Last year we sent in $3,244 for the student loan payments. That’s an average of $270/month. Not bad, but we felt we coud do better. As part of The Debt Movement, we added the student loan to the pile to encourage us to be more aggressive with paying this debt down. Since January we have sent in scheduled payments of at least $330/month.
When we started at the beginning of February the balance was $19,222.62. I logged into my account today and found the balance now $15,185.54. It’s down by 21% so far this year! How far ahead are we? If you look at the snippet from my last check on the loan, we don’t have to make another payment for 3 years! While we have no plans to even have this student loan in 3 years, it’s nice to see that we have a bit of buffer should our job situation change drastically.
Speeding Up the Finish Date on The Student Loans
What does this progress mean for us? When I was looking at paying down the student loan in January I ran the numbers on how much we needed each month to pay off the balance between 2-4 years.
To pay it off in 2 years, we’d need to pay an average of around $800/month.
To pay it off in 3 years, we’d need to pay an average of around $550/month.
To pay if off in 4 years, we’d need to pay an average of around $400/month.
With the progress we made so far, this means that our timetable can be shorten if we want to stay the course. Our numbers now look like this:
To pay it off in 2 years, we’d need to pay an average of around $633/month.
To pay it off in 3 years, we’d need to pay an average of around $422/month.
To pay if off in 4 years, we’d need to pay an average of around $316/month.
While paying it in 4 years was doable before, it looks like 2-3 years is possible if we continue with our scheduled payments and keep sending in any extra income we receive. Once that’s complete, we’ll be completely debt free except for the mortgage.
Looking to Boost Your Debt Reduction Plans?
I know there a lot of people who would like to get out of debt, but don’t know where to start. I think Ready for Zero can be a great option for them. I’m using them as we’re working through The Debt Movement. While their paid versions have their benefits, I recommend trying their free option first. I have found it quite handy and perfect for my needs. If you’d like to try it out, you can sign up for an account with Ready for Zero today.
This week has been extremely busy. Yesterday among all the errands I had to complete, I took the Accord to the shop to get an oil change. While we don’t have a car loan, keeping our cars on the road takes a little bit of money. Our goal is to keep our cars for years to come, so staying on top of car care is important to us.
When the cars break down, it can easily either be a minor hiccup in the budget or a major chunk of money that can derail your finances. If you can stay on top of your car, you can keep your money for other goals that you have. If you’re determined to take time to regularly check out your car you help your budget in the long run.
Driving a Car for a Million Miles
It may seem ridiculous that doing the routine maintenance can save you a ton of money. After all, cars just break down after a few years, right?
Not necessarily so. Joe LoCicero had driven his 1990 Honda Accord (True Blue) for a million miles. What’s his secret to keeping True Blue running? Joe credits being disciplined about following Honda’s maintenance schedule:
… he’s read and followed his owner’s manual and maintenance schedule to the letter. He’s also a stickler for fluids, he checked them weekly, switching them seasonally (10W-30 in summer and 5W-30 in winter), and changed them every 5,000 miles. He’s been loyal to the same brand of oil and never let it go below a quart low.
I know that Joe’s story is not ordinary, but his dedication to taking car of his car shows that you can extend your vehicle’s life if you follow a regular maintenance schedule.
Can You Do Car Maintenance on Yourself?
What if you are limited on your budget or you have some spare time, could you do some of the car care yourself? Even if you’re not mechanically inclined, there are a few car check-ups you can do on your own to keep your car in good shape for many years.
Another thing you can do that can help you with car expenses is making sure your tires are properly inflated. Besides keeping yourself from replacing your tires prematurely, you can also shave some dollars from your gas expenses. It’s a win-win and it doesn’t take much time to keep your tires in good shape.
Thoughts on Maintaining a Car
I’d like to hear how you guys are doing with the cars this year so far? How do you budget car care in your family?How much has your car cost you each year?