Month 13: -$112,733.39
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 13” is a misnomer. This is year 6 & Month 1 of payoff. Four months ago, I refinanced and I’m still incredibly excited every time I see progress FINALLY made on these loans!
Slow and steady wins the race.
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: $36.14
SiteGround Affiliate: $0.00
Day Designer Affiliate: $8.85
Ebates Cash Back: $0.00 sent quarterly
Sponsored Posts: $0.00 – but a LOT of free laundry detergent for this instagram post, which was worth it. I don’t do blog posts for free merchandise, but if it’s something I’m going to buy anyway, I will occasionally offer one free social media share.
Side Hustles: $10 for completing a survey; ~$50.00 – selling items on Offer Up that went toward the wedding fund
Expected/Unexpected Reimbursements: $0.00
This summer I got engaged and became basically useless at anything else in life. 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. I’m trying to get back into the habit of pitching, and sent one pitch over last week. My new goal is to pitch one sponsored post campaign or one company per week so that I can get back on track. I don’t work with certain retailers either due to values conflicts, or personal conflicts of a different nature. This occasionally limits my opportunities, but a goal of one pitch per week should be attainable.
Where My Payments Went
Law School Refinanced Loan: $935.00
Extra Blogging Expenses: $0.00 – I would have spent $10 on Facebook ads, but they gave me a coupon for some reason. I believe Facebook ad coupons are gateway drugs to posting ads on Facebook, but I’m not going to turn down free advertising when it makes sense (not all of their “boost post coupons” make sense)
Total Payments: $1,635.00 toward debt
You can read more about how I royally screwed up my budget when I started contributing to my 401k. Math is tough. It was a three paycheck month which helped a lot despite decreasing my 401k contributions this month!
My 401k contributions have been reduced in order to cash-flow our wedding. 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. I’ve already realized in wedding planning that after crying at night over how we’ll never be able to afford [this must have vendor/item], that once I’m calmer the next day, I can ALWAYS find a more budget friendly option.
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.
I’m looking forward to having that discover card paid off again (should be next month) so that I can see what a difference the snowball method makes on these loans! Wahoo!
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.
Before Refi Per-Day Interest: $20.34
Last Month’s Per-Day Interest: $15.56 (partly because I had to pause my auto-pay for a few days, taking my interest rate from 5.1% to 5.25%. The month prior, it was $15.08)
Current Per-Day Interest: $15.77 – why is it more than last month? I have no idea.
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.”
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!
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 and emotional 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 SheetI 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!