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Weekly Debt Update #27- One More Down, Two to Go!

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Hey everybody!

I’m feeling pretty awesome today! The reason? I paid off Sallie Mae 04 this weekend! I paid off the last $1,221 in one swoop. When I graduated college in 2009, the original balance of this loan was $10,350.18. The balance as of mid-May ’15 (when I started hitting this loan hard) was $7,407.64. It feels fantastic to have paid this loan off in essentially 4 months (I took off in July). Now, I only have the 2 big ones left. After I replenish my EF and get my car’s annual inspection (end of October/early November) I’ll be ready to hit Sallie Mae 01. Here’s my updated balances:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid OffPaid Since Last Week
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$23,662.64$4,174.60$0.00
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$18,556.32$3,640.70$0.00
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
$20,692.10$0.00
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$0.00$10,350.18$1,221.75
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$0.00$6,096.03$0.00
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00$0.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$0.00$9,000.00$0.00
TOTALS$110,587.66$42,218.96$68,368.70$1,221.75

I’m shooting for having a paid off Sallie Mae in August of ’16, which would only give me 10 months to do it. It’s aggressive, but I definitely feel it’s doable.

Funny story concerning my student loan payments: I had a meeting with my bank to go over my checking/savings accounts and to see if they could offer me anything else. The lady that I met with must have gone through my account activity because she asked me a couple of specific questions: 1) Why do you pay estimated taxes? (Easy explanation concerning the withdrawal of my gov’t retirement account in 2014) and 2) Who is Navient? I told her this was my student loan provider, so she asked how much I owe since I pay them roughly $2,400 a month. I told her about $300,000. Lol- her face went white, like she couldn’t believe it. I then told her I was joking and I only owe about $40,000. I then explained to her than I’m working really, really hard to get them fully paid off and that, between my loans and my car, I’ve paid off $62,000 in 2 years. She was stunned and couldn’t believe I’ve accomplished that much in such a short time, especially on a single salary. That felt pretty awesome too, to be honest.

As for any type of celebration, we didn’t really have one. GF wanted to celebrate it, so she offered to make a celebration meal. As a kind of off the wall response, I asked for raspberry crepes. For never having made them before, GF did amazing! They were so good and the perfect celebration as we had most of the ingredients already at home and didn’t have to go out anywhere. Here’s a pictures:

image1

Like I said above, I’m going to take the next couple of weeks to replenish my EF before hitting Sallie Mae 01. I hope everyone has a great week!

 


Free Wipe Out Student Loan Debt Webinar

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student loan webinar

When it comes to debt elimination, college loans are often a huge portion of the total debt many from which families are trying to dig their way out. According to the Institute for College Access & Success in 2012, 45 percent of American households are struggling to repay $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. This is an increase of 500 percent over the past decade. More than one million, or 71 percent, of all students graduating from four-year colleges are left with some type of student loan debt.

Even worse, the amount of debt isn’t insignificant. Former students across the country hold an average debt loan of nearly $30,000. That makes college loans one of the biggest sources of debt-related stress, and they owe more to student loans than they do to credit card debt. Americans only owe more on home mortgages.

The problem when getting financial advice on student loan debt is finding a source that has no special interest in the advice being given. That is, they don’t have a financial interest in you doing one thing or another. To help those who have student debt who would like to know more about their options, Liberty Bank for Savings is sponsoring a free webinar to help people reduce or eliminate student loan debt. The webinar will be on Wednesday, October 14 at 7:00 pm.

What makes the webinar different is that Liberty Bank doesn’t offer college or commercial loans, so they don’t have a vested interest in trying to get you to take a loan out with them. They are impartial on this topic and the bank merely provides their free money management seminars as a community service to better educate people on personal financial matters.

This 60-minute webinar titled Wipe Out Student Loan Debt will be conducted by Laura La Belle. She’s a certified financial planner and money coach who is an expert in the field. The webinar will be available free of charge via laptop or smartphone at libertybank.com. The latest student loan programs, options, and specific steps to eliminate student loan debt will be covered. For those interested in the webinar, registration is required.

