Today I pulled out a file in my cabinet that's been gathering dust since 2007: STUDENT LOAN. In 2007, I paid that sucker off, and I haven't looked back since. Well, except to check my credit report. I wanted to make sure the nightmare was really over, after all. It wasn't too much of a nightmare, really. With interest, I owed a little over $12,000. But when you're making $10 an hour and dreaming of moving out of your parents' house, it sure seems like a nightmare. I graduated in December 2005 and received my “Hey, we're about to start charging you interest” letter five months later. I soon became hell-bent on getting out of debt. At the time, I carried a small credit card debt that originated from a pair of Doc Martens I bought in high school and never wore. It started off as $100 and then quickly spiraled into $900 partially because I only ever paid the minimum amount. I was young, dumb and hid this from my parents, who would've been pissed. They're probably pissed now. Shortly after graduating, I got my first “real” job. I was salaried, I had health benefits, and I was making more money than I ever had. I got an apartment and was excited to pay off that $900. But the student loan would be kicking in soon. My dad was reading Dave Ramsey at the time, and he was insistent that I pay off my debt. Between this and the horror stories I'd hear of people's student loan drama, I was encouraged that mine wasn't an overwhelming amount - I could pay it off soon, I thought. Way sooner than the 20 years they'd determined on my repayment schedule. Paying off student loan debt early isn't for everyone. But I had a private loan that I shouldn't have taken out in the first place. It carried a variable 8 percent interest rate, and at the time, I had no desire to try to out-earn my student loan interest by investing. Most importantly, I just wanted this debt out of my life. So here's what I did.