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Shame is very Motivating

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In continuing my Student Loan saga, based on my research, I am more determined than ever to get rid of this debt. The realization of my complete ignorance in getting into their much debt, let alone, letting it hang around my neck for over 17 years…well, no more. I broke down the details in my last post and explained where this debt is from and more importantly how long it has been here.

Ugh! As of today (5/1/2020 when I am writing this post,) my student loan balance is $33,893.20.

The Plan

Since both loans are being charged the same interest, and the unsubsidized or subsidized doesn’t matter since I am out of school. I think my best bet to is focus on paying the lowest balance loan first.

I realize that keeping them listed as Loan 1 and 2 doesn’t really matter, but having a loan paid off or seeing one’s balance go down significantly faster will be a mental boost for sure.

Thoughts of this plan?

When Not Deferred

When not deferred due to the virus, the required monthly payment is right at $306. So what I’d like to do is start designating that payment to the lower balance loan immediately. It is already in my budget.

Once the deferment period is over, which is currently set for the end of August, they payment will be split between the two loans. Based on my last payments, the split designates approximately $130 of each payment toward this loan.

But for now, I can make some progress on the smaller of the two. The current balance of the smallest loan is $14,131.

Lofty but Achievable Goal

Using very basic math, I divided the current balance by 12. To pay the smallest of these two loans off within the year, I need to pay $1,178 every month on it. And that doesn’t take into consideration the $175ish that is paid to the larger loan every month (when not in deferment) or the interest that will continue to accrue.

So, my dream goal…pay off the smaller two of the loans by May, 2021. Is it possible based on my average income from the past year…yes. But it will be a stretch. In every way.

But with the shame motivating me. I believe I can do it.

And having the next 3 months will the payment solely focused on that loan will help tremendously.

I am glad I went to grad school. I learned a lot, made some amazing life long friends and it definitely has made a difference in my career and earning potential. But there is no word other than STUPID and IGNORANT for how I handled the finances. In hindsight, I would have gone more slowly. I would have paid cash for it.

And I am having these discussions with my children on a regular basis. I do not want them shackled by debt especially when there are ways around it.


19 Comments

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    Instead of focusing on the fact that the combined number is over $33,000, focus on getting that number under $30,000. There is absolutely no reason you should not have this bill below $30,000 by year end. You always seem to have these extreme plans to pay down debt that don’t pan out and then seem to cause you to give up. While I wholeheartedly support throwing larger amounts at it while there is no interest accruing I think you need to assess after August and adjust if needed. All or nothing approaches just don’t seem to work for you, so adapt and find what does. No excuses.

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      If I were a betting women I’d bet storm mode did not include student loan payments which is why her student Ioan debt is actually larger now than it was in November (33,779 vs 33887) Her balance is high enough that it requires almost a hundred a month in order to not grow even though it’s interest rate is fairly low.

      I wish she’d post a budget- a real budget – not a wish list or snapshot. That way people could help her adjust things. As it is Princess has school tuition coming up and none of us have any idea where Hope is on saving for that either.

      • Reply Laura |

        I would like to see a real budget, and a spending diary for a month. What did you budget vs what did you actually spend? How much did you pay toward debt, bills, groceries, whatever. Hope, I hope you are tracking your spending, it can be eye opening, and you’ll need that to reach this goal.

        • Reply Drmaddog |

          I’ve long given up on this. and honestly, even if she did post something, with hope’s history of inconsistencies, contradictions, and incomplete information, I doubt I’d believe it if I saw it. We saw very similar posts last year, and then she bought a new car for $20K+. As I said before on a previous post, this is just another cycle in her feast-famine relationship with debt. I hope her children can learn better.

  • Reply Sarah |

    I’m confused by your numbers. Here, you say your monthly payment is $306. In your January budget, you said you pay $833, I think. Was the $833 just a dream and you haven’t been doing that? Now you are talking about paying more than $1,370 a month in order to pay off the smaller loan by next May. Even if you have been paying more than $800 a month, you are still planning on adding $500 to that each month. Where is the money coming from? You absolutely need to get serious about these loans. If you stick with the minimums, you are looking at another 11 years, meaning you will have been carrying your student loan debt for 28 years before it’s gone – that’s practically your entire working life.

  • Reply SMS |

    I’m glad you want to pay down the debt and of course, you absolutely need to. However, you have a variable income and that is a lot to pay every month. I don’t want you to be unable to make that huge payment and then give up. I think you should pay enough every month that it goes down and save other money you have left over into your emergency fund. Once you have a largish amount there, you could take something out and make a large payment. I also think you should start saving for retirement! Don’t wait until the student loans are paid off to do that.

  • Reply Deborah |

    Hope,

    What are you willing to do in hopes of getting the one loan paid off in a year? The amount you are willing to pay in order to get the loan paid off in a year is a large amount every month. Do you have this much money left over at the end of the month after the rest of your bills are paid? How are you going to be able to make such a large payment in addition to supporting your children with their goals? Are you going to use the additional 250 each that your oldest boys are paying in rent to put towards the student loan to make the hefty payment that you are planning on?

    I guess what I am wondering is what sacrifices are you willing to make in order to begin paying off these student loans that you have been holding on to for many years. It gets difficult and time consuming to continue paying on loans that may have been paid off years ago. My student loans are dragging on and I have only had them for two and a half years. There are some pay periods that I have to budget harder and tighter to contnue making larger payments to get them paid off in a reasonable timeline and that is with a guarenteed income from my career and place of employment.