Topics if the webinar include how to apply for new debt repayment programs, how to prevent student loan defaults, how to avoid garnishments, liens, and tax levies, how evaluate new payment reduction programs, how to use debt forgiveness programs which may save thousands of dollars, and how to avoid scam artists that prey on debt-ridden borrowers. it’s also set up so there will time for questions and answers for student loan questions participants may have.

For anyone who currently has student loan debt and would like more information about the options available to pay it down as quickly as possible, this is a great opportunity to get unbiased information that doesn’t cost a dime. It can be a good first-step to put together a plan for paying down your student loan debt knowing the options available. There is never harm in better educating yourself in financial matters, especially when that education is free. For those interested, they can register online at Liberty Bank.


Weekly Update #26- Oops!

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Hey everyone, and Happy Tuesday!

To jump right into this post- last week I made an error. Not necessarily a bad error, but I feel like now, more than ever, I’m skating on thin ice. Every Wednesday (my pay day), I have my checking account withdrawn to pay off my student loans. I put make the payment request sometime before the payday (normally a week in advance) so that on payday, the money is gone and I don’t have it sitting in my bank account. Lucky for me- this month happens to be a 5 paycheck month and last Wednesday’s was the paycheck where I had nothing due, so I could put nearly the whole thing on my loans. I must have realized this earlier in the month because I somehow ended up making 2 payment requests of $705.00 to be withdrawn on the same day. I didn’t realize I did this until my account balances looked awfully low. I looked at my bank account, and sure enough, 2 payments were made. I say this isn’t necessarily a bad error because it isn’t like I went out an bought something unnecessary, but I had to move money from my EF to my checking to make up the difference. I’m down to $1000.00 in my EF, which has never been lower, hence why I feel I have a very shaky feeling about it. My plan right now is to finish paying off Sallie Mae 04 in 3 weeks and then build my EF back up before hitting the last two loans. If you look at the balances below, the $1,200 shouldn’t take too long to pay down.

On a separate note and a follow up from last week’s post, our anniversary weekend was amazing. Thanks to all those that shared your stories with me. Our trip to the ski resort was fantastic and it was a nice little day trip where we walked around their downtown (not the golf course, like I originally wanted) and got some appetizers at a local bar. When we got back home, GF made an amazing dinner and we exchanged little gifts. My gift for GF was, again, of the homemade variety. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing some research on homemade anniversary gifts and stumbled upon a Pinterest account that described homemade bath bombs/fizzies. Here’s the finished product below:

Bath Fizzies

It piqued my interest and I found a simple recipe on Martha Stewart Living (the recipes are easily google-able- I clicked on the first link). Since I don’t have any hobby/crafting supplies at home, I had to buy everything I needed to put together what I was envisioning in my head, including the acrylic paint and paintbrush for the front little “card” I made, the ribbon, tissue paper and dye for the fizzies. As for the fizzies, of the 4 ingredients needed (corn starch, baking soda, citric acid and essential oil for scent- I chose peppermint) I didn’t have any of them at home, and the citric acid ended up being a specialty item I had to buy on Amazon. The total came to around $60 for eveything. It would have cost a whole lot less if I did crafting and/or baking on a more frequent basis and had the items already on hand. To put the whole thing together took about 4 hours, 3 hours was for the prep and set time of the fizzies. Needless to say though, GF LOVED them. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a gift I’ve given someone. It was truly a wonderful weekend.

As for my balances, here they are:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid OffPaid Since Last Week
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$23,662.64$4,174.60$0.00
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$18,556.32$3,640.70$0.00
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
$20,692.10$0.00
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$1,221.75$9,128.43$1,409.92
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$0.00$6,096.03$0.00
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00$0.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$0.00$9,000.00$0.00
TOTALS$110,587.66$43,440.71$67,146.95$1,409.92

I hope everyone has a great week!


3 Financial Issues

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Hi friends!

