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Posts tagged with: Health

Ashley’s Debt Update and Discussion


My last post stirred the pot a bit! That was not my intention, but I am so grateful to the BAD community for your support and comments alllll throughout my many years of being in debt.

Today, I want to talk about my current debt status and I’d love to crowd-source comments/input about what my plans should look like moving forward. But let’s start with my current debts.

Sept 2023 Debt Update

DebtAmountOriginal BalanceAPRMinimum PaymentSept Payment
Carmax$4521$20,539 (10/2021)3.45%$374$374 (+ Extra $871 planned)
Mohela$26561$96,020 (2014)0%$0$0 ($250 saved)


I’ve got a fire under my butt to get this paid off ASAP! October is my target deadline and I’m still fully planning to do that. I’ve made this month’s normal payment and plan to put another $871 toward the car this month. That will bring the amount owed to about $3651 (give or take a few bucks in interest). Next month I already have a car payment planned of $925. That brings the total owed to approximately $2726. And I have $3,000 in a CapitalOne360 savings account that is earmarked for “car repairs.” I plan to raid that fund to pay off the remaining balance in full.

After raiding my “car repair” savings account, I can slowly start to rebuild it a little bit each month. I like to have some money stashed away strictly for repairs so I don’t have to shoulder it out of my normal budget if something big comes up. Knock on wood – I haven’t had any major repairs since I bought this vehicle in October 2021. But with my previous vehicle, I was very grateful to have the repair fund since I had a series of unexpected repairs in the $2,000ish range during the last couple of years I owned the vehicle.



That brings us to my student loan debt. Here’s where I’ve got to be honest. I have very little motivation to pay this thing off. Like, almost none. I was accepted into the Publish Service Loan Forgiveness program earlier this year. I will be eligible for loan forgiveness in 2026. Three years. I’m leaning toward just riding it out until then, making minimum payments (which resume next month), and calling it a day.

Including all the interest I’ve paid, I’ve more than paid back my original student loan debt. I’ve also written before about how I used to be laser-focused on paying back my student loans and why that has since changed. I know I could pay the loans off before they are forgiven. It took 2 years to pay off $20,000 for my car. I can totally pay $26,000 in 3 years to eliminate my student loans. But why? For what?

My thoughts…

Instead, I’m more inclined to save some money in a high-yield account that I can use to pay the tax burden when my loans are forgiven (forgiven loans are considered taxable income, so if $26,000 is forgiven, I will need to pay what we would owe in taxes on $26,000).

But what do you think? What’s the “right” move? I say “right” in quotations since there is no single right or wrong answer. I used to feel it was my moral, ethical obligation to pay back my student loans in full. At this point…..I just don’t (read here why). In my opinion, I’ve more than paid back my debt. And then some. But what would you do, if you were in my situation?

I’d certainly like to be debt-free sooner than 2026. But I think it would likely take right about 3 years to pay off that amount of money anyway. Why scrimp and save and everything just to pay off the loans by the exact time they’d be forgiven anyway? Wouldn’t that money be better spent in a high-yield savings account? Then I could take the savings and pay our taxes (when the loans are forgiven) and maybe put any remaining balance toward our mortgage? Or heck, take a vacation? Maybe do that debt-free scream in Nashville like I’ve always wanted? 😉

I realize this is likely a taboo topic for a “get out of debt” blog. At this point, I’m okay with that. If I need to step away from blogging because my focus shifts (after paying off my car), then I’m okay with that too. I’d love your honest input here.

I welcome your thoughts, opinions, personal stories, etc.

Thanks, again, for always being so supportive! The BAD community is the best!

5 Things to Look for in a Mechanic


Finding and hiring a mechanic is inevitable if you own a vehicle. You will need someone to keep up with the maintenance on your car and do repairs when it breaks down. You can’t just hire any mechanic, however. You need to hire the very best provider for your money. The following are some things to look for during your search.

1. Reasonable Tenure

The first thing you need to look for before you hire a mechanic to work on your car is a reasonable tenure. You’ll need to look for an establishment that has been in the business for at least five to 10 years and is loved by most community members. If you can find that, you’re on the right track. Reimagining Education says that more than 6,000 mechanics are in the United States. So, there are plenty to choose from. Still, not everyone will fit the profile of the best mechanic to take care of your vehicle.

You can typically find out how long an automotive shop or mechanic has been in business by reviewing the information on their website. Most will have an ‘about us’ page that explains how long they’ve been providing services in their community.

2. Strong Reputation

The next quality to look for in an auto repair shop is a strong reputation. You’ll need to know if current and former clients stand by their work and feel they received good customer service and professional treatment. Fortunately, the world of consumer reviews is out there.

With a little research, you can find any establishment’s star rating and consumer comments explaining how the process of getting automotive work went for them. You might find a shop with much better reviews than most in the area, and you’ll need to put them on top of your candidate list.

Positive consumer reviews will help you feel safe about getting services from a provider. You’ll know whether they performed work that left the customers’ vehicles safe. You should pay close attention to this part of the process because it’s vital.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports that 50% of the car accidents that cause deaths or injuries happen at urban intersections and 30% in rural areas. Some of them happen because of poor automotive repair jobs and misdiagnoses. That’s why you must hire a provider you can believe in.

3. Mix of Services

You also want to look for a good mix of services. Finding a mechanic that can do everything will save you the trouble of hiring several providers. You can go to the same company for maintenance, small, and large jobs. Oil changes are examples of maintenance jobs that are super important. Experts like AAA say that one should get their oil changed every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Thus, you’ll need a shop that provides those services but can also work on your tires, suspension, engine, transmission, etc. It’s all the better if you find a mechanic who can also do odd and miscellaneous jobs.

4. Fair Pricing

Pricing is pretty important because you can only pay what your budget will allow. Thus, you need to figure out your budget first and then match it up with a company offering fair labor costs. You might get lucky and find a shop that offers coupons, promotional codes, and special discounts to its new customers. Many automotive shops do these promotions. You must ask or visit their website to see if they announce such things.

5. Certification

Lastly, you’ll want to invest in a shop that has certified mechanics working for it. A certified mechanic has formal education and experience working on cars. ASE certification is a popular system that certifies mechanics in different vehicular systems. You might find a certified automotive electrician specialist, an alignment expert, or a transmission guru. You might also be fortunate enough to run into a master mechanic who knows little about everything.

You can make a well-educated choice if you use the above criteria. Remember not to rush. Look at all the important aspects and narrow your selections down carefully. Choose wisely and you can keep your car running well for many years.