Student Loan Conqueror Rosemarie from Faith Filled Debt Journey

Happy Tiny Friday friends! I’m excited for another installment of Student Loan Conquerors. Student Loan Conquerors is an interview series. I talk with some awesome people tackling their student loan debt head on. Finding out how they are doing it and what inspired them to start in the first place.

If you are interested in participating please contact me and share a little information about your student loan debt situation.

Today, I’m excited to have Rosemarie from Faith Filled Debt Journey. Rosemarie and her husband have already paid off $139k of their $245k debt. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. She’s an architect and now a homeschooling mom. She enjoys spending time with her family, crafts, and reading. Now onto the interview!

When Did Your Graduate & With What Degree?

I graduated undergrad in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Architectural Studies and my husband Ryan graduated undergrad as well in 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (Economics with a Business minor).

We then went to graduate school and my husband graduated in 2011 with a Master of Business Administration. I graduated in 2012 with a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Architecture.

What was the Maximum Amount of Student Loans You Owed and Where do You Stand Now?

The maximum amount of student loans that we owed was $220,000 and as of March 7, 2017, we are down to $99,214. 

Editor’s Note: If you have federal student loans and are struggling with your payments, consider utilizing an income-driven repayment plan at least temporarily.

If you have private loans or your debt to income ratio allows, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. I wrote a review about my experience refinancing my bar loan with SoFi. Refinancing with SoFi ended up saving me over $1k. Use one of my links to refinance and you’ll get a $100 bonus. 

When Did You Start to Focus on Your Student Loans & What Motivated You to do so?

We really started to focus on our student loans in June 2013. I was working after graduate school in my dream job and we just had our second child in March 2013. While working on our budget we realized that with a second child in daycare, because of our high loan payments, we would literally be spending more than we made every month! At this time we started to actually total up our debt and were absolutely overwhelmed when we realized we had $241,000 in debt, mostly student loans.

The overwhelming hopeless feeling of how we would begin tackling our debt is what initially made us motivated to get rid of our loans fast. What motivated us to be even more gazelle intense, cutting every area of our budget and getting second jobs was my desire to be a stay at home mom and homeschool my children. Our student loans were literally like chains around our ankles preventing us from the desires of our heart and that motivated us to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

What is the One Action You’ve Taken that has Made the Biggest Difference in Your Finances?

Working together with my spouse to do our budget. Working with my husband to pay off our student loans makes us feel like we are fighting the same problem instead of letting our student loans tear us apart. 

Creating monthly budgets TOGETHER allow us to prioritize our values and keep seeing the progress of our student loans to keep us motivated.

What is the Best Piece of Financial Advice You’ve Received?

“Live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else” – Dave Ramey

This piece of advice from Dave Ramsey is one we repeat to ourselves almost daily when we struggle with contentment. Anytime we are tired of paying off debt and wish we could use the money to spend or travel; we think of our future where we can help more people and live a life free of financial stress.

What is One Piece of Advice You Would Give to Others Paying Down Student Loans?

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when paying off student loans but don’t get stuck there.  Do something every single day to lower your expenses, increase your income, and help you throw extra at your debt.

If You Could do it All Over Again, Would You? Why or Why Not?

I would do it but I would probably make some changes regarding the loans that I took out. I was very intentional about getting 100% of my freshman year paid for through scholarships.

Even though we worked throughout college I would’ve been more intentional about every single dollar I was taking out in loans. I also would’ve thought more about the ROI of my Master of Business Administration in addition to my Master of Architecture and not just the academic achievement it would bring me.

(editor’s note: “not just the academic achievement it would bring me.” hits right in the gut.)

Oftentimes with student loan debt when your plans change, you fall into a trap of the hypothetical “do it all over again” situation. Especially with deciding to stay at home I sometimes feel guilty of the student loans I incurred. What I’ve learned is that you absolutely must forgive yourself for not knowing what you know now.  

Are You Actually Utilizing Your Degree? If Not, Why Not?

I did utilize my degree for the 3 years I was working at my dream job of a healthcare architect. In the most direct sense, I am not actually utilizing my degree at this moment because we decided I would become a stay at home homeschooling mom.

I view my degree as not just the information that I learned specific to my career path. My degrees is also the skills I learned which I still utilize today. You can read more about how I came to accept my loans and am happy with my decision here.

My husband does use both of his degrees in his current career field.

Anything You’d Like to Plug/Share with LDMW Readers?

If you’d like to know more about our debt journey to pay off $245,000 and find encouragement on your journey please visit me on I offer lots of tips for budgeting family finances, paying off debt, frugal living, and tips to transition to a stay at home mom.

The End.

Thank you, Rosemarie! I appreciate you being a part of Student Loan Conqueror Series. I’m excited for your journey toward student loan debt freedom (I’ll see you there someday)!

What actions do you take to crush debt day in and day out?

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