PAID IN FULL – Private Student Loan 1 (PSL1) / Was the balance transfer worth it?

When I logged in this morning to pay off the remainder of Private Student Loan 1 (PSL1), I didn’t really “feel” anything after I paid off the remainder of the balance transfer. So then I logged into the original creditor’s website and saw the above landing page. A year ago when I saw this when I transferred the balances from my lender to two separate credit cards I felt excited to have a plan but the image above didn’t really resonate with me. My loan wasn’t actually “paid in full.” Today, it feels a bit different. This was the last student loan I took out (will ever take out!) and it felt significant to pay it off. Not like I erased the years and made better decisions significant, but significant to the extent that it represents me recovering from my poor financial choices and moving forward.

Private Student Loan 1 Payment Recap 

This loan was targeted for repayment first because while it had an average balance with respect to my other student loans, it had a ridiculous interest rate for a student loan. From January to March of 2019, it peaked at 10.115%! To highlight how ridiculous this student loan rate was, consider that the credit card to which I transferred most of the balance, my Discover It Card, only has a interest rate of 11.99%. Yes, my student loan interest rate was within two percentage points of my credit card interest rate.

As this was significantly higher than any of my other student loans and combined with the emotional pull of it being the last (and in my eyes the most frivolous) student loan I took out, it was an easy choice.

Minimum Payment: $110.46

-$10,231.32 – Balance on July 4th when I started this blog AND began targeting this loan
-$9,812.49 – August 1, 2019 balance
$10,145.50 Balance after balance transfer to credit cards; new amount includes balance transfer fees of $295.50 (and an over-payment of $32.21)
-$9,919.10 – September 1, 2019 balance
-$9,550.00 – October 1, 2019 balance
-$9,225.00 – November 1, 2019 balance
-$8,800.00 – December 1, 2019 balance
-$8,600.00 – January 1, 2020 balance
-$8,400.00 – February 1, 2020 balance
-$7,200.00 – March 1, 2020 balance
-$6,100.00April 1, 2020 balance
-$3,700.00 – May 1, 2020 balance
-$2,800.00 – June 1, 2020 balance
-$2,350.00 – July 1, 2020 balance
-$1,900.00 – August 1, 2020 balance
$0.00 – August 3, 2020 balance; will be reflected in student loan balance update on September 1st

Total interest saved: $522.00
Balance transfer fee: $295.50
Actual amount saved (interest saved – balance transfer fee): $226.50

Was the balance transfer worth it?

In the grand scheme of things $226.50 doesn’t seem like a lot of money. However, that is also $226.50 of my own money that I didn’t have to give someone else. And if I was asked to spend $226.50 on something at this very moment, I could not think of what I would spend it on… So financially, was it worth it? The answer has to be “yes.”

However, unless I paid of my loan really quickly, then that was always going to be the case. There was more than likely going to be some savings from the balance transfer. In an earlier post, I reviewed the benefits both financially and psychological to the balance transfer. In that post, the take-a-way is that most of the benefits of the balance transfer would appear to be psychological, and in reality, I found that very much to be the case. If you look at my repayment log above, I didn’t really get serious about paying off this balance and pushing myself hard to make big payments until February/March of this year. Why? Because I realized the balance transfer would be ending soon and that I needed to make big payments if I had any hope of paying it off (AND being a balance transfer “failure” and avoiding the embarrassment of having to write a post about it). This forced me to make sacrifices and adhere more strictly to my budget to make those big payments. While this was good for my student loan balances, it also had the additional psychological benefit of making $1,000.00/month additional debt payments seem “doable,” whereas before they were just something I could do in theory. Now, every dollar spent that takes me further away from being able to make a $1,000.00 payment on the first of the following month feels real and like I failed a bit. So when I make that $700.00 additional payment, I no longer think about getting a reward for my sacrifice, instead, I now think, “I could have paid more. I have previously paid more.” That shift in mindset is invaluable. So, was it worth it from a psychological perspective? An emphatic “yes.”

