Because I’m fairly recently out of school (graduated in 2013), I still have student loan debt. To be specific, I still have $39,335.58 remaining on my student loans. And we have a mortgage for $42,615.64. That brings our total debt to $81,951.22. Whew! I hate seeing that number. Honestly, I hate that we are even in debt but I am glad to know that our debt is “good debt.”
As for how we manage our debt, I’ve mentioned before my husband and I have split finances but we still tackle our debt as a team. We have divided our bills up between us and because he has paid off his student loans, the bulk of the student loan payments belong to me.
After I refinanced my student loans, I had a much larger minimum payment. The previous minimum payment was somewhere in the neighborhood of $317 (I never kept up with it because I always paid more). My new minimum payment is $814.24. This large change only phases me slightly because I have always tried to pay $1,000 monthly towards my loans. Either way, that’s a large amount of money.
Using the Half Payment Method
To better manage this large bill, I use the half payment method. This allows me to spread out the total monthly payment across both my paychecks instead of taking the full amount out of one. Taking the full amount out of one would be so hard because that’s basically my entire check. I have automated transfers set up to transfer $500 every two weeks when I am paid.
This also allows me to not feel completely broke all the time because I can do things like buy gas and groceries throughout the week. Another reason I like this option is because I’m paid biweekly and I can put more money towards my loans throughout the year.
Because I’m paid biweekly instead of twice a month, I’m able to get one extra $500 transfer over the course a calendar year. So here’s the basic math:
$500 * 26 biweekly transfers = $13,000
$814.24 * 12 monthly payments = $9770.88
Total extra payments = $3,229.12
I’m trying particularly hard to pay down my debt at the moment because looking at a debt amount of $80,000+ feels overwhelming. Thankfully, using this method makes the larger payments feel more manageable.
What do you do to help drive down your debt?