We finally have accumulated all of the usernames and passwords to all of our student loan accounts! Yay! Right, yeah, no. But it needed to be done.
I visited the in-laws and we reset and updated the password for their Parent Plus Loans. We, legally, don’t have to pay these back, but Mr. Wanderlust made a verbal agreement with his parents that he would do so upon them taking them out. So, it is what it is. I also updated YNAB with our total loan amounts as well, so now our Net Worth is really negative. Again, it is what is it.
Grand Total (with current interest): $154,360.80
Did you read that number correctly? Yeah, yeah you did. It is bad. Point of clarification, this is two peoples student loan debt. We were both in University for 6 years, for different reasons. Our program was a five year program so we each had one extra year. We messed up, we realize that now, but we can’t go back to be 18 and change our course of history, but we can change our future.
The Plan of Attack
We are doing a Debt Avalanche. This is very similar to the debt snowball you may have heard about. With the debt snowball, you attack your debts from smallest payment to largest, ultimately increasing your payment each time you complete a debt.
With the debt avalanche you are paying your debts from highest interest rate, to lowest. Similar concept, just a different plan of attack. I think both methods are great, as well as a hybrid method. It is just important to be focusing on paying off your debts, period. Mr. Wanderlust and I agree that this plan of attack is what is best for us. Why?
1. It gets the majority of the Parent Plus Loans done and over with as quickly as possible.
2. It gets the majority of our highest minimum payments out of the way
3. In theory you save on interest over time.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I was going to track all of this. I found various tools online and for download. I didn’t love them, since they didn’t cater to what I needed. So, I created my own Excel document. It isn’t fancy. It isn’t pretty, but I really wanted to track our payments in a way that I could actually see, and follow from month to month. I broke every loan down. Most loan companies combine your student loans for simplicity sake, but I want to see each individual loan, so I did. I am tracking interest. I am also tracking the actual minimum payment. A few of our loans are on payment plans, and until we reach those loans in the avalanche they will be getting the loan plan minimum payment and not the actual minimum payment. Each time a payment is made I will update the spreadsheet and it will be included in our monthly budget update as well. Our first payment for this month has a minimum payment of $103. I have $150 already put aside for a loan payment. Mr. Wanderlust and I both get paid this week, so I would like to move our debt payment up to $253 a month (what I was already putting towards plus the minimum payment amount for our first loan).
All of our loans are in Grace, at the moment. Our first ‘real’ payments are due in November. To pay off our first loan, with a payment of $253 it would take three years. I’m aiming for one year or less, once things get settled a little more. We aren’t fully buffered in YNAB yet.