Would I do it again?

I don’t know. While that might seem a bit surprising given my answers above, it really shouldn’t be. The current financial environment is much more fraught that it was a year ago. I didn’t feel like I had the flexibility to decelerate my student loan payments toward this debt because of the balance transfer which means I didn’t start to increase my savings in response to the pandemic. While that is now my plan, had I not had the balance transfer, I think I would have done this much, much sooner. While the current pandemic is unprecedented, it highlights how drastically your financial situation can change very quickly and highlights the principle downside to the balance transfer method: the loss of financial flexibility.

August 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

The U.S. is still kind of a mess, but I am feeling a bit more like myself this month in terms of my finances. I think making the decision to stay in my current apartment reaffirmed my commitment to getting rid of my student loans as soon as possible, and getting a part time job also helped me feel like I was making progress towards that. So, to the numbers…

July 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$119,119.98 

August 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$117,823.78

Difference: $1,296.20

Not my best month, not my worst. The continued administrative interest forbearance for federal student loans means my regular minimum payments continue to go a bit further. I didn’t pay a lot extra in July on my student loans but August should be considerably better and result in me paying off my first student loan, Private Student Loan 1 (PSL1), since I started blogging. Prior to beginning this blog a little over a year ago, I paid off one of the smaller loans.

I’m excited about my new part-time job and my ability to save and pay down my debt a little bit faster. Once PSL1 gets paid off next week (only a week prior to the balance transfer ending), I think I will begin putting all of my additional income towards beefing up my emergency fund to $5000.00. I will achieve this goal by the end of the year assuming I remain employed. After that, I will once again throw any additional income towards my student loans. I keep going back and forth on what the payoff order will be. While part of me would love to switch to the Ramsey method for the instant gratification of paying off some of those smaller loans, the other part of me wants to start paying off my first federal student loan, the largest of all of my loans by far, and the one that accrues the most interest each year. I will see how I am feeling in December once my emergency fund is beefed up and make that decision then. 

I will be back sometime next week once I pay off the balance transfer to celebrate dispatching my first student loan on this blog and calculating whether or not the balance transfer was “worth it.”

That time I almost signed a $1300.00 apartment lease but got another job instead

This post has been in the making for quite some time but it was only after a post over at Double Debt Single Woman (if you don’t already read her blog, you definitely should) that I finally sat down to write. Okay, that and the job thing…

Living in a not-so-great apartment, in a not-so-great area, sucks. And it probably kinda sucks in your twenties but at least then you have all of the excuses for why you live there. The, “I’m saving up…,” “This is my first place…,” “This is my starter home…,” “I’m a student…” excuses. In your thirties, you generally don’t have those excuses anymore (although, you might be a student). What you do have is, “I made poor financial choices.”* Hopefully it’s, “I made poor financial choices so this is what I have am willing to do to have a better financial future.” Hopefully it’s that. And on most days, you are able to remember that, and make peace with where you are, and look toward the future. But other days…other days it just sucks and it is all that you can do to resist the sweet, sweet rental and real-estate sirens.

Their call has always been there, softly singing in the background. You are usually able to resist them but then something happens, like your apartment building is suddenly dealing with a pest issue as a result of a filthy tenant moving out, or you have a roommate or landlord making your living arrangement a bit more precarious than it once was. And you think, “What could it hurt just to see what else is out there…” So you look. And your rent is only $682.00 with ALL utilities included so you look to see what else is out there around the same price point. Nada. So you ratchet up your range to $800.00 and maybe you’re suddenly looking at apartments in a bit nicer area. But as long as you’re willing to pay $800.00, $850.00 doesn’t seem that bad, and so on, and so on, and eventually you are in the $1000+ range. And at that point, if you are going to pay upwards of $1000.00, you might as well get what you really want and at least consider that gorgeous $1300.00 apartment, that is giving away a month’s rent, and in a super nice area, convenient to everything…by foot.

