Posts tagged with: debt update

Ashley’s January 2017 Debt Update

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First, thanks for all the great comments and advice on my Medical Debt Collector Dilemma post!

If you haven’t read the comments, then I’ll give you the update:  I was able to negotiate our medical bill down into 3 equal sized payments to be paid across the next 3 months (February through April), and then the medical debt will be GONE and nearly $2,000 will be forgiven. Some commenters noted how this will ding our credit, but seeing as we’re unlikely to be needing any new lines of credit anytime soon, I’m not too worried about the ramifications. I feel like we’re pretty well “set” with our current debts (great mortgage rate, good credit card balance transfer options for paying off student loan debt) – we won’t be adding any additional debts, hopefully EVER!

I’m kind of excited about being rid of this medical debt. We prioritized it below everything else so far simply because it was at a 0% interest rate. But with the offer to forgive $2,000 of the debt, it had to be bumped up to the top of our priority list (which will change the “debt payment” proportions that I had just posted in our 2017 budget. Oh well, budgets need to be flexible!).

I know there are strong feelings on both sides of the fence regarding whether it is morally “okay” to negotiate down debts as opposed to paying the bill in full. We would have paid the bill in full. That was always our intention. But we also weren’t in any hurry about it with so much student loan debt racking up in excess of 6% APR. The offer to settle for less than was owed was solely initiated from the medical debt collection agency, itself. So I feel like it was a fair transaction. The medical company will receive their payment (much sooner than they would have otherwise, at that), and we will soon be able to cross off one more debt from our  list of debts!!!

One other thing I wanted to mention was regarding credit card balance transfer options. When I realized I would be unable to refinance my student loans away from Navient with one of the big/respected student loan consolidation companies, some of you recommended continuing to do credit card balance transfers. So I applied for a new credit card and promptly transferred another student loan away from Navient. Again – a super controversial thing in the world of debt repayment. I wouldn’t recommend this option for everyone, but I’ve been doing it a couple years now and have had great success with it. I literally only use the credit card for balance transfers (it’s not even in my wallet – it would otherwise be cut up and destroyed because it serves no purpose otherwise). So now I’ve got TWO credit cards designated specifically for doing balance transfers. The balance transfer fees have been low (between 2-3%) and I receive 0% APR as long as balances are paid in full by the due date (which I closely track and monitor and have never had a problem with). So….it works for us. Unconventional? Yes. Would I recommend it for everyone? No. But it’s working for us.

And so with some explanation of our debts (and, specifically, the new credit card balance transfer debt you’ll see), I present to you January’s Debt Spreadsheet:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient - Federal 2 (unsubsidized)$110985.8042January82433 (all school loans, combined)
Navient - Federal 3 (subsidized)$86245.8025January
Navient - 2 (subsidized)$85316.5525January
Navient - 7 (subsidized)$72266.5521January
Navient - 8 (subsidized)$63986.5519January
Navient - 9 (subsidized)$85316.5525January
Navient - 10 (unsubsidized)$97726.552018January
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$22000% (through April 2017)$800January$7650
Balance Transfer Student Loan #3$45940% (through October 2018)
Medical Bills$55860% (must be paid by April)$25January$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$72,560 (Dec balance = 75,171)$3000Starting Debt = $145,472

When I first started blogging back in April 2014, I had $145,472 total debt.

As of January 31, 2017, with a margin of under $200, we have finally hit our half-way mark! We now have $72,560 in debt.

Oh my gosh, guys! I can’t tell you what a huge milestone this is for us! I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years and we have JUST NOW hit our half-way mark in terms of debt reduction. We likely have another 2.5 years to go (maybe less), so we’re over half-way in terms of the time spent in debt reduction mode. I just cannot even believe it. All the changes in the past three years, all the sacrifices, all the splurges, all the savings and the spending and the analyzing numbers over and over and over again. It just feels fantastic.

