Taylor Swift loves her fans so much she showered many of them with gifts during Swiftmas, her holiday fan-appreciation bonanza, the results of which can be viewed on YouTube (fair warning: lots of girls screaming and crying with glee).
Her gifting spree didn’t end in December. On Jan. 12, Rebekah Bortniker received a package from Swift, including a painting, a Polaroid of her painting that painting, a necklace and a clutch. Inside that clutch: $1,989 for Bortniker to put toward her student loans. (For the unfamiliar, the figure is a nod to “1989,” Swift’s most recent album.)
Bortniker started crying as she read the handwritten note, “Rebekah, now you’re $1,989 closer to paying off those student loans.” (The painting also triggered tears.) Bortniker posted photos of her gifts and video of her opening them to her Tumblr and Twitter accounts.
According to her social media profiles, Bortniker is 25 years old and lives in Kansas. It’s unclear how much education debt Bortniker has (I reached out to her on Twitter but haven’t heard back yet), but as anyone with loans knows, any extra cash can make student loan payments more affordable. Paying down student loans faster than scheduled saves the borrower money on interest, not to mention the room it can free up in your budget for other things.
Bortniker is a seriously lucky fan — something she’s well aware of, if her frequent, all-caps expressions of gratitude are any indication — especially when you consider how prevalent student loan debt is among American adults. Among bachelor’s degree earners in 2012, 71% graduated with education debt, with the average balance coming in at $29,400, according to The Project on Student Debt. I’m sure any of those 71% of graduates would be thrilled to not have to pay $2,000 of those loans out of their own pockets.
For those who won’t be receiving financial gifts from mega pop stars, there are a lot of things you can do to make student loan payments more affordable, like loan consolidation or income-based repayment plans. Because student loan debt is practically impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, it’s crucial to stay on top of these payments to avoid wrecking your financial future. Consistently making payments on time will improve your credit score, too, and you can track your progress by getting your free credit report summary on Credit.com every month.
Image: Eva Rinaldi, via Wikimedia Commons