At the end of every month, I go over how much I was able to pay down my different debts for the month. I think it gives readers a nice picture and shows that not all personal finance writers are debt free and stacking large amounts into savings every month. Like some of you, I’ve still got student and vehicle debt.
Earlier this month, someone I know (who is about 6 years older than me) posted on facebook that she had paid off her student loan. I was happy for her, but I am going to work as hard as possible so that I wont be paying them off until I’m 31. I’m that they will be gone when I’m 27 (about 18 months from now)
Nelnet Student Loan $ 0 ($0) I paid this one off last month after a few weeks of very long hours at work. It’s been nice to see it go, although I haven’t really seen much of an impact on my finances (yet).
Direct Loan $5,929 6,189 ($260). This one has been moving down about 250 per month for a while. My parents help out with this one and I make my regular payments. This loan is now my top priority, and although my ambitious goal of paying this off at the end of the year is out of the question, I’m still going to work hard at it. I am getting a snowball payment ready for this loan, and while I don’t know the exact amount yet, it’s looking to be between $1,200 and $1,600. That will be making progress, to be sure. Update: I sent my payment to this loan on 12/3/10, and it was $1400 even. After gaming out my finances for the month, I’ll probably be able to make another payment (though not as substantial) to the loan next week.
Great Lakes Loan $ 12,459 12,537 ($78) Just sent my regular minimum payment to this loan. It looks like about half of the payment that Im making to this is going to interest and half is going to the principal – that sucks. What can you do, though? I’m thinking of moving this one to the end of my priority list, but it will be difficult because of the amount of interest that I pay on it every week.
This is for my vehicle. I had already started trying to become debt free when I bought this, so I was quite torn as to wether or not to take on new debt while I was trying to eliminate other debt. If you want to read more about it, check here, here and here. Despite most of the advice I heard, I went ahead and took out a loan on this. I made the right move. It has been much easier to gear up on my other debt when I know exactly how much i’m going to spend to keep the car running every month. The amount may be high, but that peace of mind is near priceless.
Last month, I mused on what to do with this loan – while it’s a large loan, paying it off would free up a huge amount of cash flow for me on a monthly basis. If you’re interested in reading more, you can here. There will also be a follow up to that post coming soon.
Ford Credit: $ 18,269 ($282): Just made the regular monthly payment on this loan. This is becoming an even more interesting case as the time goes by. As those of you who read regularly know, I drive a lot to & from work. I’ve owned this car for less than a year and there is almost 35,000 miles on it. I haven’t taken any long road trips in it, that’s just standard driving to/from work and driving around town when needed. I will be taking a trip this weekend in it, and that will be another 1,000 miles or so. The 3 year, 36,000 mile warranty that’s saved my butt before will be gone a week from now.
Total Debt Level: $36,657 ($570) As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t made a snowball payment yet, so that’s why this number is so much smaller than normal. Unfortunately, it also points out something slightly disheartening: If I only made the minimum payments, almost 20% of my pay goes to paying for my past. Someday soon it will go to saving for my future.
New in Monthly Review: My Payoff Plan (Subject to change). This is the order that I’m currently going to pay off my debts in. It doesn’t quite go from smallest to largest, but I think its the best for me (at this time).
- Direct Loan
- Truck Loan
- Final Student Loan