First, I just want to apologize for the fewer blog posts as of late. I’ve typically been really good about posting a minimum of 2 per Monday (sometimes 3) plus one more on Thursday or Friday. But the past couple weeks it’s been tough to find the time for even one post! It’s not that I don’t have anything to talk about. Trust me – I could talk PLENTY about our finances/budget/etc. It’s just that there’s never enough time! Now that the semester is really going strong it’s like a balancing act to keep everything together. I love my jobs (both of them) and am so thankful for them, but they require a lot of time and between work and dealing with my father’s health issues….well, saying I feel a bit overwhelmed is an understatement. Regarding the latter, we’re hoping to have his move to Texas (closer to family) complete-ish in the next couple weeks. I say “ish” because there will still be lots left at his house in Utah that my siblings and I will have to deal with in the coming months. But as much as we want to get the house on the market ASAP, we’re thankful to be in a financial position where we have the flexibility to let it sit a couple months until we have the proper time to deal with it all. Regarding this – anyone have experience with selling a (still furnished, in need of some repair) home out-of-state? I’m hoping we can hire an estate planner person to go sell the remaining stuff and subcontract out any needed repair work. We’ll also have to hire a lawn company and perhaps a cleaning service to keep it looking nice while it’s vacant and on the market. Any tips or suggestions in this regard?

That aside, I really had planned for the purpose of this post to be about 3 financial issues I’ve dealt with this month.

  1. Comcast:  In my last budget post I mentioned that I’d been dealing with some cable/internet provider issues. Our bill has typically been around $110-ish, but then I received a bill in August for $150!! I’d called and thought everything was resolved…until I got a new September bill also for $150! No way, Comcast! Not today! You’ve messed with the wrong person! Generally when these issues pop up it’s 100% worth it to go into the store (the local branches have infinitely better customer service than the call center people). But I logistically couldn’t make it happen between work and childcare schedules. So I called and basically geared up for a fight (though, to be clear, I always try to remain respectful when in these types of situations. It’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar!) I did have to ask for a manager, but I explained the situation – basically, last month they said they’d given me a credit and all was resolved, but in fact the current month bill shows that my payment was considered a partial payment. Meaning, there was no credit ever given to my account. So it showed I still owed the remaining balance. I’ve found that it helps when you tell the manager exactly what will make you happy. I mean, be reasonable. But it’s not okay to scream and yell and pitch a fit. No one wins in that scenario. Instead, have some idea of a compromise or solution that will fix the problem and be mutually beneficial for both parties. I already had in mind my solution:  just give me a credit that will take my bill down to $110 (the normal monthly payment). I’m already in a new promo rate so I don’t want to change that, but I refuse to pay the full $150 bill when I’d been told my account had been credited, all was resolved, yada yada yada. So make my bill $110, and we’ll be good. The manager had me hold for a minute and did one better. Gave me a credit so my current month’s bill is $97.02. Even better than what I’d asked for. Next month should be back to the regular rate (about $110ish). This time, I got the manager’s name and took notes of the call so I have them for reference just-in-case. But I’m hopeful that this situation is now fully resolved.
  2. Phone service: A couple months ago we switched phone providers to get a (slightly) better rate and get a free upgrade to newer phones. After canceling we received a GIANT ($250) phone bill from our old provider. But part of the deal with our switch is that our new provider would reimburse us the cancellation fee to buy us out of the contract. Rather than send us a check, they just take it off our our bill. So last month we had a huge bill to pay (to our old provider), but I was hoping it would even out this month when we got our new provider’s bill, showing the $250 credit. Turns out all is good in that area. This month we’ll have a much lower bill (but to remind you so it’s not a surprise with my next budget post – I’d fudged my August budget a bit. I paid the full $250 for the old phone network last month, but I cheated a little and split it half-way in this month. So I’ll still be reporting charges this month in my budget update at the end of the month. But really that was money that was paid for awhile ago). In October, things in this regard will be all smoothed over and we’ll be comfortably paying our new bill.
  3. Navient. Y’all. I can’t even. I cannot. Remember my “best day ever” post where I said my Navient issue was resolved? Ha! Nope! It seriously makes me so angry just thinking about it so I’m going to keep this brief for the sake of my blood pressure and psychological wellbeing. Long story short – issue is NOT resolved. They still have my loan (which was just transferred from another loan servicer, ACS) categorized as unsubsidized. They claim its a valid unsubsidized loan. Many, many hours (literal hours) of my life have been spent talking to all kinds of people – Navient’s customer service, Navient’s escalation department, the loan guarantor, national student loan database services, and on and on and on. We’ve reached a point where I’ve had to contact a loan mediation service (it’s free for me – part of the federal government, I guess). But they don’t move quickly. My last call to them was Friday and they said I wouldn’t hear back for 7-10 business days. So, yeah. In the meantime, I’m being charged interest out the wazoo for this student loan that is supposed to be subsidized (and, therefore, unpaid interest is supposed to be forgiven). So its going to totally mess up my debt totals when I do my next debt update (hopefully coming this Thursday! I’ve been holding off hoping that I’d get this issue resolved so I could report accurate debt totals, but no dice). I swear this issue has taken years off my life due to the stress and headache of it all. I know on my last post many people suggested reaching out to a class action lawsuit attorney (since Navient has so many pending lawsuits against them for wrongfully charging extra interest, etc.). I’m hoping the mediation can help us come to a resolution. I’m just so strapped for time I don’t even know what to do. It’s a huge burden in my life and just makes me wish I could write a check and be debt-free today. It’s just so wrong and it feels like there’s no ramification. No way to hold them accountable. I feel a little bit defeated at this point. But I’m keeping the course with the mediation route and hoping for some success at the other end. I’ll keep you updated.

