g: 0 Posted By: Killy215
Views: 122 Replies: 4 Hi there! I am new to the forums and have been reading over other posters financial woes when it comes to their student loan debt. For the last 2 years, I have been working to get myself out of all of my debt. This is going to be long, but I want to give the whole picture! A little bit of background:
3 years ago, I moved from Jersey to Maryland to take a new job, paying a decent amount over what I was making. To be immediately frugal, I moved to a much cheaper town about 30-40 minutes away from my job with my partner. When we first moved, my partner didnt have a job so I paid the bulk of the expenses, while she paid for a small part. She ended up going to school and getting her CDL, and within a year got a job. So for our first year in the house, I wasnt able to put much extra towards any of my debt. Once my partner got the job, we worked out an agreement where she took on my portion of the rent for a year, and I got to work attacking my credit card debt, which was about $15,000. I began paying it off in January of 2012 and finished in March of 2013. Im really proud of myself for this.
Now I know its time to work on my student loan debt, which is just an enormous, crushing weight on my shoulders. I know I can pay it off much sooner than the payments have me set to do, so thats what Im going to try to do. I got a B.A. degree in Psychology that I dont even use, but it did help get me the job Im in today. When I graduated college in 2007, I had $98,000 in student loan debt, and I went to a public school. I made poor choices, taking out more money than school cost so that I could live/pay rent/groceries, etc. Also, it took me 7 years to finish instead of 4 for about 65% of that time I was working full time and going part time. I wish I understood the consequences of what I was doing more, or that someone was there to guide me a bit more/answer my questions, but unfortunately, that is not the case. I take full responsibility for the loans and taking them out, and it has certainly given me a great lesson in all of this. Bottom line is, I have this debt now and Ive got to get it out of here. My student loans are split between federal and private. Ive been paying on the loans for 5 years, since 2008. The balances Im giving you are what is current. Heres the breakdown:
Private: $55,247.13 at 6.2735% (These are multiple loans that have been consolidated into one). Their minimum payment per month is $406 over 30 years. Federal: Total is $33,293.38, breakdown below. 1. Consolidation Loan: Subsidized = $5,330.42 at 2.875% / Unsubsidized = $12,426.18 at 2.875% 2. Stafford Loans: Subsidized = $3,862.02 at 6.8% / Unsubsidized = $5,143.56 at 2.35% / Unsubsidized = $6,531.20 at 6.8%The federal loans are currently in deferment because Im going to graduate school (employer-paid), but I AM paying the accrued interest. I need to get rid of these loans, and I know I need to work on the private loan first. Here are is my total amount of monthly expenses, which I have in a budget spreadsheet and keep track of throughout every month:
Rent: $425/month (split, per person)
Car payment: $396 + $102 extra for principal (paying $500/mth so that I can have the car paid off in 3 more years, shaving 2 years off of the initial term). Interest is 1.9%.
Car insurance: $530 per year I make 1-3 bulk payments in December/January.
Cell phone: $77
Gas/Heat (home): $86
Gas (car): $240
Life insurance: $20
Private student loan: $455.03 (I put an extra $50 each month towards the principle, Ive been doing this for about 2 years)
Federal loans interest: $260
Savings account: $100
League dues (roller derby): $35
I bring home around $3,170 per month, which leaves me around $873 per month extra. I also put 3% towards my 401k, where my company matches 50% up to 6%. (Next year, my healthcare is going up about $30 per month, so thats a factor as well). I would like to commit to putting an extra $800 on my private student loan each month. My partner and I live a pretty frugal, simple life, so I do believe this is possible, save for any weird expenses that may come up (i.e., our renters insurance or my AAA membership, which I never take into consideration for monthly expenses).
Ive already started looking for a second job, which means I would have to quit playing roller derby (I cant do 2 jobs, plus grad school, plus derby). This disappoints me because its definitely a great outlet and a way for me to keep up my spirits and exercise, but I know a second job would really help chip away at this money. Next, I received a balance transfer offer for my credit cards at 0% for 12 months with a 2% fee. So last week, I took $8,000 from this offer and paid it towards my $55,000 private loan. I can get the $8,000 paid off in a year with payments of $666 per month towards the credit card. Then Ill take another $150 every month and add it to the student loan payments with my $455. After the $8k is paid off, I hope to use another offer of 0% and do it again.
Does this sound like a reasonable plan? We dont have a lot of extras, and the ones we used to have have been cut when I started paying off my credit cards (i.e., cable). I recently looked into leaving my cell phone company, AT&T, as T-Mobile can get me a similar plan for about $20 less per month, however my cancellation fee of $260 does not make it worth it at this time. Maybe there is something Im missing with the cell phone situation that someone can give me information on. Also, Ive went through my house and pretty much sold all of my extra things on eBay and Craigslist. I have 1 or 2 other things that I might be able to get rid of. Otherwise, I take my breakfast and lunch to work every day except on Friday, where I splurge on an $8 lunch each week. This $32 is part of my $150 misc expenses.
Also, if you were me, where would you put any extra money you received (i.e., tax refund)? A part of me wants to put it on my car so I can get that paid off quicker (and thus freeing up $500 per month), but I also know it makes more sense to put it on the higher interest loan. Thoughts?
Ive really changed my outlook on money over the last few years, and Im trying to get to a better place. There are things I want to buy (like a house!) that I know I just cannot because I cant afford it. Id like to have kids, but they are going to have to wait because I cannot afford them at this time. I feel lucky to have landed such a good job and be in a place in my life where Im able to make this plan and actually execute it. Id really appreciate any insight, especially on things that Ive missed or could do better.
Thanks for listening.
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