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Ashley’s May 2023 Debt Update


It’s been a minute since my last debt update and these are some of my favorite posts, as they keep me accountable! So without further ado, here’s where my debts stand as of May 2023.

May 2023 Debt List

DebtCurrent BalanceOriginal BalanceAPRMinimum PaymentMay Payment
Carmax$9,513$20,539 (10/2021)3.45%$374$374
Mohela$26,561$96,020 (2014)0% currently$0 currently$0


Since my last update in February, I’ve paid $2,291 on the car (an average of $763/month). I always make the first payment at the beginning of the month and the over-payment at the end, and I haven’t yet made the overpayment this month. I’m hoping to pay at least another couple hundred in principal-only overpayment this month. My goal is to get this debt paid off by the end of the year. That’s a stretch goal, as it means payments will need to be a bit hefty (over $1300/month) for the remainder of the year. But I plan to make a substantial overpayment during my 3-paycheck month next month, so it’s still realistic and do-able.


I’ve made no additional payments on my student loans since my last update in February, but the big update is that my loans were officially transferred from Aidvantage to Mohela when I was accepted into the PSLF program. Per their online tracking tool, I still have 41 payments to go until I’m eligible for loan forgiveness (approx. 3.5 years). Right now I’m making no payments and, instead, put money into a dedicated High Yield savings account that I eventually plan to use for paying down student debt (and/or paying off the car early???). The account ear-marked for student loans has $2163 in it currently. Ideally, I’d like to save up enough to pay off the lowest student loan in full. The lowest loan is $4702, so I’m still quite a ways off and this is a lower-priority savings item right now, as my main focus is paying off the car.

Progress feels slow going given that I’m just chipping away at these relatively large loan balances. But I’m committed and especially excited to pay off my car! I’m putting so much toward it right now that it takes a big chunk of my monthly budget! Once that debt is cleared, it will free up a lot of money for other savings and debt-payment goals. Can’t wait!

How do you prioritize which debt(s) to pay first? Snowball method? Avalanche? The most psychologically satisfying? Something else?

Our Top Tips for Getting Rid of Debt After Getting Out of Jail


Transitioning from incarceration back into society can be challenging, especially when managing your finances. One of the most pressing challenges when you leave jail after an extended period is recovering financially. If you are disciplined and take a proactive approach to rebuilding your financial situation, you can regain control over your finances.

The Financial Consequences of a Criminal Conviction

Financial consequences often arise from a criminal conviction, even if you were in a stable financial situation before incarceration. It’s likely you’re expected to pay a fine, on top of the jail time you’ve served. Additionally, if you already had credit cards and other monthly payments before jail, you may owe additional interest or late payments. No matter how much you dread it, take an honest look at your financial situation, including all of the money you owed prior to your conviction and any you are responsible for now.

Create a Realistic Budget

Setting a realistic budget is part of starting your journey toward eliminating debt. Assess your income and expenses, and determine how much you can allocate towards monthly repayments. Prioritize your debts based on interest rates or outstanding balances and commit to making regular payments. Sticking to a budget will help you track your progress and prevent overspending and accumulating additional debt.

Negotiate with Creditors

Reach out to your creditors and explain your situation. Some may be willing to lower your interest rates, waive specific fees, or offer a more manageable payment plan. Remember, communication is key, and being honest and proactive can go a long way in gaining their cooperation.

Consult with a Financial Advisor

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from a professional. Consider consulting a financial advisor or counselor who can provide personalized guidance and strategies tailored to your situation. They can help you navigate complex financial matters, negotiate with creditors, and develop a comprehensive plan to get you in a better position faster.

Take Cost-Saving Measures

There are small steps you can take to save money that will have a massive impact on your wallet in the long term. For instance, cleaning your heat exchanger regularly saves you $5,000-$10,000 per year in energy costs. By proactively identifying and implementing such cost-saving strategies, you can accelerate your journey toward financial stability.

Don’t Get Discouraged

As you work towards financial freedom, you must resist the temptation of falling into old habits or engaging in activities that could land you in legal trouble. No matter how overwhelming your situation is, there is always a way out. Don’t let yourself fall back into old habits, as you could end up in a worse position than you are now. For example, according to Online Sunshine, possessing at least 25 pounds of cannabis will result in a minimum of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Learn a New Trade or Vocation

One way to redirect your focus and energy is by pursuing education or vocational training. Gaining new skills can enhance your employability and increase your income potential, making it easier to tackle your debts. Additionally, exploring community resources and support networks can provide valuable guidance and opportunities for personal growth.

Focus on Personal Reform

You can’t change what’s happened, but focusing on personal reform is crucial in your journey to financial stability. The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program in Pennsylvania reported 39,228 cases of violent crimes in 2019. It’s essential to acknowledge the role of previous behaviors leading to incarceration and take proactive steps to break free from negative patterns.

Regaining financial stability after getting out of jail requires determination and perseverance. By acknowledging your financial situation and focusing on personal reform, you’ll eliminate your debt in no time.