Getting Rid of My Debt, Part 17 (Some Decisions Made)

Another cute pet photo - HoneyBun and Osito. HoneyBun has recently discovered the softness of Osito's bed. :-)
Another cute pet photo – HoneyBun and Osito. HoneyBun has recently discovered the softness of Osito’s bed. 🙂

Have I mentioned in the past that sometimes I am decision impaired? Well, if not, lol, I am. It can be on something so simple as travel arrangements (will a cheaper flight come around right after I reserve my seats? Is this the right thing to spend my money on? etc., etc.) I’m getting better, though.

The other day, I sat down and figured out that based on my LAL loan balance, which is now, (Drum Roll, Please . . .) $16,721.40, that if I wanted to have it paid off by June 2015, it would cost me roughly $1,306 per month.  I’d been planning on paying $720 on it each month so that’s a big difference in funds. So, this is what I have done to make up for the shortfall.

First decision:

I’ve decreased $ going into my savings accounts from a total of $480/paycheck to $230. There’s a $250 difference per paycheck. Yes, this means that the amount going into my tiny house/land fund each month from my full-time job goes from $400 to $100. But here’s the good news…I just picked up an additional regular shift at the gym, every week. It will bring in about $140ish more to the tiny home/land fund as that is where all the money I earn from that job goes.  (That amount is what I estimate after taxes are taken out.) I literally never see it in my regular checking account. This helps me in a couple ways. (1) I don’t even get the opportunity to spend it elsewhere. (2) If I ever feel tired, I just remind myself where that money is going — i.e. to my future tiny home, or more likely, motorhome, and that’s all the motivation I need to get moving.

Second decision:

I know others may not agree with me on this, but I cut my contributions to my TDA (tax deferred account – in the academic world, it’s known as a 403(b) rather than 401(k)), in half. I was putting $200 in per paycheck and I’ve cut that amount to $100.

I think these two reductions come up to about the $600 dollar difference I needed (I had previously budgeted to pay a total of $720/month on the LAL loan.) So, if all goes well, I will now be paying $1320 on my LAL loan every month in addition to $558 to my federal loans (and yes, folks, that $558 figure is ALL INTEREST.)

While I know this means the tiny house/motorhome fund grows at a slower pace, there is still some freelance work to be done this summer. I don’t know the exact amount yet (still waiting on another chapter), but I know it’s out there. And it’s gonna be FUN! (I say that in all seriousness, because yes, I am a giant dork. That and I already know the topic of the chapter…)

Also, I will have another three paycheck month this year – I believe it falls in November. That will be another month where I put a ton onto the loan balance, if needed. OR, it goes to the tiny home/motorhome fund!

Scheduling Payments/Budgeting:

I have begun tracking my expenses with a free version of the app called DollarBird. (I have an iphone 4S, but it looks like it is also available on Android phones.)  I’ve done the tracking deal in the past but not with so much concentration. And yes, this month has already included some “fun” expenses such as my friend’s 30th birthday celebration. So I’m trying to get a realistic sense of my $ and where it’s going, even more than I already do.

I’m going with Dave Ramsey’s advice as best as I can – writing down before the month starts, how much from my paycheck goes to allotted categories.  His saying is “Every dollar has a name.”  Trying to account for every $ but sometimes it’s hard to estimate things like “how much will I spend that day out with my friend?”

Here’s what I can do though – schedule those extra principal payments to my LAL loan at the beginning of the month. I’ve already scheduled a payment for May 16th, for $400. It feels good to know it’s taken care of before the funds even arrive.  That extra principal payment is just like another bill to me. I don’t question it’s going to be paid.

What do you do to try to get yourself out of debt?

Tangent Alert: I am LOVING training for a marathon again. Granted, I’m in the beginning stages so my mileage is not too high – 20.75 miles total last week and only 16 scheduled for this week, but I started doing some fartlek/speed work yesterday and felt strong and confident. Just keeping the faith that my body can hold out and the exercises I’ve been taught for my back and SI Joint keep working.  Plus, there’s always ice packs! 🙂

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