Yea, or so that’s how it went in my head. And, how I found myself sitting across from a leasing agent, completing an application for a $1300.00 apartment while justifying that it was really only ~$1200.00 per month because I would get a month’s rent free and that the value was really higher because the apartment rates had been temporarily reduced due to the pandemic.

However, as I was writing out that blog post in my mind, for how I was going to have to explain this choice to you all (or considering abandoning the blog altogether out of shame…just trying to keep it real) I decided to reach out to a frugal friend who I thought might be able to talk me off the ledge. And she did, but she ultimately left the decision up to me. At this point, I realized that I was too far gone for the gentle approach and knew I would need someone a bit harsher so I called another friend. He was much…harsher. He spent several minutes explaining to me (almost patronizingly) why it was a poor financial decision and why if I was going to make such a decision in my financial circumstances (he knows of the student loan debt but not even the full extent) that I should at least buy a home so then I had an asset. Once it was apparent that I understood what I had to do, but was just a bit sad, he was a bit more gentle with me and told me that if I really was unhappy with my apartment, that I could consider investing one months’ difference in rent on upgrades and repairs to my current apartment ($1300.00-$682.00 = $618.00). Yea.

But he is right. The goal shouldn’t just be to get by or  survive. If I am going to be able to climb out of my massive student loan debt before I am 40 (I’m currently 34), at my current income level, then cheap rent has to be a part of the equation. So it is worth it to invest up to $618.00 to make my apartment more habitable IF it means I am willing to stay here until my debt is gone. For now, this is the plan. It’s official. My lease ends on July 31st, so I will call the leasing office tomorrow to re-sign for a year.

In less shocking, or shocking but different, news…today I finally got a part time job. It’s an evening job and only for about three hours a night, five days a week. And the wage isn’t great. But it’s more than I’m bringing in now, there is a possibility for more hours assuming I want them, it doesn’t interfere with my day job, it won’t leave me exhausted, it doesn’t require additional contact with humans, and if it is something I like, I could eventually turn it into my own side business.

Being an adult a financially responsible adult sucks.

*I understand there are circumstances that create cycles of poverty that result in peopling living in fraught living conditions regardless of what choices they make. I am not speaking to this but about my relatively privileged experience.

Blogiversary: Year 1

Excuse me while I put on a bit of Tony! Toni! Toné! and host a very low key celebration of my first blogiversary. This is a rough moment in many ways but I owe it to future Ms. Afro Penny, as well as to the sacrifices made by immediate past Ms. Afro Penny, to celebrate this milestone in debt repayment and keep chugging along.

I started this blog a year ago, on July 4th 2019 with the intention of documenting my student loan debt repayment journey. In my first debt post I shared that my current debt stood at: -$133,259.74; and, I set a payoff date December 9, 2025. So, a year later, am I any closer to my goals?

As of July 1, 2020, my debt stands at -$119,119.98. That is a reduction of $14,139.76. Yay! Not bad. Not…great. If I continued at a similar rate of repayment for the rest of my desired payoff term, I would not make my goal.

While it is my usual pattern to do a deep dive into the numbers and create new and elaborate plans for what the upcoming year will bring, I’m just not mentally there at this moment. Instead I will outline my list of five very moderate goals. 

Second Year Goals

1) Move my blog from Blogger to another platform and improve the overall appearance and readability.

2)  Post at least twice per month including a student loan balance update post on or about the first of the month.

3) Establish an alternative income stream bringing in at least $500.00 more each month.

4) Reduce student loan debt below $100,000.00.

5) Refinance student loans at more favorable interest rates.

That is it. I could be a lot more elaborate with my goals and do a much deeper dive as to the feasibility of any of these goals, and perhaps I will, but for the moment, this is it.
 

I hope this extended weekend finds you and your loved ones safe.

July 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

So, if I allow myself to step back from the current social-political moment in the United States, and only focus on my finances, June was a good news/terrible news kind of month.

