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Happy Halloween (a few days late)! We managed to stick to a reasonable budget for my son’s Halloween costume this year. My husband still went overboard tricking out the Step 2 truck to make it into a fire truck, but it was mostly sweat equity. He even used a little of his own fun money on the project in the spirit of sticking to our spending plans. It felt great to have a fun holiday with no financial stress surrounding us!
This month we analyzed our remaining expenses to figure out where we could save even more. We are in the process of shopping around for new auto and home insurance, and I refinanced one of my student loans. Our dining out spending was also at a record low this month. Since I’m trying to lose weight, there’s an added incentive to cooking at home!
We paid off a credit card this month! It wasn’t a balance transfer or a consolidation, but a true payoff! I don’t think we have ever done this before. We even paid it off ahead of schedule thanks to the buffer we started! Woo hoo! A few items moved up a month in the payoff schedule too, so that’s exciting!
|Type of Debt||Expected Payoff||Balance|
|Credit Card||2018 – April||$5,252.07|
|Credit Card (HE Loan)||2018 – September||$8,181.00|
|Student Loan||2019 – September||$21,245.05|
|Student Loan||2020 – September||$31,952.30|
|Auto Loan||2021 – May||$17,746.64|
|Student Loan||2021 – October||$35,658.60|
|Mortgage||2022 – December||$47,057.04|
|TOTAL DEBT INCLUDING MORTGAGE||$167,092.70|
|TOTAL DEBT WITHOUT MORTGAGE||$120,035.66|
The balance on my credit card that used to be the Home Equity Loan didn’t change because I recorded the payment wrong last month. I didn’t skip a payment, but I wanted to get the numbers corrected.
It’s pretty cool to see our “unsecured” debt (aka credit cards) as our lowest amount. Those student loans sure do tick me off….
Last month I mentioned that we had lowered the rates on everything we could, but I was wrong! This month I refinanced my private student loan to get a lower interest rate. I had just recently signed up for direct debit in order to save .25% off the interest rate. Then they turned around and raised the rates so I ended up only reducing my rate by .03%. That made me MAD. I don’t know why, but it just really struck a nerve with me. How DARE they raise the rates AGAIN?! That anger drove me to action! I share more details below.
Last month our average interest rate was 4.7%, and this month it dropped to 4.4%. It’s not much, but I’ll take anything I can get!
For many people, their mortgage is their lowest interest rate debt. For us it’s the largest (6%)! I’d love to refinance, but it just doesn’t make financial sense because we plan to move in 3-5 years. The amount we’d have to pay in closing costs would be more than the interest we’d save in that short time period.
Student Loan Refinance Details
I checked out SoFi because I’ve heard great things about them, but the rate they offered wasn’t good enough for me to switch. Then I found an article that mentioned ELFI (Education Loan Finance), and I was thrilled with their rates. I ended up refinancing with ELFI and dropped my interest rate from 5.63% down to 3.87%! It’s still a variable rate, but at least it’s a lower starting point.
If you are considering refinancing, I highly recommend checking out ELFI. I had a great experience. The application was quick and easy. I even had an issue with my income documentation, and the customer service rep I worked with was great! She was friendly and really helpful and made it a painless process. The best part was that there were ZERO FEES to set up the loan (no origination fees or application fees), and I received a $100 check!! Of course they will make money off my interest, but I expected there to be fees. I was pleasantly surprised.
It was an easy online process with no fees, great customer service, and a lower interest rate. Why wouldn’t I do it?! As an added benefit, you can earn a $100 bonus if you refinance using my referral link! (I’ll receive a $400 bonus as well!)
Keep in mind that I refinanced my PRIVATE student loan, not my federal student loans. There are certain protections on federal student loans that you could give up if you refinance, so be sure to research before refinancing or consolidating any federal loans.
TLDR: Modified snowball method using Undebt.it
We lowered our debt balance by $2,462.47 in October, and we’re at an even 5 years remaining! It seems like it should still say 5 years and 1 month because our projected payoff date is December 2022, but who’s counting?! 🙂
Our interest paid continues to go down. Hopefully next month it will be even lower with the new student loan rate. Over $616 in interest is still quite a bit, but that’s down from $724 just a few months ago!
More Wasted Money??
We’ve been really working at controlling our dining out spending. This month was a record low of $76.37, and it was less than once per week! We did have pizza with my aunt twice, so that kind of felt like dining out. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had money to carry forward to the next month for dining out! Woo hoo! Guess what? We didn’t feel deprived or depressed. It was no big deal. We used to just throw money away on dining out without even realizing it!
How’s your debt progress coming along? What are you working on right now? Share in the comments!