Student Loan Payoff Progress Report Month 12: -$113,180.25

Debt Repayment

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!

Student Loan Payoff Progress Report, Month 12: -$113,180

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

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

Discover Card: $331.49 – read more about how I screwed up my 0% interest repayment plan here. Now that I’ve corrected my 401k mistake, I can get back on track.

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.

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 Progress Report, Month 12: -$113,180

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.

Student Loan Payoff Progress Report, Month 12: -$113,180

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.

Student Loan Payoff Progress Report, Month 12: -$113,180

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.

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.

NEW: 6b) Save my half of the cash for our wedding. This is the most fun savings goal I’ve ever had!

engaged while paying off student loans

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
    Neely Moldovan
    August 14, 2017 at 4:26 am

    YOu are doing so awesome girl!

  • Reply
    August 14, 2017 at 8:40 am

    honestly, stopping my debt payments to pile up money for a wedding has been the HARDEST thing i’ve EVER done. i’m so used to NOT spending money that i can’t handle having $3,000 just sitting in an account. if i had to do it all over again, i probably would have set up a separate bank account and then just used that card for wedding stuff so it felt detached from my regular bank account. coulda woulda shoulda. you’ll kill it <3 i can't wait for you to get below $100,000! i feel like at that point you can measure from one 10 to a 5 to another 10 to another 5 and it'll gain a lot of traction from there.
    stephanie recently posted…August Currently

    • Reply
      August 14, 2017 at 8:43 am

      I’m so glad you said that, Stephanie. Joey and I did go set up a separate bank account for wedding stuff and it’s been an awesome decision. I have a transfer set up every pay day just like any other debt. I think of what I “owe” for my half and subtract from that. It’s the only mindset shift that has made it slightly easier to save that much money. Otherwise, it’s REALLY hard to not see the balances drop like I know they could!!

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      I can’t imagine just having the money sitting there. I’m impressed that you did something that hard!!


  • Reply
    August 14, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Congrats! I’m saving this so I can reevaluate my student loans!

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Sam!

  • Reply
    August 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    This is such a good idea! We’re busting our butts to pay off student loans so we can start saving for a house. It’s a long road, and requires so much discipline, but is so worth it!

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      It will be totally worth it, Emily! If you’re motivated by charts, I’d definitely suggest posting one somewhere in your house. It really helps seeing the progress tracked in writing!

  • Reply
    Bailey @ Becoming Bailey
    August 14, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Congrats!! It was so hard for me to stop the debt snowballing for our wedding last year. To make it even harder, I ended up quitting one of my jobs since I was working full time plus part time and wanted to spend more time with my fiance and planning our wedding. We did end up taking out a small loan for our wedding– which I do NOT recommend– but it was totally worth it IMO. You mentioned being a landlord…. did you end up moving somewhere else?
    Bailey @ Becoming Bailey recently posted…What I’m Watching {Summer 2017}

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      I did! We decided to move in together after getting engaged. I am renting out my house now! He made me shake hands that we wouldn’t put the wedding on a credit card. I think he saw that I could go totally wedding crazy. Smart guy. I cringed through the whole handshake!

  • Reply
    Abril - Paris & June
    August 14, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    Wow, keep up the great work love! This is good detail, especially for those who think it can’t be done. :)

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Thank you! I hope it inspires exactly those people! We can be free from loans!

  • Reply
    Ushmana Palmo Rai
    August 17, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I really love your speculations! Haven’t seen any other blogs sharing so much! Thank you, keep posting! xx
    Ushmana Palmo Rai recently posted…Vitamix 6300 Vs 7500 – Which Blender Should You Buy?

  • Reply
    Leo Tat
    August 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I didn’t know student debt could reach those amounts. It’s either because I am in the UK or our generation that the average is around $3k-$10k. Our student loan was also government sponsored, so the rate is really low like 3-4%. It’s useful you have everything on spreadsheet, keeping track of your finances can be messy otherwise.
    Leo Tat recently posted…Ketosis vs. Ketoacidosis (DKA): What Is the Difference?

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      We have a very poor student loan system in the US, in my opinion. These are also graduate level loans, which are issued at a higher rate than undergraduate loans. All of mine are through the government so I surprisingly had “decent” rates, then I refinanced. So the 5.1% I pay now is 2.15% less than what I was paying before! It’s truly absurd and has resulted in a delay in many of my friends and acquaintances in many standard adult things like buying a home, etc.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I love reading these reports! I’m glad to see your progress. Saving money for a wedding is fun since you know you’ll love the end result!
    Marissa recently posted…How to Spend an Active Day in Kirkland

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks! And yes the wedding saving is so fun!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    I am always so impressed with these updates of yours! Also totally makes me overwhelmed just reading it but you are just so organized and on top of it! Congrats on every bit of progress!

    • Reply
      August 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks! Believe it or not, these make it LESS overwhelming for me! Before I started doing these reports I felt like there was never any movement and it was all impossible. Looking at this every month keeps the changing factors in perspective. I can’t hide my head in the sand anymore!

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