Month 12: -$113,180.25
It has been officially 12 months since I switched my attention from my credit cards to my student loan! Every month that I update this, it motivates me to conquer debt and improve my future! I hope it helps you as well.
If you want more detailed information, check out November’s payoff report. Remember, calling this “Month 12” is a misnomer. This is year 5 & Month 12 of payoff, or year 6 if you will. Three months ago I made my first ever principal payment on these loans, thanks to refinancing them, and two months the overpayment for the refinance credited to the balance. I’m so excited!
Extra Income This Month
Affiliate links are used in this post, and most posts here on WMSB. If you click on a link and make a purchase, WMSB receives a small commission. You don’t get charged a penny more for this, but it keeps WMSB running, and makes my debt repayment happy.
Amazon Affiliate: $19.37
SiteGround Affiliate: $0.00
Day Designer Affiliate: $8.85
Ebates Cash Back: $0.00 sent quarterly
Sponsored Posts: $0.00
Side Hustles: $0.00
Expected/Unexpected Reimbursements: $0.00
I got engaged and became basically useless at anything else in life haha. We also went to Watershed for nearly a week, where I didn’t have any access to meaningful internet and didn’t bring my laptop so that maybe I’d relax. As a result, my extra income is lacking. However, I’m feeling more motivated now to pick it back up and start pitching again!
Where My Payments Went
Law School Refinanced Loan: $935.00
Extra Blogging Expenses: $0.00 I suppose that’s a positive of becoming too into wedding pinterest boards to write haha
Yard Waste Removal and Deck Replacement: A lot*
Total Payments: ~$1,266.49 toward debt
*I am now a landlord! It’s weird! But in order to become a landlord, I had to finish several big projects that had been on the, “I should do this soon” list for awhile. One was replacing my deck, which is above my garage. My former roommate and I noticed a soft spot in the flooring of the deck a few months ago. I knew to just not step on it while I saved to fix it. But, because I am now renting it to other people, I knew I had to fix it ASAP. Before I officially moved out and anyone else moved in, it had to be repaired. I felt more comfortable knowing that the whole thing would be solid for many years to come, so the same contractor who did my kitchen/bathroom floors, and helped me remodel the main bathroom, came over and he and J tore the old deck up, then he did an incredible job replacing it all. It looks AMAZING. I even got to pick a “floor” cover and it looks like a sandy beach! Now I just wish I would have fixed it in time to enjoy it myself!
I also had some out of control foliage that I’m not sure the sellers EVER maintained. It has taken months to get it all chopped down and hauled away. Thankfully, J and his chainsaw did the chopping down part. But I had to hire someone to come load it up and take it to the dump. These two projects combined were over $1,000 and just about depleted my savings. Thank God August is a three paycheck month! The savings is now rebuilt and I’m back on track with my snowball payment method.
Like I told you last month, my 401k contributions have been reduced in order to cash-flow our wedding, which will be reflected in next month’s report. Don’t worry, I still have two pensions (one I contribute to, one my employer contributes to, not shown here) and an IRA I contribute to. I’ve already exceeded the Employer’s match on the 401k so I’m not giving away free money. Once we’ve met our goals for the wedding account, I’ll up it again. We agreed to not put anything for this wedding on a credit card. As much as I know I’ll fall in love with some amazing “must-have” wedding item that I won’t be able to buy on the spot (or may need to make myself), I will pretty happy on the morning after our wedding when I wake up and don’t have a $10,000-$20,000 bill for the party we threw the night before!
Current Law School Student Loans Balances
Paying off six figures of student loan debt feels like a bottomless pit.
To create this chart, you can see in red that I combined the total of my bar exam, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, so that the progress can still be tracked over time and it doesn’t look like I’m starting over. In my opinion, keeping momentum in debt repayment (and being kind to yourself if you get off track) is key to long term success.
You can see that I paid a little over $700 in interest. That’s from making my payment early last month, since it’s been accruing for longer (45 days instead of 30), and includes a few days where I wasn’t getting the .25% autopay discount because when I paid early last month, I didn’t know that DRB automatically considers extra payments as “extra” and not “pay ahead.” I had to pause the autopay setting for a few days around when my payment would normally come out. It was informative to try that method, at least, and probably saved me a dollar or two in interest over the long term.
I’m keeping track of how the per-day interest is impacted because I’m really curious to see what a difference making principal payments makes, and also determine what kind of daily impact refinancing my student loans is having on my life. It’s interesting to me how much of a difference .25% makes for even only a couple of days! Pausing that for a few days caused me to pay $0.50 more per day in interest over a 45 day period compared to last month.
Before Refi Per-Day Interest: $20.34
Last Month’s Per-Day Interest: $15.08
Current Per-Day Interest: $15.56
I refinanced with Darien Rowayton Bank. I wrote all about it in the Complete Guide to What it was Like to Refinance My Student Loans. The interest reflects the overpayment made on my federal loans. DRB is rebranding their student loan branch into “Laurel Road.” So if you hear me talking about Laurel Road in the future, that’s why. Perhaps they heard my point that DRB is a really unfortunate acronym for a bank.
Like I told you last month, I’ve been talking to the people at CommonBond about their service. I didn’t apply at CommonBond because based on the three rate quotes I received, DRB/Laurel Road was already pretty low and I was ready to start the process. I learned that CommonBond has a process of beating the rate of a competitor if theirs isn’t already lower! CommonBond and WMSB have teamed up to give you an exclusive $200 cash bonus if you refinance your student loans with CommonBond using this link!
Financial Goals Now:
There are still things to accomplish, and goals to achieve that I’ll discuss below. But we definitely need to take the time to celebrate the wins we achieve throughout the payoff process. If we don’t, we will burn out or get discouraged. I’m speaking from experience here.
My Debt Repayment Goals
1) Pay off my car. 3) Pay off the Bar Exam Student Loan. I stuck with the snowball method, to pay off the bar exam loan, and it totally worked! 4) Re-evaluate my savings and retirement plan. 5) Tackle the accrued interest from my income based repayment plan. CHANGE OF PLANS! Refinance my Student Loans.
6) Reduce Student Loan Balance by $10,000 to $104,500. I’m coming for you, law school student loans! It’s strange to not have a snowball anymore. So I’m tracking my repayment in increments.
NEW: 6b) Save my half of the cash for our wedding. This is the most fun savings goal I’ve ever had!
7) Reduce Student Loan Balance to less than $100,000. When I hit that $99,999.99 mark, I think we should celebrate!
Here are answers or insight into a few common questions that have come up during this process:
- September 2016: Progress Report #1 -$125,136.26
- What is the Snowball Method?
- How I Paid Off $11,000 in Credit Card Debt + my car at the same time
- Do you hate your career? I did for a long time too. Here are 4 Changes I Made to No Longer Hate Being a Lawyer
- A Review of the Hosting Service I Use for Blogging – which allows me to earn extra money by blogging
- This article at Clear Point gives fantastic advice about how to tell your loan servicer how to process your payments. I would highly recommend reading the post and the comments if you’re dealing with student loans.
- The Real Life Tracking Sheet I use to track my financial, health and self development goals.
- The Complete Guide to Refinancing Federal Student Loans – My experience from start to finish applying with DRB, SoFi and Earnest to refinance my student loans.
- New: A Guide at Dough Roller to Eliminate Law School Student Loan Debt from beginning to end!