So that’s the update on my 3 financial issues. As per usual, this was way lengthier than I’d originally intended. heh. Guess I had a little time after all. I’ll try to get a debt update post put together for you guys for later this week (Thursday or Friday). Thanks for your support along the way!!!


What an (EXPENSIVE) headache!

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Argh! ((shakes fist at Navient))

I hate beating a dead horse, but here we go…..

Navient just sucks so bad. SOooooo soooo bad!

The latest way they’re trying to screw me over…

I recently mentioned that one of my ACS loans has now migrated to Navient. Only, somehow, in the migration it has switched from being categorized as a subsidized loan to an UNSUBSIDIZED loan. This is a big deal because I’m on income-based repayment and, under IBR, unpaid interest is forgiven on subsidized loans. But unsubsidized loans continue to accrue interest. Right now my minimum loan payments are really low – they don’t even cover the interest! So I’ve been strategically targeting only a couple of my loans and paying minimums on all the rest, with the knowledge that unpaid interest is forgiven and I will just live with paying interest (no reduction to principal balance) until my current target loans are paid in full and I move onto the next loan.

Well, after discovering Navient’s egregious error I gave them a call. Only, they say that their paperwork states that the loan has ALWAYS been unsubsidized. I explain that there’s no way! I carefully track my loans every month and you can clearly see that they HAVE to be subsidized because the balance has always stayed EXACTLY (to the penny) the same! That’s because I’m not even paying enough to cover interest and all unpaid interest is forgiven. Period.

They acknowledge that, yes, they can see how unpaid interest has been forgiven. But their paperwork says the loan is supposed to be unsubsidized. Their hands are tied and there’s nothing they can do. I will need to get the original master promissory note to show that the loan is subsidized. In the meantime, my loan has somehow accumulated OVER THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS in interest!? In only a few days!!!!

Well, of course, getting access to the master promissory note includes several more hoop-jumping exercises not even worth going into here. Just note that it’s been a frustrating experience and I still have not even managed to get ahold of it (though I should hopefully have it this week!)

So let this be yet another in my long string of warnings about the potential pit-falls of student loan debt. And another cautionary tale of why you should be very vigilant about careful monitoring of your student loan account(s) on a monthly basis to make sure you catch these types of errors when they happen to you (notice I said WHEN, not if!)

In the meantime, why not add another task to my mile-long To Do list. I just love it when someone else’s incompetence creates more work for ME to do (can you just hear my sarcasm?)

Hope your Mondays are off to a better start!


Weekly Debt Payoff #20- Back on Target

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Hey everyone! I hope you’re off to a great start to your week.

