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Graduating Debt-Free!

Guest post by Anne Jisca

My husband and I met in college and got married after our 2nd year. He went on with his studies, pursuing a Master’s degree part-time while working.

Now, after six years of marriage, he will be completing his degree this spring. Throughout those years, we have learned to make do with little, and to keep our student loans to a minimum.

This past summer, we set ourselves a high goal of doing whatever it takes to pay off our student loans this year, so that he can graduate debt-free. It seemed unrealistic on my husband’s salary (I’m a stay-at-home-mom), but we sat down and determined how much we would need to pay into the loan every month to have it paid off, and found ways to make that happen:

  • We contacted the loan agency and applied for interest relief, for a period of six months. That means six months of saving the interest to apply to the principle!
  • We’ve lowered our grocery budget. We were already eating inexpensively, but we lowered it even more. What that means is mostly eating less meat and replacing it with beans and legumes that I soak and cook myself.
  • We’re purging our house of unused items and selling them through a yard sale and on the internet.
  • We had bake sales, and I continue to sell baked goods from home.
  • We minimized our spending money, and find cheap or free ways to make memories as a family.
  • Any extra money we get, however small the amount, goes towards our student loan.

While not every way of making and saving money has panned out, we are still making progress that we would not have made otherwise. It’s not always easy or fun to limit ourselves in this way, but the anticipation to be debt-free (aside from mortgage) by graduation is worth every effort!

Anne Jisca is a wife, and a Mom to two little boys. She loves to cook and bake, seeking to feed her family healthy (but yummy!) foods. She shares her recipes at Anne Jisca’s Healthy Pursuits.

photo credit

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Gluten-Free Coupons and Deals

Here are the best gluten-free deals and coupons available this week, compiled by Janelle from Gluten Freely Frugal:

Gluten-Free Coupons: $0.40/1 Frigo String Cheese, $0.95/2 Dole Frozen Fruit, $0.50/1 Lifeway BioKefir 4-pack, $0.75/1 Lundberg Brown Rice Pasta, $1/1 Simply 7 Snacks, $1/1 thinkThin Crunch bar, and $1/2 Cracker Barrel products. For a full list of available gluten-free coupons, go here.

Amazon Deals Galore: Amazon has an abundance of gluten-free deals this week, including Chebe mixes for $2.06/package, Annie’s Rice Pasta & Cheddar for $2.16/box, thinThin bars for $1.11/bar, Pamela’s cookies for $2.17/box, Sesmark Rice Thins for $1.31/package, Food Should Taste Good 1-ounce bags for $0.36 each, Oskri Bars for $0.65/bar, and much more!

Half Off Glutino, Bob’s Red Mill, and More: Eversave is currently offering up a $24 voucher to Lucky Vitamin (an online drugstore similar to Vitacost) for only $12. If you are new to Eversave, you will get a $2 credit on sign-up, making this deal just $10. Lucky Vitamin sells many favorite gluten-free brands.

Gluten-Free Cosmetics at Half Price: If you need gluten-free skin care and cosmetics, this is a great deal for you! Living Social is offering a $50 voucher to Purity Cosmetics for only $25.

Triumph Dining Guide 52% Off: Gluten-Free Saver is currently offering 52% off the Triumph Dining Essential Gluten-Free Dining Guide with free shipping. You’ll pay just $14 for this phenomenal grocery guide, which has each item’s gluten-free status organized by brand.

Giveaways: There is still time to enter the Amy’s Kitchen Giveaway, which ends tomorrow evening. Amy’s is giving away three free product coupons. In addition, Gluten Freedom is giving away three baking mixes from XO Baking Company.

Janelle is wife to Brad, who is celiac, and mom to 2 sweet girls, one of whom is celiac, and the other showing signs of gluten intolerance. She blogs about the gluten free life on a budget, including coupons, deals, recipes, and other money-saving tips at Gluten Freely Frugal.