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Ashley’s November Debt Update


I’ve got a sick kiddo here with me today, so let’s keep this short and sweet (and please send happy/healing vibes to my little chick-a-dee. It’s so sad to see your child feel so crumby!)

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June
License Fees$29662.5%250November
PenFed Car Loan$190082.49%1000October
Navient - Federal Student Loans$44138.25%16October
Navient - Dept of Ed$721088.25-6.55%260October
ACS Student Loans$210407.24%77October
Medical Bills$67500%150October

Quick side-note:  My Sallie Mae student loans were just sold to Navient (or maybe it was a merger of some type?? My login information is all still identical so its a little weird – anyone else in the same boat??), so that’s why Sallie Mae is now gone.

Still SO MUCH debt! But I’ve been making a lot of good progress, too! My very first debt update (back in March 2014) listed just over $145,000 of debt! So I’ve paid off nearly $20,000 in the past 8 months (probably more, once interest is factored into the payments). Exciting stuff!

Have a good Monday, y’all!


  • Reply Katie |

    Is there a way to add a column that shows your original balance (from when you started blogging). I really like to see the progress that’s been made.

  • Reply Jackie |

    My student loan went to Navient too. The way I understand it is that Sallie Mae still exists and Navient is a company that Sallie Mae made–kind of like a subsidary of sallie mae. Then they split up some of the student loans to go to Navient. I’m thinking they had too many student loans to deal with or something.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Good month, Ashley. Those license fees are almost completely behind you and that car balance isn’t too shabby either. Have you checked lately to see if you’re upside down on value to loan amount? I always feel better when I know the asset has enough value to cover it’s loan. That feeling is more effective than a sleeping pill in the ‘sleeping at night’ category.

  • Reply Mary |

    You’ve really done a great job Ashley. Perhaps just putting the original amount in parenthesis after the paid off date in the last column.

    I’ve been thinking about the order of debt payoff….I’d really like to see you knock off the license fees and medical. You are so close on the license fees as it is and you could knock these off pretty close. I also think it would be great to get those items behind you. As for the auto loan, I think you should sell that car and get a used one. There are so many good used cars out there and if you were to get something under $10k, you’d knock off half that debt. I know there are great used vehicles that are like new and are a great deal.(I had a friend who bought a used car for $10k and honestly, the car is gorgeous, has higher miles but looks brand new and doesn’t have any issues.) If that happened, then the license fees, medical and auto loan would be less than $20k and you could knock that off in 8 months or so (assuming you paid it off at a rate similar to 2014). After that, you’d just be left with the three student loans. I’d also be inclined to hold off on any retirement funding until you are just left with the student loans.

    • Reply Walnut |

      The vehicle conversation is always an interesting one. Ashley – have you discussed the car versus SUV situation before? Is there a reason you chose an SUV over a car? Since you’re a family of four, a car does work for your family. Personally, I prefer driving a car to an SUV for the better mileage and I prefer driving a car that is just slightly smaller than a full sized versus a compact car. I like to have sufficient trunk space for traveling or just a big grocery trip and prioritize my comfort on 12+ hour roadtrips.

      A quick spin through my local Yahoo Autos selection shows me quite a few cars in the 15k range that are still newer model (most 2013), decent mileage, and are generally brands that score high in the safety rankings.

      The car is definitely the last place to knock out a chunk of debt in one fell swoop, so it’s always worth taking a look at what car availability looks like, how much the old car would sell for and what sort of loan/rate you’d end up with at the end. Even if the decision is to do nothing, being armed with the right information is good.

      • Reply Maureen |

        I believe Ashley has explained in detail why their current SUV (with a loan they will pay off vs. a “new” used car) best fits their family needs. Read the older posts.

        • Reply Walnut |

          I’m sure she’s addressed it before, but the topic is always worth re-visiting. The reasons for keeping an expensive car in high income months where debt is quickly reducing are easy to justify. However, when debt starts to drop at a slower pace it’s important to take a hard look at assets and see if the reasons for keeping them are as compelling.

          I’ve sold a LOT of stuff around my house during debt repayment. Suddenly furniture and hobby accessories looked like piles of potential cash around my house.

          • Alexandria |

            Walnut, you make great points. The car thing certainly doesn’t make any sense to me, and I have said as much before. To me, it’s the giant elephant in the room.

            We have a minivan that we bought “barely used” for $13k. There is tons of middle ground between being content with a sedan and buying a brand new SUV.

        • Reply Mary |

          Yes, I was aware of that….I just thought it might be time to revisit that area. I think Walnut summed it up best.

  • Reply Den |

    Keep up the great work! The license fees, medical bills and car loan are all on the chopping block – a few good income months and those will be gone!

    Hope the kiddo feels better soon!

  • Reply debtor |

    forget the license fees, that’s a bearable interest rate. But Ashley, you totally could knock out that 8.25 student loan (4.4k balance) in 2 months! Have you thought about re-allocating your debt payments for 2 months and getting that OFF!

    Not sure what you pay monthly on it (might be worth adding a column for amount paid). but it would free that money up and get rid of the interest. Then you could just go back to as regularly scheduled (plus snowball).

    I 2nd the request for starting balance as well

    Good job!

    • Reply Amanda |

      I thought sometime in the past Ashley mentioned the loans weren’t “really” split out in terms of having one less payment per month or something. I can’t really remember, but that was one of my questions as well. Just for interest alone, once not upside down on the car, I would hit the small student loan. But I would also prioritize the license fees over the car just for dropping a recurring payment. I’m all about simplification.

  • Reply [email protected] |

    I’m wondering about the large car payments vs the low student loan payments when the different in interest rates is so large. If it were me, I’d work on the license fees and high-interest student loans and just do minimum payments for the medical bills and car (since those are so low-interest.) Also, you’ll *never* get rid of those student loans any other way than just paying them off, whereas the medical and car could be discharged in bankruptcy (worst case scenario) or reduced by selling the car, if you chose to do that.

    But all that sounded critical — it’s also important to celebrate $20,000 down in 8 months! That’s great.

  • Reply Den |

    The car issue has already been explained – check previous articles.

    I wish everyone would let.the.van.issue.go! Personal finance is personal and this is a choice that Ashley and her hubs have made for their family. They are trying to pay it off quickly so they can focus on their students loans, but have decided it’s worth it to their family to keep it……can we move on please?

    • Reply Jen From Boston |


      Yes, a family of four can fit into a sedan WHEN THE CHILDREN NO LONGER NEED STROLLERS OR CAR SEATS.

      I own a modestly-priced sedan. I could probably handle one (1) child with a car seat and stroller, but two? Nope, not gonna fit. The trunk is too small for the strollers, never mind any diaper bags or pack-n-plays for an overnight at grandma’s.

  • Reply Theresa |

    Great work! And while that $4400 student loan would tempt me- I think you gotta go with what keeps you fired up the most and if it is the SUV… it is the SUV.

So, what do you think ?