Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chipping Away Student Loan Debt

My husband and I after we received our diplomas - 2006
Me and my parents on grad day - 2006

Chipping clearly is the correct term here. As a stay-at-home momma, most days we are scraping by. Regardless of my current situation, I have decided to get a little crazy with paying off my massive student loan debt. It has been haunting me for way too long.

I recently got inspired by rereading a book called The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. This book is near and dear to my heart, since it is the book that created our personal radical move toward eliminating debt to enable me to become a stay-at-home mom. However, the ominous emails from Sallie Mae come every month and we pay it on time and then forget about it until the next month rolls around. Sound familiar?

Well...this month I happened to check on things beyond the monthly due date and see how we must have caused a dent in the school debt by now. I mean, it's been almost 7 years since I've graduated! Much to my surprise, it was as if the debt grew. Which it did. Thanks to interest. It felt like a "one step forward, two steps back" scenario.

A very rude awakening occurred when I saw the estimated date of when the debt would be paid off. I'm pretty sure I almost fainted. Lets just say, for a few years we will be paying for my son (who's currently 2 1/2 years old) AND MY COLLEGE at the same time!!!

Unless, I do something about it.

Here's where it gets a little tricky. Like I said, I am a stay at home mom. We have pretty much shaved any unnecessary expenses to get us here. That leaves little, if nothing, to put toward the MASSIVE student loan debt that haunts me everywhere I go. I did a little online digging that got me real excited to get crazy about ridding myself of this debt. It led me to a blog about a Harvard graduate who had a similar conviction and went to extreme measures to pay off his own massive college debt. You can check out his blog here. It's a good read.

Good stuff, right? Practically speaking, I can't put EVERY extra dollar toward student loan debt since any that we get already goes to my kiddos. I just decided to give myself a simple equation to put money in a "piggy bank" to ship to Sallie Mae when I'm all said and done. Here's my plan...

Beginning August of 2013 ANY $5 dollar bills I find in my possession get put in an envelope (out of sight, out of mind) for the end of the month. At the end of the month they get added to my monthly loan payment.

Since I pay for my groceries in cash, this will come mostly from my grocery budget, which thankfully, I should be able to squeeze out a few extra dollars with the good purpose of paying down college debt. At least until my kids are in school, this should work out well. Once I'm back to my teaching career we will be able to do a lot more. The part that I like the most about this is at least I'm doing SOMETHING to improve the situation now rather than later. I'm tired of not taking control of this debt before me.

I will keep you posted on my progress :)

If you have any other ideas, I would love to be inspired by YOU! Please comment below!

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