left some of mine out.

Win My Favorite True Story

Learning to Breathe Again by Tammy Trent


This has been my favorite book of all time since I finished it on December 26, 2005. Yeah, I got it for Christmas & read it in a day.

I got her to sign it years later. She’s still sharing her great story as a speaker. Here’s what me & some of the people I got to read it thought (sorry about where it got wet…it’s been through a lot):

Enter to win a paperback copy of this wonderful book by signing up for my newsletter at the top right of this page. Then leave a comment below so I’ll know you’re interested!

One more thing I love about this book is that Tammy shares her journey of her big dream and the struggles and successes that come along with that.

Live Tiny, Dream Big!