The terrible: June was expensive. Between car repairs, apartment repairs and pest management (another post), and a bit of money spent driving half-way across the country to spend time with my best friend (Okay…more than a bit. I’m still here and it’s doing my soul a world of good), June was expensive.

The good: As of July 1st, my overall debt is now under $120,000. Yea! While I will do a more extensive update tomorrow on my 1-year blogging anniversary, for now, I’ll just get to the numbers…

June 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$120,292.48

July 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$119,119.98

Difference: $1,172.50

Other than my balance finally dipping below $120,000.00, there is nothing particularly exciting to report. The current historically low interest rates mean student loans at variable interest rates are the lowest they have ever been. I really wish my DTI was better and I was in a better position to refinance to take advantage of them. The low interest rates mean my minimum payments and the extra I put towards the loan I am targeting go a bit further each month.

I will do a more extensive update tomorrow for my 1-year blogging anniversary. So for now that’s it.

June 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

Rough week. To the numbers…

May 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$121,891.82

June 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$120,292.48

Difference: $1,599.34

Nothing new or exciting to report. The continuing interest rate freeze on my federal student loans means my minimum payments went a bit further this month. Also, the continuing economic depression means that the interest rates on some of my private student loans are the lowest they have ever been.

It’s a difficult time right now and I want to be more excited about my finances than I am but…here it is.

Thank you to everyone who has ever taken the time to comment or write. You are appreciated. 

2020 Trimester 1 Financial Review

May 1st officially marked the end of my first financial quarter trimester for 2020. And while 2020 has been pretty terrible overall, financially, for me, it could have been a lot worse, even if it could have been better. What follows is my 2020 Q1 first trimester financial review.

((Note: I know this isn’t true for billions of other people around the world. This blog functions as a personal diary about my personal finance and is not meant to represent the perspective or experiences of anyone other than myself. I don’t seek to offer advice or sell you anything (not that there is anything wrong with folks who do.) As I have said before, my current financial situation produces a lot of shame and anxiety for me and this blog helps me manage those feelings.))

Debt Repayment

1/1/2020 Debt Total: -$127,688.14

5/1/2020 Debt Total: -$121,891.82

Difference: $5,796.32 (Note: This is just the difference in my balances and not the total amount paid.)

Almost six thousand dollars over four months feels like a success, even more so than looking at the declining balance each month. While much of this success was due to uncommon/less predictable events, such as the COVID-19 stimulus check, tax refund, etc., it would have been even more substantial had I been able to make the debt payments on January 1st and February 1st that I am making now thanks too a stricter adherence to my budget. On January 1st, I was paying off the extravagances of December and on February 1st, I was paying off the unruliness of January, but I got it together in February which allowed me to make a $1000.00 extra student loan payment on March 1st. This pattern held for March for a $900.00 extra student loan payment on April 1st. 

Savings

Thus far, it has been a serious fail. Between my “emergency fund” and my “life fund” I have a little over $1000.00 in savings (I have more in my 401K but I don’t really count that as it isn’t cash on hand). This is pitiful and I really need to beef up my savings to at least $3000.00 which would cover two months of expenses. 

Challenges/Disappointments

The biggest challenges and disappointments for the first quarter were the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that will be more fully realized as lost opportunities in Q2. For example, I participate in an extra curricular activity for which summer and day camps are common during the summer. I had been offered a teaching role that would have resulted in me bringing in an additional $4,500.00 over a two week camp in June (this would have been addition to my monthly salary from my main employer). Unfortunately, the pandemic meant that this camp was cancelled. While this was undoubtedly the right move, I’m not gonna lie, in my mind I had already envisioned and dreamed about using that check to make a large debt payment.

I have applied to other jobs for side income but I believe I may be getting screened out due to seeming overqualified. Which kinda stinks because I love retail/customer service work but…eh. Hopefully it means someone else who needs the job a bit more than I do is getting it.