I know some have commented that the second half of debt reduction would just fly by. That as soon as we hit the half-way “tipping point” things would start snowballing and debt would just melt away.

I’ve got so far still to go, but I am hopeful and excited about the future!

And I want the debt gone sooner than our projections have it. I want it gone yesterday. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking of ways to reduce savings categories (temporarily) in order to throw more toward the debt. And there’s still some work stuff up in the air that will impact this whole process. I’m optimistic. It’s hard not to be. I may not be able to quite see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but at least we’ve crested the top of the mountain and are about to make our descent. I can’t wait for the journey downward!


Ashley’s 2016 Goals Wrap-Up (With December Debt Update)

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2016 has been a rough one for many. Have any of you seen this meme floating around the interwebs?

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 3.07.22 PM

(Here’s one source, but I’ve seen it on multiple accounts. It’s everywhere.)

Makes me chuckle. Although 2016 has been tough in many regards (and I have a year-end wrap-up post in the works with more info on my 2016), it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I’ve had a pretty good year when it comes to my financial goals.

In the beginning of 2016 I set these financial goals for myself and my family:

  • Save $10,000 for down payment for a home.
  • Save $5,000 for an emergency fund.
  • Put $30,000 toward debt.

These were pretty lofty goals at the time they were set. But then our income just exploded.

I ended up working all summer (an extra 3 months worth of income), I taught an extra class one semester, and hubs landed some big contracts in the Fall.

Without any major financial set-backs this year (*knock on wood*) we managed to hit these goals out of the park!! I’ll explain each in more detail below.

  • Save $10,000 for down payment for a home. Once this goal was set, I really put it first above  all else. Initially we were going to start looking at homes in May, but we pushed it back a bit when we felt we needed more time to save up an EF, etc. We found “the house” in August and it was a long process, but when all was said and done we finally closed in early November. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to save the money in-time when we were shooting for a May timeframe, but by the time November rolled around we had more than enough saved for our down payment. With the money we saved (+ a generous gift from my mom) we had just over 20% to put down. We also had some cash reserves still on-hand that came in quite helpful when we needed to buy nearly $4,000 worth of “stuff” to get moved into the house (e.g., refrigerator, blinds, etc. See this post for details).
  • Save $5,000 for an emergency fund. This goal was so important to me, personally. This was the real reason why we delayed our house hunt from the beginning. We had our $10,000 saved up, but had nearly no emergency fund and I felt like it was just a recipe for disaster to buy a home with no money on hand. After we pushed back our original “house hunting” date, we were able to continue to stack money (again – I picked up work over the summer and additional classes in the Fall, too, which really helped in this regard). As I type this post, we have exactly $5,085 in our dedicated Emergency Fund and I consider it fully funded for the time being. Eventually we’ll try to bump this up to a full 3-6 months ($5,000 is about one month for our household…maybe 2 if we really stretch). But while we’re still in the process of debt repayment we’ll leave it at $5,000. I did have some comments on the house post that mentioned making a separate house-related EF (especially given the age of our home, etc.). I’ll address that more in my forthcoming 2017 Goals post. Look for that post likely next week sometime.
  • Put $30,000 toward debt. This is just such an obscene amount of money to pay toward DEBT in a single year! It’s crazy to think about how many families are struggling just to get by on $30,000 total annual income. When I first started blogging here our household income was just under $50,000. Thinking of that time (and there would have been zero chance we could have put a full 30k toward debt) compared to where we are now…I’m just amazed. Life has had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but we’ve been blessed in the financial realm this year. Check out our December Debt Update table:
PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient - Federal 2 (unsubsidized)$110715.80209December82433 (all school loans, combined)
Navient - Federal 3 (subsidized)$86215.8025December
Navient - 2 (subsidized)$85376.5533December
Navient - 7 (subsidized)$72326.5528December
Navient - 8 (subsidized)$64026.5525December
Navient - 9 (subsidized)$85376.5534December
Navient - 10 (unsubsidized)$161356.552020December
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$30000% (through April 2017)$1000December$7650
Medical Bills$56360%$25December$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$75,171 (Nov balance = 78,345)$3399Starting Debt = $145,472

