Student Loan Payoff Progress Report: Month 11 -$113,546.61

Debt Repayment

Month 11: -$113,546.61

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I switched my focus from paying off my credit cards, to paying off my student loans! 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 11” is a misnomer. This is year 5 & Month 11 of payoff. Two months ago I made my first ever principal payment on these loans, thanks to refinancing them, and last month the overpayment for the refinance credited to the balance. I’m so excited!

Student Loan Payoff Report Month 11: -$113,546

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: $0.00

SiteGround Affiliate: $0.00

Day Designer Affiliate: $0.00

Ebates Cash Back: $0.00 sent quarterly

Sponsored Posts: $300.00

Side Hustles: $186.00

Expected/Unexpected Reimbursements: $901.78 – Reimbursement for the overpayment of my student loan when I refinanced; $98.26 Cash back match for the last year of my Discover Card

Where My Payments Went


Law School Refinanced Loan: $950.00 = My monthly payment + a little extra* + $901.78 (above) = $1,851.78

Extra Blogging Expenses: $35 for a giveaway; $38 for an instagram loop; $12, shipping last month’s giveaway prize

Discover Card: $727.80 – read more about how I screwed up my 0% interest repayment plan here. Seeing this amount makes me excited, though. I simply put a lot of extra money toward this debt, and didn’t really notice it was missing. Now that I’ve corrected my 401k mistake, I can get back on track.

Extra Yard Service: $50.00 I have a yard guy who comes and makes my yard look amazing. It’s $50 every 2-3 weeks in the spring/summer. Worth every penny. On his last visit, he also cleaned up the appearance of the bushes in front of my house for an extra $50.

Total Payments: ~$1714.54, ~$2,714.58 if you count the reimbursements.

*I made this payment early. I get paid every two weeks and it’s sort of gone off schedule from how I normally pay my bills. They’re separated, naturally, by one check paying the mortgage and the other check paying my student loan. It works out really well. So when the dates get a little off track, it’s harder to organize. In order to not having the money sitting in my checking account for too long, and pay some principal sooner, thus resulting in less accruing interest, I made this payment early. Then, I discovered that DRB/Laurel Road doesn’t require you to send a fancy letter saying all extra payments should go toward the balance and still take out my standard autopayment amount.

This meant that if I didn’t suspend autopay, I’d be paying ANOTHER $932.05. That obviously wouldn’t work. So I paused the autopay on the last possible day, and set up a system to transfer the monthly payment to a different checking account I have. That way, the money will always come out of that account, I don’t have to worry about accidentally spending it in my regular checking while I wait for the due date, and I won’t have to suspend autopay. Having autopay set up provides an interest rate discount. So for about 5 days, I lost that discount. I don’t want to do that again. I’m excited to see how the process goes this month, coming from the other account.

Interestingly, my monthly payment amount dropped too. Now, instead of being $932.05, it’s $923.94. I really like that Laurel Road lets you pick an overpayment amount as well. I’ve rounded my auto-debit amount to $935.00 so it will always take that out instead. Every dollar helps!

Retirement Savings

You can read more about how I royally screwed up my budget when I started contributing to my 401k. Math is tough.

Student Loan Payoff Report Month 11: -$113,000

You’re going to see my 401k reduce again soon. If you don’t follow me on instagram, I have exciting news!!

J and I are engaged! We shook hands in agreement to not put the wedding on a credit card (gah!). I’m so glad we did that. It is going to really keep me focused and on track, and has already made a difference in how I’m spending money on the small items we’ve already purchased. For example, I almost bought a box of thank you cards on amazon. They were $15 and seemed like a good deal. But I figured I’d check out what Target had. They had a similar sized box, a little more our style, for only $9.99. That’s $5 more to go somewhere else that I would have just spent if it weren’t for our focused goal!

Because I didn’t have a wedding savings already, and because I run a 0 based budget, I made some decisions on how to afford cash-flowing a wedding. One of them was to reduce my 401k contributions. I know, I know. Future-Me is a little annoyed too. My employer’s match has already been met for the year, I’m still contributing to it, just by a smaller amount, and I’m still contributing to both my Pension and my IRA. My employer also contributes to a separate pension. So this decision is not made with total disregard for my retirement. But as I’m sure you can tell, I agonized over it for a long time. ugh. However, 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. But seeing the numbers in a graph and chart form helps to see that there really is progress.