Progress on 2020 Financial Goals

On April 18th, I revised my 2020 Financial Goals to account for the pandemic and decreased opportunities for earning income; and, the loss of expected bonuses and merit based increases. My new financial adjusted financial goals for 2020 are:

1) Pay off Private Student Loan 1 ($8,600.00 remaining as of 1/1/2020) by the end of the promotional period. – As of 5/1/2020 there was $3,700.00 remaining on my PSL1 balance. This is  a considerable improvement from the 1/1/2020 balance of $8,600.00 and the balance difference represents all of the additional loan payments made during Q1.

2) Pay off  Private Student Loan 3 – This goal was removed/adjusted based on expected diminished earnings during the pandemic.

2) Start a small business AND generate an additional $500.00/month in income. – This will look difference based on the pandemic but is still something I hope to achieve by  December 2020.

3) Save $ to purchase a vehicle outright at the end of my car lease term in December. – This won’t happen until I payoff PSL 1. However, despite my ah-ha moment, I am still waffling here a bit…I will write a post on my current car lease and the cost associated with all three lease-end options in a future post.

2020 Blogging Goal: One (1) student loan balance post a month AND one update post a month. – Success so far! (3) ADDED – Transition from Blogger to another blogging platform for a more aesthetically pleasing blog. – I have added this goal for myself and hope to have achieved it before my official blogging anniversary on July 4th.

I will admit that these goals are exceptionally modest, however, given the uncertainty of the current moment, they feel achievable given the things within my control.

Q2 Second Trimester Financial Predictions

In Q2 the second trimester, I expect to achieve my first 2020 financial goal and begin to make progress towards the others. I will share one thing…there might, might be a move to another university in third trimester. But it is still in the very early stages so more on that when there is more on that.

May 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

Straight to the numbers!

April 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): $125,192.33

May 2020 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$121,891.82

Difference: $3,300.51 – 😲 Largest single month debt payoff to date!
The first thing you probably noticed is that the payoff order of my loans changed a bit. You can find a far too drawn out explanation of that, as well as my revised financial goals for the year, here and here.

The second thing you probably noticed is the appreciable drop in my balance. 😲 Yea, I double checked the formula in Excel twice just to be sure. Ultimately, the drop came down to a couple of very expected and predictable things:

  • Federal interest rate freeze – The bulk of my student loans are Federal Student Loans and have a balance of almost $75,000.00. Under the current interest freeze, there is a temporary reprieve from the more than $300.00 in interest that usually collects on them each month.
  • COVID-19 Stimulus Payment – While it’s probably not what Congress wanted or expected me to do with the stimulus check I received, as I explained here, I put the entire $1,200.00 towards Private Student Loan 1.
  • Spring 2020 mileage reimbursement – University B reimbursed me $300.00 for miles driven on my vehicle. While I had wanted to put this in the beginnings of my car fund, applying it to Private Student Loan 1 gives me a bit more breathing room with it’s repayment by the balance transfer end dates, and is less necessary given that I will begin saving for my new car and the cost associated with turning in my lease (more on that later) once Private Student Loan 1 is paid off in August.
  • I stuck to my budget in March – I get paid on the 1st of each month and what I am able to pay in student loan payments is most significantly impacted by how well I stick to my previous month’s budget (if I stick to the budget, there is not miscellaneous spending that I need to pay off). For the most part, I stuck to my budget in March which allowed me to make a $900.00 payment towards Private Student Loan 1 on April 1st.

Of all the reasons that I was able to make more headway in April, I am perhaps most proud of sticking to my budget in March. While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic certainly impacted my ability to spend money, the behavior changed started in February, which allowed me to make a $1000.00 payment on March 1st, and will probably have the biggest impact on my ability to pay my debt off in the long run.

Whooo. I know my debt is still massive but this is one of those moments where I feel like I will crawl out of it.