With our last large debt payment from December 2016, we’ve managed to cross the finish line on our final financial goal of 2016. We have officially paid over $30,000 toward debt this year!!! See below (with a previous goal check-in post found here):

Month 2016 GOALS 2016

January

Goal: $3500 $4013
February Goal: $1000 $1261
March Goal:  $1000 $2134
April Goal:  $2000 $1521
May Goal: $2000 $1325
June Goal:  $4000 $3500
July Goal: $4000 $4928
August Goal: $2500 $1374
September Goal: $2500 $2775
October Goal: $2500 $2750
November Goal: $2500 $2625
December Goal: $2500 $3399
Total Goal: $30,000 $31605

Some months were up and some were down, but the highs and lows all averaged out and still allowed us to hit this monstrous goal we had set that didn’t even seem feasible in January of 2016 and yet, here we sit at the end of 2016. Mission accomplished.

For anyone casually stumbling across this blog (as well as long-time readers – thanks for sticking around!!), I just want to stand on the top of a mountain and shout: I’M A REAL PERSON. A NORMAL HUMAN BEING JUST LIKE YOU. THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL OR OUTRAGEOUS ABOUT ME AND MY SITUATION. IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU!!!!

Three years ago, I never would have believed I’d be sitting here today having annihilated nearly half of our debt!!! It’s a pretty incredible things and more great things are on the horizon.

How have you done on any 2016 goals? Are you taking stock and making plans for 2017 goals??


Ashley’s September 2016 Debt Update

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Better late than never, right?

After I realized I’d missed our extra student loan payment, I initiated it on October 1st (a Saturday). It showed “pending” in Navient’s system for several days and didn’t actually show up as being applied until Wednesday. I don’t like posting on Wednesday (I like to leave it for Hope), so here we are with our SEPTEMBER debt update nearly a full week into the month of October. So sorry about the late update!

Check it out:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$635276.55%$2225September$74218
ACS Student Loans$85856.55%$25September$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$53500% (through April 2017)$500September$7650
Medical Bills$57110%$25September$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$83,173 (Aug balance = 85,553)$2775Starting Debt = $145,472

Several exciting milestones are coming up:

First, we’re just over $3,000 away from our next $10,000 milestone.

Second, the next digit we’ll be seeing is in the $70,000’s. That’s significant because our half-way mark is just above $72,000. So we’re just a little over $10,000 away from the half-way mark! Everyone keeps saying after we cross that threshold that the debt will just start melting away! It’s felt like a long, hard slog so far the past nearly 3 years of debt-repayment. I’m VERY excited to get over that hump.

Third, do you recall how one of our big 2016 debt goals was to pay $30,000 toward debt this year?? Check out where we now stand in terms of that financial goal:

Month 2016 GOALS 2016
January Goal: $3500 $4013
February Goal: $1000 $1261
March Goal:  $1000 $2134
April Goal:  $2000 $1521
May Goal: $2000 $1325
June Goal:  $4000 $3500
July Goal: $4000 $4928
August Goal: $2500 $1374
September Goal: $2500 $2775
October Goal: $2500  
November Goal: $2500  
December Goal: $2500  
Total Goal: $30,000 $22,8310

It’s going to be tight, but we’re right on track to hit that goal. It’s so crazy to think that many families in America are struggling to survive on a total household income of $30,000. Meanwhile, we’ve been blessed with an increased income that has allowed us to put that much toward debt! I mean – whoa! Moment of silence or respect or something. That’s a massive figure!

So much to be thankful for and still so many exciting milestones on the horizon.

Full steam ahead!!!

Do you make annual financial goals? What were yours and how are you doing on them?


