Debt is an issue that many of us face but often times unwilling to be open and honest about it, even with spouses/significant others. I currently have a huge debt in student loans that would make anyone feel like the mountain is too high. I also have a credit card that for the first time since having one carries a balance*.
Disclaimer: My credit card is still less than a year old so I am working with a 0% interest rate monthly. That is the only reason I use it for paying for things for the wedding.
So here are some adjustments to life that I have made in order to pay down my student loan as much as possible and to make more than just the minimum payments on my credit card, while still being able to have money to live.
- Pay Cash – Each time I need to pay for something I try my hardest to pay cash. When I have used up all of my cash for a given week, I just can’t make any more purchases. Paying in cash is always an option simply because it keeps you from spending more than you expect to each time you walk in the store.
- Set a budget for ‘YOU’ stuff – What I mean here is have a weekly budget for something you absolutely love to do or have. For example, I set aside $60 for a monthly purchase at Target (pronounced TAH-JAY). Love that store so much, but if I don’t put a cap on my spending there I could easily walk out with $180 worth of stuff in my cart.
- Pay More than the Minimum Balance – This is probably the most obvious way you can help yourself, but many people don’t do it. I just want you to know that if you pay even just $10 more than your monthly payment, you can significantly cut the amount of interest you will pay on your debt. People get hung up on trying to pay an extra $50+ per month that they convince themselves that a $10-15 extra isn’t worth much.In the table below you can see, an extra $10 per month can take a little more than 2 months off of your payments and an extra $20 per month can take off 4 months on repayment based on the scenario below.
|Paying Monthly Minimum||Paying an extra $10||Paying an extra $20|
|Credit Card Balance||6,000||6,000||6,000|
|Payment Per Month||200||210||220|
|Months Til I’ll be debt free||37.83||35.57||33.56|
Hopefully seeing this stuff in numbers is a help and seeing the impact even a few dollars can make. If you have any more specific questions, definitely reach me on the contact page or comments. Also I hope you do choose to do something for yourself especially in a time as now where so much anger and disdain in the world. You have to choose joy each day. You have to choose each day to love. That’s the only way.
Until next post folks…