It’s the choices we make that can affect us from the very get-go. Technical school or four-year college? Travel abroad? Volunteer? Luckily for member Andrew Addleman, his choices made him debt-free.
“It started in high school,” says Addleman. “I didn't want to take out lots of money just to go to school.” Addleman achieved his goal, attending community college for his associate's degree, then a four-year school for his bachelor's degree. The end result? Addleman only took out a jaw-dropping $5,000 in total school loans—just a fraction of the debt most students graduate with nowadays.
“It's why I was able to pay off my car so fast,” explains Addleman. Oh, yeah – there's a car story. Addleman paid off his BECU auto loan in a year and posted about the feat on Instagram. BECU saw it and were so stoked by his story, we wanted to know more: How did he pay off the car so quickly?
“I paid off my car with diligent spending,” says Addleman. “It took having a budget and setting a goal. I wanted to be debt-free by the end of 2016, and I stuck with it.”
Wow! Was paying off the auto loan easy, or did he make extra payments? “It just came out of my checking account,” says Addleman. “I didn't have to do anything.”
In fact, Addleman especially did not “do anything” when it came to extra spending: “Budgeting didn't stop me from doing fun things that I wanted to do,” Addleman insists. “It's the going out to eat on weekdays, or spending that doesn't need to happen during the week.”
Addleman touches on a sensitive point – most of us enjoy spending money, and spending it all week long on things we do – and also don't – need. How did he learn to be so disciplined? “My dad was always smart about his money,” explains Addleman. “I think it rubbed off on me.”
Feel like sharing some of that Addleman Advice? “If I could give others advice,” says Addleman, “it would be to explore your options. If you think that you're going to get a better education going to a four-year university the entire four years, you're probably not. Get an associate's degree and then finish up and save half the money.”
Addleman's responsibility hasn't just paid off his short-term loans, but is paying off for his long-term goals: Addleman is saving for a future house purchase. We can't wait to see the post where he's paid that off. We love hearing how our members manage their money! Have a great story? Submit it here or post on social with the hashtag #WeAreBECU.