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In this series, NerdWallet interviews people who have triumphed over debt. Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Okeoma Moronu fell from one major life decision to the next. She went to law school in New York City because people said she had a knack for law. And the more than $200,000 in student loans she needed to fund that degree? She figured that was just par for the course.

But when Moronu had to confront the reality of how much she owed — and was paying in interest — the young lawyer realized she needed to take a more purposeful approach to life and her finances.

So she dedicated herself to what she calls her “happiness journey.” A big part of that journey was freeing herself from the $3,000 monthly student loan payment that stretched her budget despite making $160,000 her first year out of law school.

After paying off $212,000 in 6.5 years, Moronu and her young family now live in Costa Rica and continue to focus more on happiness and less on burdensome debt.

Moronu chronicles her journey on her blog, “ The Happy Lawyer Project .” She recently talked with NerdWallet to share her story, which may inspire your own debt-free journey . Track your spending the easy way

Tracking your spending by hand is tedious. Throw away your paper budget and sign up for NerdWallet to make managing your money easy. How much debt did you have and what’s your debt load now?

I had $212,000 in student loans.

My husband and I currently have a $70,000 mortgage on rental properties and a $20,000 balance on a 0% annual percentage rate credit card that covered the remaining balance on our house in Costa Rica, which we mostly paid cash for and expect to pay off by February. How did you get into debt? Law school. I was completely in over […]

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