My goal for this month is to identify and put aside $1000 I can throw at my debt by the time the remainder of my car repair bill ($800) comes, so I can pay that off, pay off the $155.17 left on the Citicard, and move forward with NO MORE CREDIT CARD DEBT. I’m not sure that I can get to $1000, but it is looking more and more like I can get to at least $800, and the budgeted $200 towards credit card debt in my debt snowball should take care of the rest. That $200 will then move down the line to be budgeted towards my spouse’s student loan, but I am getting ahead of myself.
So, where is it going to come from? Last week I got some survey payouts and my spouse got money for selling a weight bench. Those together totaled $106. I moved that to my emergency fund awaiting receiving the car bill, so my emergency fund is now at $407. $300 of that will stay in the emergency fund, the $107 will go towards the debt.
I started tutoring chemistry online this month, and I have made about $400 so far doing that. I hope to make another $200 in the next 9 days, which might be a little unrealistic, but I am pretty positive that I can make at least $150. So I am going to call that $550. I get paid from tutoring at the beginning of next month, so that brings my total so far up to $657 to throw at the car repair debt.
I have $50 pending in survey payments. Not all of that will arrive before the repair debt is due I am sure, but the majority of it is from payouts in December, so that should come sometime soon. I am going to round the debt payoff amount up to $700 including the survey money. Obviously these are rough figures.
I also should get at least $100 in blog advertising revenue (thanks BlogHer!) at the end of this month, even after I subtract out the 30% that I save back for taxes. That brings the total to $800 – and will be enough to pay off the car repair debt. I am ever hopeful that I will generate even more revenue somewhere (mostly I am trying to tutor as much as possible and hoping to earn more there) and knock out the remaining credit card debt at the same time, but I am learning patience a little at a time.
Once all this is accomplished, I will rebuild the emergency fund to $1000 (February’s stretch goal), and then start implementing a strategy for paying off my spouse’s student loan as I start saving back money to pay for my wisdom teeth removal. I’ll have a lot more to say about that in February as we further develop it, but I think we will be taking a more conservative approach with the student loan and building up a secondary emergency fund in an ING account and then every so often, using the majority of it to pay off a big chunk of the student loan debt. It will cost us a little more in interest, but also give us more protection in the case of a large emergency happening. The snowflaking will continue! It will just snowflake into a savings account initially, like I am doing right now with the car repair debt. I’ve also considered the idea of moving my spouse’s student loan debt largely to a 0% credit card. My gut hates that idea though. My brain says we have a 0% no balance transfer fee offer (I just got an email about it a few days ago) for 12 months that I can move up to $8500 with, and that is a whole lot better than paying 9% interest (current interest on student loan) even taking into consideration the fact that the student loan interest is tax deductible. But. My gut hates it. But maybe my gut is just too accustomed to Sallie Mae and is lulling me into a financial mistake? I don’t know. I am still sleeping on it.
The only tangible progress on the debt front this past week was paying my minimum payment on the car loan:
Debt at start of blog (6/19/07) : $36,451.71
Current total as of 01/22/08: $27,499.57
Principal paid to date $9752.14
Broken down into:
- Auto Repair: $800 (new as of 01/11/08)
- Credit Card: $155.17
- Student loan: $11,716.07
- Spouse student loan: $11,691.64
- Car loan: $3136.69 (made $228.32 min payment, $217.66 applied to principal)
% original debt paid off according to NCN Network Chart: 24.56 (last week 23.96)
Emergency fund total: $407
I neglected to point out last week that my spouse’s student loan has finally passed mine and is now a lower balance. Even though he pays higher interest, his minimum payments are higher so it was only a matter of time. He’s much further into his 15 year repayment plan than I am since he didn’t go to grad school and defer his like I did. His original starting balance was 25% higher than mine which is why it took so long for him to catch up. But the goal is to get that paid off well before the 15 year payment plan is up (and mine too!).
On with the snowflaking! No more credit card debt, here I come, and I am determined to do everything in my power to make it STICK this time. (Now you can see why my gut wrenches at the idea of moving student loan debt to a credit card, no matter how much more favorable the interest rates.)