Student Loan Payoff Report Month 11: -$113,000
You can see that I paid a little over $200 in interest. That’s from making my payment early. There is already about $500 in accrued interest for next month, since it’s been accruing for longer, and includes a few days where I wasn’t getting the .25% autopay discount. Ugh. Well, it was informative to try that method, at least.

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: $15.62

Current Per-Day Interest: $15.08

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.

Student Loan Payoff Report Month 11: -$113,000
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.

Since 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.

2) Pay off my credit cards.

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.

7) Reduce Student Loan Balance to less than $100,000. When I hit that $99,999.99 mark, I think we should celebrate!

Thanks for coming alongside me during this journey. I’ve loved hearing your stories too. You can leave it in the comments, or tell me about it on Facebook or Twitter!

Common Questions: 

Here are answers or insight into a few common questions that have come up during this process:

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  • Reply
    July 17, 2017 at 6:45 am

    WOW! Congrats on your engagement and your progress! I know it is hard but I am sure seeing the numbers go down every month is motivating for you. Keep it up!

    • Reply
      July 18, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Thank you, Naoma! We are very excited :). And yes, the numbers are so motivating! Otherwise it just feel like a thousand dollars draining out of my bank account every month for no reason. Haha Seeing the numbers actually makes a huge motivational difference for me

  • Reply
    July 17, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Wow! This is truly inspirational! You are doing awesome getting rid of your debt! GO YOU!

  • Reply
    Michael @ Super Millennial
    July 17, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Very detailed I love how you are showing people step by step and tracking earnings. This is awesome, congrats!

    • Reply
      July 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Thanks, Michael! Step-by-step posts are the ones that helped me the most while I was still trying to figure out how to budget for debt repayment, so it’s my hope that my step-by-step process can help others!

  • Reply
    Bailey @ Becoming Bailey
    July 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Keep up the great work!!!! I applaud you for not going into debt for your wedding– unfortunately, Andy and I ended up taking out $10,000 in loans for our wedding. It was definitely not a smart choice, but we don’t regret it as we had a very tight timeline for our wedding. Thankfully, we paid off the first wedding debt in March and will have the next one paid off very soon!
    Bailey @ Becoming Bailey recently posted…Our Rental Home Wish List

    • Reply
      July 18, 2017 at 7:16 am

      Good job paying off the wedding debt, Bailey! The math should work that we can save to cash flow things for the wedding, but it’s so hard to not want to immediately buy/reserve EVERYTHING. Gah!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    You are seriously my inspiration! I want to get my debt into check and I didn’t know how to really do it. I’m taking some of what you have done and keeping it in mind as I go through this journey.

    • Reply
      July 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

      Thank you so much, Krysten! I’m honored to hear that. Good luck! You can do it!

  • Reply
    Laina Turner
    July 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Congrats to you!!! As someone who has a TON of student loans, I admire your perseverance.

    • Reply
      July 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

      Thanks, Laina! Good luck with yours! They can be conquered as long as we don’t give up! :)

  • Reply
    July 18, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Good job! That’s really impressive. Hopefully the debt is totally gone soon enough :)

    • Reply
      July 18, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Thanks, Isabelle! I hope so too! :)

  • Reply
    July 18, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Congrats! That’s so exciting. Nice job on your continued progress reaching all your goals.
    Marissa recently posted…How To Spend A Weekend In Winthrop

  • Reply
    Biglaw Investor
    July 24, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Congratulations! That’s such great news on the engagement. I just got married two weeks ago. The time flies by (which everyone will tell you). Have fun!

    On a separate note, so glad to see you writing in detail about the steps you’re taking to pay off your student loans and looking forward to following along. I started at an earlier post, so am glad to see that you’ve refinanced the loans since it sounds like you intend to pay them off rather than seek some time of forgiveness. I don’t think those federal protections were worth the thousands of dollars you were paying in higher interest payments.

    If you ever want to talk finances, let me know! My whole site is about personal finance and lawyers.

    Biglaw Investor recently posted…Great News! ATMs are Now Free

  • Reply
    July 25, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Keep chipping away–you’re doing great!
    P2P recently posted…Keeping Current (July 1-15, 2017)

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