I want to start off with a quick July 2015 monthly review:

  • The month was my month off, in which I took not only a physical vacation to Walt Disney World, but also used the month as an emotional and spiritual vacation from any type of debt reduction. Although I enjoyed this month off, I wrote about all my overarching feeling towards it here (Thoughts).
  • I used my extra funds from the month to 1) buy new clothes 2) enjoy some date nights with GF 3) refund my emergency fund (it was in the vicinity of $1,500.00 and now sits at $2,162.63; having anything below $2,000 makes me feel uneasy). Although I didn’t tackle everything I had on my to do list, I ended up getting a lot accomplished and feel pretty good about paying off this last $48,000.
  • Last week, GF and I had planned on holding a garage sale over the week. This plan fell flat, unfortunately. Not because we didn’t want to, but we were pretty overwhelmed with the time and effort it took to get everything properly prepared, especially after all the detailed comments I received on the subject. Between moving cleaning off and getting items ready for sale and moving them into our garage, we only got through 1/2 our stuff. Looking to hold a longer 2 day event in 2 or 3 weeks.

Ok, on to my debt payoff plan for the remainder of my balance. For anyone interested, here are my current totals:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid OffPaid Since Last Week
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$23,776.95$4,060.29$61.64
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$18,651.56$3,545.46$50.79
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
$20,692.10$0.00
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$5,310.59$5,039.59$615.30
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$0.00$6,096.03$0.00
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00$0.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$0.00$9,000.00$0.00
TOTALS$110,587.66$47,739.10$62,848.56$727.73

Note: the paid off since last week is really the paid off since my last update in June, with the majority of the payoff coming just last week.

I know I said this before, but I’m SUPER ready to knock off these debts for good. I’m going to be as frugal as I was going into my month off, however, I have a few caveats:

  • I’m going to consciously maintain a sense of balance between life and payoff. I feel I’ve done pretty well over the last couple months and I don’t want all that effort to go to waste. My $50 a month has really helped in this area.
  • I’m going to continue contributing 10% of my salary to my company 401K. I enjoy seeing this balance go up every week and it will be awesome to start my debt free life with a sizable nest egg.
  • I’ll also continue contributing $25 to my nephews ESA account for his future college tuition.
  • I changed my mortgage payment schedule from a one-time monthly lump sum payment to a weekly payment schedule with a little extra for increased principle reduction. It’s only been active for a couple of weeks, but I like the idea of not having a huge payment due at the end of the month.

Timeline- My extra extreme schedule is to make my final student loan payment in 18 months. Is this realistic? Not really, but it’s nice to dream of being debt free before I hit 30. It’s looking like it’s going to be closer to 22 months, if none of my caveats change. I should have Sallie Mae 04 paid off by the end of October at which point I’ll start on Sallie Mae 01 (the big boy). It seems like a horse a piece between paying off Sallie Mae 01 and Sallie Mae 02, so I’m going to hit the larger of the 2 first. Good idea, or should I continue going from smallest to largest?

I plan on sharing my new budget at the end of this week.

I hope everyone has a great day!


Financial Priority List

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One of my new favorite things to do since signing my first full-time employment contract is to run numbers over and over again to determine our new debt-free date. 🙂

As a side-note, I ran across an old notebook from last summer (August 2014) where I’d written projected debt-free dates and was slightly heartbroken to see I’d originally hoped to have my car loan paid in full by January 2015. Crusher! Still about 15 grand to go on that one (latest debt update here). But I’ll be hitting it hard once the paychecks start rolling in.

Regarding pay, however, things are still a bit up in the air.

A reader who works in HR commented a couple weeks ago to say that I probably need to receive official permission from my new job to continue working at my online teaching job. I really hadn’t thought anything of it because I know lots of professors who adjunct teach at a community college on the side of their full-time professor gig. But as this is my first full time position and I absolutely do not want ANYTHING to jeopardize it in any way, I called HR to be safe. At first I got a casual response, “I don’t see why that would be an issue but I’ve never had the question before. I’ll check with someone else and call you back.”

So I go the rest of the day thinking I’m A-Okay until I get the call. Even though my part-time job can be completed at nights and on weekends, will not interfere in any way with my new position, and is only adjunct teaching (no additional responsibilities, etc.), the employee handbook has a little section stating that any employment for any other university or college MUST be approved by the department head AND college dean. Ouch.

