Money Talks, So Should You

Sweet Spot: Congratulations, you’ve paid off your student loan

by Rachelskirts, Dimespring 30 (@rachelskirts)

Two weeks ago, I received the most beautiful email of all time. Better than a note of encouragement from a family member, better than a job acceptance notification, better than a love letter. "Congratulations! Our records indicate that the above Perkins loan has been paid in full."

I have re-read that opening sentence approximately 34 million times, and it still puts a great big smile on my face. I now better understand what Dave Ramsey says over and over again that "personal finance is 80 percent behavior and only 20 percent head knowledge."

READ: Crisis Button: I'm about to miss a college loan payment!

He and others also talk about the importance of creating momentum when paying down debts, and now that I've paid off the first of many student loans, I can testify to that.

I have a renewed sense of purpose in maintaining an accurate budget and controlling my spending. I can more easily walk away from an online shopping cart full of things I once considered necessities. In fact, I'm so invigorated that I might just paint those words on my bedroom wall, so I can revel in them more regularly.

(Just kidding. I haven't budgeted for paint anyway.)

The loan I paid off wasn't a very large one in comparison, and it barely put a dent in the $80,000 in student loan debt I carry. But I'm not bothered by that. I am looking forward to paying off four other small loans and credit cards. I am looking forward to taking on whatever extra work I can speed up this process. I am looking forward to more successes and more progress and more paid-in-full parties.

INFOGRAPHIC: The cost of a date across the U.S.

Throughout this process, I am definitely learning discipline and the value of setting and committing to a big goal, but I think another important lesson I'm finding is that a "sweet spot" doesn't have to be huge. It really is worthwhile to celebrate the little things.

Rachelskirts is a 20-something graphic designer from Chicago. She is passionate about many things and has mad skills in penmanship, playing piano, knowing exactly when to use a semicolon, finding the perfect font, organizing bookshelves, and befriending unfriendly cats. Rachelskirts is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.