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How I Cleared My PTPTN Debt

I remember the day when my PTPTN debt was cleared.

I couldn’t wipe the wide grin off my face as I walked out of the PTPTN office to my car.

I AM FREE!!! 

A few years before my cause of jubilation, I was getting warning letters from PTPTN stating that if I didn’t start paying, they are going to see me in court.

I was rather disgruntled that I had to pay my PTPTN – not because I think it is my right to have free higher education but because I was so close to getting my loan waived. I don’t know if it is still applicable now but during my time (not very long ago lah okay), those who graduated with First Class Honours can apply to get their loan waived. I was 0.02 marks away.

 

Okay, my rant is over.

But, maybe YOUR rant is still not over. That is why I am penning this down, dedicating this to those of you struggling to relinquish the PTPTN debt.

 

Mindset Matters

When I got my first warning letter, I was behind my payment by more than RM5,000. As a new graduate, how in the world was I going to get that money to pay? I was embarrassed, but I didn’t know where to start.

 

What did I do?

 

I slipped the letter between my parents’ read letters. More came as the months passed, but they all ended up at the same pile. I think it’s still there, because my parents rarely go through already-opened letters.

 

Later, I stumbled upon Mr Stingy’s blog post on how he cleared his RM58k education loan and got empowered!

 

“I can do this,” I told myself, even though I didn’t know how to. But mindset matters. Instead of looking at the issue from an angle of defeat, I stationed myself from a position of pre-victory.

 

I logged onto my PTPTN account, dared myself to look at the numbers, and set an aim on when I wanted to settle it. I gave myself 5 years to tackle RM52k in debt.

 

There was no lucrative pay or “loan” from my parents. It was all mindset and hard work!

 

Set Up An Auto Debit

This is not difficult. All you have to do is head over to the PTPTN office and tell the officer that you want to start an auto-debit payment to deduct from your salary, or bank account where your salary goes in. Ask the official about your required monthly repayment, and you can increase it if you want to. Mine was about RM150 a month, but I told them to up it to RM300 to quicken my repayment duration.

 

When I did that, I got a 10% off from my total payment. By paying RM300, PTPTN gives me an extra RM30 cut every month. Technically, I was paying RM330 with RM300.

 

Appeased the Warning With An Upfront Payment

Okay, I was quite scared about the warning letters I got from a few months ago. I don’t want to go to court and be charged and end up in jail – a bit far fetched, but please excuse my imagination.

 

I asked the official.

“Urm, cik, aku dapat warning letter beberapa kali dah, macam mana ya?”

(I got a few warning letters, how do I go about it?)

 

She told me it was no biggie.

 

However, to be able to sleep well that night, I told her I’d pay RM1,000 first – which was almost half my salary at that time. It is a good thing I like having bread for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes, dinner.

 

Paid More Than The Required Amount

After a few months of checking the total amount that I still need to pay, it looks as if nothing changed. I realised there was interest charged every month plus additional fees.

 

OMG, is this mountain of debt going to be gone?

 

Time to restructure my finances, yet again.

 

This time, I dedicated an extra RM150 a month on top of what is auto-debited out of my account. However, this does not give me an extra 10% discount.

 

Hustling was also a good way to get extra cash on hand to dump into my repayment.

 

Checked my PTPTN Statement Every Month

Okay, maybe I was a little obsessed. Sometimes I would check it a few times a week, staring at the figure, praying that it would go down without me paying. Alas, none of that nonsense.
 

However, it kept me on the goal. To fight my enemy was to know my enemy. And yes, I knew my enemy to the point where the sen made its way to my senses.

 

Used my EPF Savings

I am not sure if this was wise, but I did it anyway.

 

You can actually take out some money from your Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to repay your PTPTN loan.

 

After 3 years of working to pay off my debt, I decided to create a significant dip to my total loan amount. I transferred RM7,000 from my EPF to PTPTN.

 

Not gonna lie, I felt a significant weight lift off my shoulders.

 

CHEAT: I Used My Angpow Money From My Wedding

As I was trying to pay off my loan, my husband and I were also saving A LOT for our wedding. We hustled like crazy and saved up more than 50% of our pay. On top of that, we were also paying for our PTPTN loans.

 

We did not swipe any credit for our wedding as we paid for everything upfront. After the wedding party was over, we realised that the angpow money collected was ours, because we did not owe anyone money!

 

HAPPINESS, IT WAS SHEER HAPPINESS – yes, all caps are necessary.

 

At that time, I still had around RM24,000 to pay off. At that time, PTPTN had a promotion where 20% will be deducted if you paid the total amount. Just before the promotion ended, my husband and I decided to tackle the biggest debt (which was my PTPTN). We used our angpow money to pay off that mountain of mine. After the 20%, I only had to pay around RM19,800.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, that was how I paid off my PTPTN debt in a little less than 5 years!

 

You may have a different way on how to tackle your debt, but I believe it starts from having the right mindset. There is no use trying to avoid it because it will come back to haunt you. Instead, I flipped it around to tackle it. And you can, too!

 

Although this is a story on how I worked my way through PTPTN loan repayment, you can apply it to any debt you may have.

 

Know your enemy. Then, you defeat it!

A concoction of oxymoronic attributes, Rachel Yeoh is a lazy overachiever. She writes for a living, sings when the sun goes down and runs a homemade granola company with whatever is left of her time. Always planning for something to do while procrastinating on her bed - she is quick to be on her feet at any chance to travel.

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