I’m still hopeful about the situation. I really don’t think it will be a big deal given the parameters of my online teaching job (specifically that it can be completed any time so it won’t cause any impairment to my new day job, and it’s a simple adjunct position). BUT the bottom line is I have to ask for official permission to continue working for the online job and, if I’m told no, there goes my hopes of making serious progress on debt repayment.

Let’s step back a sec and talk numbers without actually talking numbers. Just follow me.

My new full-time job pays about 50% more than my current part-time online teaching job.

BUT

After running the numbers of all the deductions to be taken out from each paycheck, which are substantial (including: health, dental, vision, retirement, money for a flexible spending account for childcare expenses, taxes, etc. etc. etc.) I’m only going to actually be netting an extra couple hundred bucks a month. Soooo, practically the same monthly pay for my full-time job as what I make at my part-time job.

Of course, my money will stretch a lot further at my new full-time job because, unlike the part-time job, I won’t have to deduct funds monthly to pay my own taxes and health insurance. I’ll be paying for (part of) childcare with pre-tax dollars to save some money there. I’ll be paying for health care with pre-tax dollars to save some money there. I’ll be saving money toward retirement where previously I’ve saved nearly nothing. And so on.

But when you just look at the bottom line…. being able to keep my part-time job effectively doubles my take-home salary. So obviously I’m hoping I’ll be able to do that.

Cross your fingers for me. I meet with the department head the week of the 20th (exact date TBD) so I’m hoping to bring it up in our meeting and have it be no big deal.

In the meantime I have a just-for-fun list of financial priorities along with some projected dates.

Financial Priority List

  • September 2015 – Add $4,000 to Emergency Fund. With hubs’ no-income month of May and the fact that much of my paycheck was sucked up into an overdue tax bill, we basically lived on our EF for the month of June. We do have a little left (just under a thousand), but I’d like to beef it up to the $5,000 mark. If we put some aside in August and some in September, we’ll hit that goal. It’s tough to put so much toward savings instead of debt but I feel really strongly that we need to have a solid EF, if for nothing more than my own psychological well-being.
  • December 2015 – Pay off remaining car loan (approx. $15,000). This is still a bit of an aggressive goal, but as long as I’m able to keep both my jobs I think there’s a really good chance we can still pay off our car before the calendar year is over. I CAN NOT WAIT until this loan is paid because it will signify reaching the consumer debt-free mark – a huge milestone in my mind.

And here’s where things get controversial….

After the car is paid off, I definitely want to start paying more toward my student loans. But instead of diving full-force into paying off these loans with the gazelle intensity that I’ve tried to have for all of our other consumer-related debts, I want to split my priorities a bit. I still feel very strongly about paying off these loans as quickly as possible (especially the unsubsidized loans; and I plan to continue doing balance transfers to save some interest where possible, too). That being said, however, there’s something else I feel really strongly about too.

Home ownership.

No, we aren’t looking at places today. No, we don’t even know what the next year may bring (examples: (1) my dad’s scary health issues, and (2) I’ve still been in talks with the out-of-state university where I did my not-an-interview earlier this year). But all that being said, once the consumer debts are paid in full I think it will be important to start saving more aggressively for an eventual down payment. At this point I don’t know specifics (no idea the amount per month we’ll save versus the amount put toward student loans every month), and I really do want to stress that I want my student loans gone ASAP! I hate dealing with them every month. I hate the amount of interest they cost me. I hate their drama. I hate that they’re this huge, scary, black hole of debt on my credit report. So in no way am I suggesting that I’ll only pay minimums or drastically reduce debt payments. No way!

Look. It’s never been a secret that I really want to put down roots somewhere. I said it in my very first “Meet Ashley” post that I wrote when I interviewed to be one of the bloggers here. It’s important to me. The American dream and all that jazz. And the older my kids get, the more I want it.

I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this as time moves on. But for now, we’ll just say that I’ve got these two concrete goals (restock EF by September, and consumer debt-free by December), and then we’ll have to do some reassessing at that point. Either way, 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty kick-butt year in terms of debt repayment. Full throttle ahead!