Consider this post the equivalent of my debt free scream! As of 10/7/2015, I have officially paid off my Sallie Mae / Navient student loan debt!

Yes, I know that this post is long overdue and I should have shouted this from the rooftops last month, but it is better late than never!

The Backstory

Back in 2013, Hubby and I welcomed our first child into our family. We knew before getting married and becoming parents that I would stay at home to raise any children that we had, but I was unsettled at the fact that as I left the workforce, I still had over $14k in student loans that needed to be repaid and I had no income (outside of my husband’s) to pay it off.

We were content for a while with paying only the minimum balance, but reality hit me one day after my student loans were sold to Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae sent me a letter detailing my payoff schedule. They estimated that if I only paid the minimum balance each month, I would pay off my loans in 2023. That would mean that my daughter would be 10 years old when I made my last student loan payment.

It was at that moment that I set out to bring in some extra money to get rid of those loans and that’s precisely why I ventured down the path of becoming a reseller (…the results of this endeavor has been detailed on this blog).

One year ago today, I sold my first item on Amazon as a merchant fulfilled seller after having taken a 6 year hiatus from selling books.

One year ago today, I heard of this thing called “Fulfillment By Amazon.”

One year ago today, I listed a package of photo paper on Amazon to see if I would have better luck selling it there than I was on eBay.

One year ago today, I sold that photo paper on Amazon for $3.99 + a $3.99 shipping credit.

One year ago today, I realized that other stuff besides books sells pretty fast on Amazon and that I should probably look into this “FBA” thing to see what all the hype was about.

One year ago today, I learned what “Q4” meant but I didn’t know how to get in on the action.

…fast forward to today…

One year ago today marks the first sale I made after taking a 6 year break from selling on Amazon. This is a reminder of how far I've come and where I can go from here...

One year ago today marks the first sale I made after taking a 6 year break from selling on Amazon. This is a reminder of how far I’ve come and where I can go from here…

Today was the first time since I’ve started selling via Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) that I’ve actually seen something other than $0.00 in the “Same day last year” column. I consider today to be a milestone for me because I now have something to compare my sales to. This time last year, I sold two (2) items for the entire month of December for a total of $8.98. I was frustrated with my eBay sales and I was looking for another revenue stream to help me bring in extra money to get rid of my student loans and the speed in which those items sold was enough for me to really research what FBA was.

This past week has been filled with tons of problems on the Amazon FBA home front. I typically would not share a blog post like this one because I don’t want to look like a “Negative Nancy,” but in an effort to be transparent and show that everything isn’t always roses when selling online, here a just a few of the issues that have been going on behind the scenes.

Issue #1: $300 worth of returns 8 days into the month…

You’d think I was selling defective products looking at that amount of money, but the $300 worth of returns that I’m dealing with are from selling two (2) items. One item sold for over $200, however, the buyer changed their mind and sent it back and now Amazon has labeled it as “customer damaged.” I already put in a removal request to have it shipped back to me, but in the meantime, I contacted customer support regarding the issue. They went out of their way to have someone in the warehouse locate the item and take photographs of the condition for me.

I will be honest and say my stomach turned when I saw that this particular item had been refunded. I can always recoup the money, but if the item was/is destroyed, it cannot be resold because it is a health and beauty product — a $200+ health and beauty product. (I think from here on out I will leave these sort of products to eBay…oh wait…I already did that and the ‘buyer’ never paid…)

[/end sarcasm]

Preparing to process 1/6 of my plush…

This week I learned my lesson about being greedy. Unfortunately it was a $100+ lesson.

My personality is one in which when I do something, I tend go all out. Sometimes this can work against me.

This past week I started actively searching for more valuable plush to sell. Normally I don’t spend more than 2 minutes in the plush section, but this time I actually began to really get dirty and dig through every rack of plush. I started from one end and worked my way to the other end and repeated until I searched every nook and cranny from top to bottom.

At the first store, my hard work resulted in approximately 25 plush/stuffed animals. These ranged from Ralph Lauren bears to larger than life Yo Gabba Gabba plush and even a Duffy bear.

Sounds awesome right?!? WRONG!

You see, once I hit one thrift store, over the next two days, I visited another two and racked up a $116.00 tab along the way. At each store I kept finding more valuable plush. I was on fire…until I got home and started to process my plush treasures.

Treasure into Trash…

Unfortunately, the bulk of my stuffed animals were purchased from Goodwill. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the “geniuses” over at Goodwill decided to use permanent marker to mark prices on 95% of the tush tags on my plush. If you didn’t know: permanent marker + delicate fabric = EPIC PERMANENT FAIL.

Student loans: Probably the worst decision I ever made.

Reselling things for profit: Probably the best decision I ever made to pay off my loans faster.

Welcome to my blog! It has been in the works for quite a while, but I finally sat down to write my first post and join the blogosphere (again…fresh…anew). This blog encompasses a little bit of everything, but its main focus is to document my journey towards paying off my student loans — and hopefully before 2023.

How it All Began…

I won’t bore you with how I racked up student loan debt, but I will say that I had no intentions of ever taking out loans that amounted to this amount of money. In fact, I had a full-ride UC Regents academic grant to attend college. It covered all but $500 of my tuition. Being 18 without $500 to my name, I decided that I would take out a loan to cover that remaining balance.

..I thought that would be the end of my encounter with student loans.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fast forward a year later, I left the UC system and started attending a CSU (California State University) college. Two years later and $12k poorer, I graduated.

I Hate Debt…With a Passion!

Fast forward to today. I’ve been out of college for over 6 years, but looking at the balance on my student loans, you would not know that. That balance will not budge! Although I made some poor financial decisions between 18-21 years of age, one of which required me to rehabilitate my student loans (successfully I might add), I feel as though I should have made a little progress, but instead it seems as though my balance is decreasing at a snails pace.