Back in May I decided I was sick of paying on a 7-year-old consolidated student loan that Elise and I share. I put pen to pad (actually it was more like a spreadsheet) and started a game plan to expedite the repayment of our loan. My first step was to double up on our payments. I also gave myself a goal of paying off the roughly $24,000 balance in less than two years, instead of the scheduled 14 remaining years.
Back in mid-June I sold some shares in Apple, Disney and Salesforce.com and that put a good ding in the principal. I’d also made a couple extra payments that were almost twice the regular monthly amount that is drafted from our checking account each month.
Today I went to the bank and cashed out a money market account (after I’d let it sit there for a few months and draw some interest, of course) and scheduled it to be sent to the good ol’ U.S. Department of Education on September 21st and to be applied to the principal of our loan. Today I also readjusted our extra principal payment to not double, not triple, but to quadruple the amount we pay per month.
I also got a nice referral bonus check today from my employer. I work for a pretty cool company that pays handsomely if you recommend someone for a job and that person is employed after their 90-day probationary period. Every red cent of that referral bonus is going straight to the student loan.
I’m expecting to get a couple hundred bucks from Google this month from the ads that are served on Janicek.com. That’s going to the student loan. I’m also expecting ~$100 from an eBay sale that ends tonight. Yep, that’s going to the student loan, too. Travis, I’m taking you out to lunch next week for that one! ;-)
So, by the end of the month, my current balance on the student loan should be roughly $14,000. That’s $10,000 that I’ve managed to knock out in four months. That was with employing some super aggressive strategies that just happened to align at the opportune time. My full-on assault will have to scale back a little because I’ve thrown a lot of cash at the loan, just to let it know that I mean business. For the next year and a half, I’m just going to be consistent in sending in the quadruple payments. If all goes as planned, the loan should be paid off by January 2010.
My goal at that point will then be to snowball our debt. I’ll take the quadruple payments I was making to the student loan and add it to our car loan. That’ll get the car paid off very early. Then I’ll take the quadruple payment plus the car payment and use that to pay toward the principal on our house.
I say all this now as I’m seeing the glass half full. Invariably “something” will happen that could hinder my repayment insanity… like a princesses birthday party for Maly, the air conditioner breaks, or the cat wrecks the car again.
My strategy has been very simple: a budget. I gave every dollar we have a name. Any extra cash that I could find, I put it toward the student loan. The student loan is our highest interest loan, so it gets knocked out first. I can’t emphasize enough the strength of the budget. To bad I wasn’t more strict on myself and finances earlier on in my adult life.