Ashley’s April 2016 Debt Update + NEW Balance Transfer Loan

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Hi all!

Thanks for your patience with me as I was out of town and kind of absent (especially in the comments) for awhile. I only logged in a single time on our week-long vacation and then had to spend a few days playing catch-up with work-related obligations once I returned before really rejoining you here. LOTS of posts to come very soon, but for now let me get up this overdue April debt update!

Perhaps the first thing to note is that I initiated another balance transfer loan! I’ve labeled it in my debt spreadsheet as “Balance Transfer #2” (to distinguish it from the first balance transfer, which I paid off in full prior to initiating this new transfer). See my reasons for why I’m okay with using balance transfer loans to help pay down student loan debt in this throwback post.

I transferred $7,500 from my Navient student loans onto my Capital One credit card. I will have 0% APR for 12 months and paid a one-time $150 transfer fee. In my debt spreadsheet I list the new balance transfer debt as $7650 (which includes the $150 transfer fee). I also altered the “original debt” column of my Navient loan, reducing it by $7500 (since that debt has been moved to the balance transfer loan).

Here you go:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$731686.55%$1476April$74218
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20April$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$76500% (through April 2017)$0transfer initiated April 2016$7650
Medical Bills$58360%$25April$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan-2.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees-2.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$95,250 (March balance = 96,175)$1521Starting Debt = $145,472

One thing you’ll notice is that nothing was paid toward the new balance transfer loan in April. I initiated the loan toward the end of the month, so I’ll begin making payments this month (May).

Also, I edited the APR for my Navient loans. It used to read 6.55%-8.25%. But the balance transfer loan covered the 8.25% APR loan in full, so now all that remains are student loans with 6.55% APR. Wahoo! Excited to be chipping away at those loans and to get rid of my last remaining >8% APR debt!

Also, you’ll see in an upcoming budget update post that we continue to save toward our Emergency Fund and the down payment for a new home. This impacts our debt payments, as we are prioritizing savings above debt for right now. We plan to begin house hunting soon-ish, and once that’s all locked away we’ll again return our focus to paying down debt with a vengeance. In the meantime, I’m still happy with our current level of debt payments. Not too shabby, especially considering all our savings! Look for the budget update post soon!

I hope everyone’s weeks are going well! I’ll be back soon! : )


Hope – Debt Update – April, 2016

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Yikes!  Ya’ll are right, I have not done a debt update in quite a while.  So I’ll make this short and sweet. The last update I found when I looked was this one from  August, 2015 Debt Update which was a couple of months before my whole world/plan blew up with the loss of my largest on-going client.

Here are my new debt numbers:

Debt NameCurrent BalanceInterest RateMin. Mo. PymtOriginal BalanceStatus
TOTALS$????$433?$97,934
Student Loan$33,3452.875%$99$31,687IBRP effective Aug, 2015
Yukon$9820% (6 months)$104$3568Ex pays $246 mo. towards this debt
Orthodontist$????0%$230?$10,800Working on plan April, 2016
Begins Sept, 2015
Checking Account$00%--$741Paid Off - Jan 2015!
CC Intro Rate - Retail #2$03.99%--$3500Paid Off - May, 2015
Personal Loan - Car$012%--$5000Paid Off - July, 2015
Credit Card - Consumer$013.90%--$4,974Paid Off - June, 2015
Credit Card - Retail$025.99%--$2,265Refinanced - Dec, 2015
Car Loan - Accord$00%--$1,900Paid Off - Dec, 2015
Car Loan - NV$06.79%--$31,138Sold - Dec, 2015
Line of Credit$015.95%--$1,248Paid Off
Credit Card - Retail #1$00%--$413Paid Off
Property Tax$00%--$700Paid Off

Just a couple of notes:

Student Loans – Needless to say, the income based repayment plan, while I am SO grateful for it, does not even cover the interest, thus the increase balance since last fall.  So this definitely needs to be on my radar as I get back on my feet.

