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Posts tagged with: Student Loans

Considering Student Loan Payments

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My student loans are in deferment until next spring. Up until this past week, I hadn’t made any payments since they went into deferment.

But I know the interest in accumulating and adding to my already large balance. And it’s time I did something about that. Even if it is just a little something.

I asked the BAD Community for guidance on what debt I should be targeting over the next couple of months last week in my September Debt Update.

Student Loan Balances

Here is where it stands right now (screenshot taken 9/10/18:)

student loan balances

I’ve never really paid attention to the Group A and Group B and I’m not sure how that affects anything since they both have the same interest rate.

Plan of Action

With a target on a different debt, I have some questions about my student loan plan of action. Knowing that no payments are due until next spring AND that it is accruing some interest.

  1. Should I add a small regular payment toward my student loan debt to my monthly budget?
  2. If yes, should I target a specific Group? And how does that matter?
  3. If yes, how much should I add to my monthly budget? I’m guessing it should be enough to cover interest and prevent an increase in the on-going balance.

I paid $100 toward Group B last week. Another one of my flying by the seat of my pants decisions. But I feel like I need  a solid plan with this. And I need your advice.

 


Increasing Student Loan Payments

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Nothing like being kicked when you’re down, right?

Well, I’ve had a good run. After 3 years of Income Based Repayment where our student loan payments were only a couple hundred a month (it varied, but was never over $300/month in total), I knew there would be some changes in store after updating our income info using last year’s tax information (this update is required annually). What I did not know or expect, was that the change would be SOOOOOO extreme.

Overnight, we went from a minimum payment of $300….to a minimum payment of over $1,000. THAT’S MORE THAN OUR MORTGAGE!!!! My take-home pay is under $5,000/month, so we’re talking over 20% of our income!!! AHHH!!!!!

After my update, I was notified that we no longer qualified for IBR based on last year’s income. Unfortunately, this occurred during summer when all our finances just went straight to hell so I didn’t give it much thought like I should have.  No thought, that is, until the payment was auto-drafted and my account ended up being overdrawn.

To say I “freaked out” would be an understatement. It was my own fault for not paying closer attention, but I felt totally blind-sighted!

So I did something that maybe (probably?) messes up my credit. But I felt I had no option. I called and asked for my student loans to go into forbearance status for a few months. It was approved the same day. I’ve continued making smaller-sized payments (in the $200-$300 range), but no payment is actually due until January. I’m trying to reapply for IBR with our current income (since the update was based on our tax information from last year, it showed a much higher salary than what we have this year given that hubs no longer works and I dumped my part-time job, too).

Re-doing our current income paperwork is a whole process, as you can imagine.  I haven’t completed it yet but my hope is that this voluntary forbearance gives us the time to get all the paperwork submitted and processed and – fingers crossed – maybe we can get approved for a more reasonable-sized payment. It will still likely be larger than in the past. But we just cannot afford $1,000/month right now as a minimum payment. We’d be much more comfortable in the $300-ish range. I did talk to a representative who said there are other programs available, too (e.g., I was told we could apply for the “standard extended payment”). I’d love to get back on IBR if we can qualify but, if not, I’m glad other options exist. The one problem is the TIME it takes for all that stuff to be processed. I felt backed into a corner with the forbearance because I needed a lower payment NOW and didn’t have time to wait a month (or however long) for a new application to be processed and approved (or potentially rejected).

So that’s where we’re at with my student loans. Another piece of the messy financial puzzle.


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