  • Reply Deborah |

    Hope,
    You stated that the required payment is 306 dollars and that you have had it as a part of your budget. I was wondering if you had been paying on this with the 306 dollars that you accounted for in the budget? If not, what has this money been accounted or used for? The 306 combined with the 500 from your adult children means that if you are choosing to use their rent money you would have to come up with an addtional 370 dollars. I was wondering if this was your plan?

    • Reply Hope |

      Right now, the twins money is going into another account. I haven’t decided how/if it will be used.
      I went into Storm mode, as Dave Ramsey followers call it, as soon as the pandemic hit and only paid required bills. That being said, I did not pay my student loans.
      But am returning to paying them this month…thus the planning.

      • Reply Cwaltz |

        Where are you on saving for tuition for Princess? If I remember correctly it’s due in 3 months isn’t it?

  • Reply Laura |

    I really hope this is a wake up call and you are serious about it. However, it seems every year or two you have an aggressive plan to pay off pay off a large amount of debt quickly and it never happens. What will be different this time? Are you going to forgo vacations to accomplish this? Sell the almost new car and get something older and cheaper? Something will have to give. I wish you luck, don’t lose your focus.

  • Reply angie |

    Please update in a few months with the changes in your balances. Seriously we’ve heard this at least 5x in the same amount of detail, then you come back and say your balance has grown or been deferred again. Which is like huh?

    What is your plan to pay back your uncle who fronted you the money for your car? I’d be pretty ticked to see you paying down unsecured debts before secured debts. Heavan forbid you get in an accident and you owe more than the car is worth. He will be fronting the bill.

  • Reply Nikki |

    You’ve been blogging here for over 5 years. What on earth have you been doing in all that time? Have you paid off any debt in the time you’ve had this blog? Take this as a wake-up call to not let your daughter get herself into a similar mess.

  • Reply Laura |

    Having loans in deferment means they still accrue interest, and your simple math to pay off the smaller loan in 12 months does not consider that you will still be adding interest to both loans during those 12 months.

    I get that you want to see a great big 0 on one of your bills, but focusing on just the one loan is a poor financial choice. You should pay enough to cover the minimum payment and the interest charged on both loans each month. Then, with money you have left over, you should pay extra on the smaller loan. This shouldn’t be a plan of “I can pay $1,150 per month” when you have a variable income. This should be a set minimum for both so they don’t continue to grow and then your payments above that are based on what you actually make.

    Really, truly, create a budget of your actual required costs – rent, utilities, car payment, food, phones, school fees, loan minimums. Pay / set aside these amounts every month. Then use what is left to pay off debt – this amount will vary based on your income for the month.

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      Agree. I have advised people I know many times, if you have student loans, no matter what, always pay at least the interest, even through college. At least then when you graduate, you owe only the principle you borrowed, and not another five figures on top of it the minute you step off campus. Interest can be one of your best friends if it works for you, or one of your worst enemies, if it does not.

  • Reply Anna |

    For cwaltz, Drmaddog (and others with sound advice) – I’ve been following BAD for a while and I always appreciate your comments and learn from them. I am out of debt and am now looking into how to build up savings. Do you have a favorite method to follow? How do I ensure that I set a realistic savings goal and what are some strategies to get there. I felt it was easy with debt, because it’s clear that a “0” in the end is the goal. I felt that I was much quicker at saving up to pay debt than I am now at actually trying to save up savings. I want to know how to be more efficient and focused and you all always have been so helpful to the bloggers here (even if they don’t follow advice). Thank you Anna

    • Reply Laura |

      Automate your savings. Open a dedicated savings account if you do not have one – or open a second one of you send to pull money out of a savings account you currently have. Decide on an amount – it’s ok to start small if that makes you most comfortable. Set an automatic transfer to happen with each paycheck. In 3-6 months check back and see if you even thought about that money you’re “missing.” If you have more wiggle room at that point, increase the amount. $300/paycheck is an amount the works well for me as this “invisible savings.”

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      Oh, thank you for the kind words!

      You paid off your debt. CONGRATULATIONS!!
      My general advice would be take the money you were putting to debt and route it to savings and retirement accounts. You have been used to living without that money so it is an easy shift. Don’t forget to put aside for potential large outlays like home maintenance, car repair/replacement, vacations, etc. I think people should save at least 15% of their income for retirement, depending on their current state and age. If older, even more.. And a healhty emergency savings is a must, 6-12 months I would recommend. There are many online resources available to help with the specifics of retirements savings, and not enough room here to describe them all.

      I do recommend that you give yourself room to celebrate and ease up on yourself, especially if you were bare-bones budget before. If you are able to control yourself and not binge on credit/debt, take the next month and treat yourself. Or, you can take whatever amount you were putting to debt, and allow yourself, oh an extra 10-20% of that amount each month maybe, into your ‘fun’ and non-essential spending, depending on the amount. I do this same thing with bonuses and raises – give myself a reasonable amount to enjoy on whatever I want, and the rest goes straight into retirement, savings, paying down extra on mortgage. I find these little extra bits keep me from feeling deprived.

      Much like paying off debt, saving is a long road, pretty much the majority of the rest of your life, so it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you have difficulty getting started, set small goals, like you may have done with debt pay-down – ‘I want to put X aside each month’, ‘I want to put aside 1 month of a 6 month emergency fund in the next X months’, ‘I want to increase my retirement savings by X amount this year’, etc. You’ll find that, just like seeing increasing amounts of money go to pay down principle, you will enjoy watching your money grow through interest. It is so empowering when you make your money work for you. I have spent many years being very boring with my money, and now I have much more financial freedom than some of my peers.

      Best of luck to you!

So, what do you think ?