Ex Husband’s Car Loan – You can see from the balance that both of us have been making payments on this one.  He is super motivated to get it paid off so he can get the title and do whatever.  I am super motivated to get it off my shoulders.  Hoping this one will be gone in the next month or so.  It’s still my number one goal.

Orthodontics – I have just finished negotiating with them after months of trying.  And we have reached an agreement.   So I will update the total now owed with the next update since I’m still waiting on the documentation, etc.

If you have been following the last couple of weeks, you will remember my choice to delay paying my last month’s rent in my apartment to cover the needed expenses for the month we moved.  I have not included that rent payment in my debt because it will be paid in full within the week.

So that is where I stand right now…


Ashley’s March 2016 Debt Update

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It’s that time again!

I know I said I was going to be focusing on savings pretty heavily the first half of the year. And, don’t get me wrong, I am. But we still had a reasonable sized debt payment this month because I really wanted to get my balance transfer loan paid in full by the end of the month. That meant a large $1400 payment to a single entity (plus all the other minimum payments for student loans and medical bills and such). So, overall, not too shabby of a debt payment! Check it out (also, notice that I re-organized the spreadsheet a bit to have current debts up top instead of at the bottom).

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$81,7186.55%-8.25%$677March$80761
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20March$8215
Medical Bills$58610%$25March$9000
Balance Transfer student loan (Former Navient 1-01)$00% (through April 2016)$1412March$5937
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
License Fees-2.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
PenFed Car Loan-2.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
Totals$96,175 (Feb balance = 97,839)$2134Starting Debt = $145,472

So we’re chugging right along. Next up, I’ll be working on eradicating the Navient student loan with the 8.25% APR (there’s only one, at about a $2,000 balance. All the rest of the loans are 6.55% APR). I hope to have the high interest rate loan knocked out by May. I’ll also be initiating a new balance transfer to try to get some more of my student debt moved onto an interest-free card. I just checked and have an offer through Capital One for a 2% initiation fee and 0% APR for 18 months. I have a $7500 limit and am thinking I’ll max it out (meaning, I’ll move a full $7500 from one of my unsubsidized student loans to Capital One). I want to give it a couple weeks before doing the balance transfer just to make sure my balance is fully zero’ed out before the next billing cycle begins.

How have you all been doing on your debt payments? Have a good March? Applying any tax return money toward debt? We still haven’t done our taxes yet (eek!)


Ashley’s February 2016 Debt Update

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Hi all!

I hope your weeks are starting off on the right foot and that you’re making the most of your extra day (February 29th) this year! : )

Here’s my debt update from the month of February:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
License Fees-2.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
PenFed Car Loan-2.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
Navient$81,9456.55%-8.25%$516February$80761
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20February$8215
Balance Transfer student loan (Former Navient 1-01)$14120% (through April 2016)$700February$5937
Medical Bills$58860%$25February$9000
Totals$97,839 (Jan balance = 98,890)$1261Starting Debt = $145,472

As I’ve mentioned a few times, the first half of this year will be spent heavily in savings-mode so this month’s debt update is lower than normal. I have, however, made a little 2016 Debt Table to help me keep on track with my big goal to put $30,000 toward debt in 2016. Check it out:

Month 2015 2016 GOALS 2016
January $1678 Goal: $3500 $4013
February $1822 Goal: $1000 $1261
March $653 Goal: $1000  
April $1796 Goal: $2000  
May $1708 Goal: $2000  
June $725 Goal: $4000  
July $2125 Goal: $4000  
August $2250 Goal: $2500  
September $2575 Goal: $2500  
October $5513 Goal: $2500  
November $2751 Goal: $2500  
December $2522 Goal: $2500  
Total $26118 Goal: $30,000  

So even though this month’s debt payment is lower than average, I’m still right on track (actually ahead of schedule) with my goal debt payments.

I hope all is well with you, friends! Have a great week!


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