Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Picturing Freedom

I have an Excel spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my student loans. Well, not to keep track of them ... to see how quickly I can PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE.

I used to have several additional loans, since out-of-state tuition is pretty much highway robbery, but their ridiculous interest rates (SIX-POINT-EIGHT PERCENT???) strongly encouraged me to pay them off first. As of 2012, I was down to three.

So I have my Excel spreadsheet. It has three tabs, one for each loan. And thanks to my dad (who set it up) and Matt (who fixed it after I messed up a bunch of the formulas), this spreadsheet is interactive. So if I change the numbers I'm paying per month, it adjusts the entire chart and tells me how much sooner I can pay the whole thing off.

I'm still kind of far away from doing that, but I'm making excellent progress. This month, I laid the smack down on one of my three remaining loans, so I'm down to two!

Yeah, I have encouraging messages to myself at the bottom of each tab.
To keep me from feeling depressed that there's still a long way to go.

Matt thinks I'm too hard on myself, because I worry all the time that I'm not paying these off fast enough, and I don't give myself any credit for what I've already accomplished. So here goes.

In the six years since I took out my first student loan, I've already paid down $33,000. I've been paying them down since the second I took them out, and I'm hoping within the next three years, I can have my education 100% paid in full.

It feels really awkward to say this. It feels like bragging, and I guess I just don't think this is something that is brag-worthy. Matt and I are taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University right now through our church, and every time I hear someone say, "We've paid off [ridiculous quantity of debt!] in [ridiculously small number of months!]" it makes me want to cry out of frustration. It takes such an extreme amount of dedication to pay off any kind of debt, and when you have student loans, it's hard to be that dedicated and focused for years and years and years. Doing it any faster seems absolutely impossible.

So not only did I want to share what I'm working through right now, but I wanted to encourage you if you're in a similar boat. You're doing a good job. Someday we are going to be free. 

Do you have student loans? What are you going to do first after you make that last payment? And has anyone else gone through the Financial Peace program? (I like it a lot. I'll probably talk about it another time. EDIT: I wrote about it here.)

(P.S. If you'd like a "blank" copy of my interactive spreadsheet, send me an e-mail {allie at tulipandtweed dot com} and I'll send you a copy. It won't actually be blank because I'm afraid I might accidentally delete all the formulas, but I'll make the numbers generic so it'll still work without sharing all my personal information.)

10 comments

  1. Student loans are such a pain- seriously, it's painful to see how much money goes into paying them and how slow they go down.

    But great job on tackling yours and keeping track of them!! My husband and I have been working hard to do the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope things are going well for you and your husband! Watching them go down sooo slowlyyyy is definitely the worst part IMO.

      Delete
  2. You are doing an amazing job!! I have student loans which will be paid off before the end of the year and I can't wait to be done with that. I had similar experiences with paying off my credit card debt and my car... it really is a sort of freedom to be able to save or do what you want to do with that extra money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, congrats! That must feel so great to be so close to being done!

      Delete
    2. LOL yeah it's great right now... of course by the time they are paid off, my husband will be done with school so we'll be paying his off :/

      Delete
    3. That's a bummer. It really pisses me off that it's become impossible to get an education without going into debt for it, even in-state. :-/

      Delete
  3. You're amazing!! Seriously. We are going to have student loans for several more years (at ridiculous rates) and will probably take a vacation when they are finally paid off. My MIL is doing that program right now and really likes it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be a great way to celebrate being done!

      Delete
  4. Oh, man, student loans. I paid for college and law school myself, and while I had some scholarships, I also have a ton of student loan debt. We just paid off my highest interest loan, and that felt awesome.

    ReplyDelete