I know, I know…the last revision of 2020 Financial Goals

So last night I wrote my ah-ha post. The ah-ha moment is still true and I’m not taking anything back. However, this morning, while still obsessing over my debt, I found this awesome, free, ad-free, no sign-up How soon could I pay off my debts? calculator. This was obviously the absolute worst thing for a debt obsessive person like me to find. However, in the era of COVID-19 and Saturdays spent at home, it could obviously have been a lot worse.

The calculator is no-muss, no fuss and is great for someone with a lot of individuals lines of debt because it allows you to enter up to 20 creditors. To calculate a repayment plan, it ask for: the creditor, the balance, the minimum payment, the actual payment, and the interest rate. Additionally, you can enter how much additional you plan to pay each month and any on-time payments you expect to make (like a bonus or tax refund). Again, the absolute best and worst thing for a debt obsessive person to find. After entering in this information it spits out what your repayment would look like using a roll-over method of repayment (also referred to as the “snowball”), and you can have it compute the results based on paying the debts in 1) lowest to highest balance, 2) highest to lowest interest rate, or 3) shortest to longest payoff period.

Other cool things: It also tells you how much you would have saved over the same period of time as your original payment plan if you invested the amount you would have paid (you can also adjust the interest rate and below I adjusted it to a very modest 2% savings rate). AND, while I have only included the tables below, it also produces a very awesome debt payoff calendar for each creditor so it shows you which month you will pay off each creditor.

Note: These payment plans assume a January 2021 start since I still plan to pay of PSL 1 and then save for a used car through the end of this year unless my income increases significantly. This means, the debt balance and repayment plan does not include PSL1 or my car lease/car payment but does include estimated minimum payments on my federal student loans which will resume in January 2021.

1) Lowest to Highest Balance

2) Highest to Lowest Interest Rate

3) Shortest to Longest Payoff Period

Unsurprisingly, the “Highest to Lowest” interest rate resulted in the greatest amount of savings in terms of both money and time saved. However, whereas with the “Lowest to Highest Balance” and “Shortest to Longest Payoff Period” eliminate creditors/loans in the very first month and then consistently every couple of months, it takes 11 months before the first debt is eliminated under the “Highest to Lowest” interest rate payoff plan. Ugh.

And just for fun, I calculated what my repayment plan would look like if I increased the extra payment each month up to $1500.00. For the sake of space here, I will only include the updated “Highest to Lowest Interest Rate” and “Lowest to Highest Balance” below.

1) Highest to Lowest Interest Rate

2) Lowest to Highest Balance

While the “Highest to Lowest Interest Rate” still results in the greatest amount of savings between the two methods, paying $1500.00 more each month still shaves off more than a year of repayment than if I am only paying an extra $1000.00 each month regardless of which method I choose…

I will admit to being torn. While I very much would like to stick to the most mathematically efficient way to pay off debt, I will admit that the “Lowest to Highest Balance” method does hold some appeal at this current moment when it has been almost a year since I had the psychological reinforcement of paying off a debt, and I still have three more months until I payoff the next one…

So…thoughts? Am I entirely nuts for finally for finally wanting to swallow the Ramsey kool-aid and go “Lowest to Highest Balance?”

The Ah-ha Moment – Revised 2020 Financial Goals

Yesterday, I received both the federal stimulus check (deposit) for $1200.00 and a $300.00 reimbursement check (deposit) from my employer. While I had already written a post about what I would do with the money when I received it (Note: I expected to receive it much, much later), as I sat there looking at my unusually flush mid-month bank balance, I began to obsessively review my debt repayment plan to make sure I was making the “right” decision. After some hemming and hawing, I put the entire $1500.00 towards Private Student Loan 1 (PSL1). With this payment, the Citi portion of PSL should be paid off of June 1st and the Discover portion of PSL1 should be paid off on August 1st.

While I sat on my couch filling out an application for a side-gig, I began to think about how my goals would need to be readjusted given that I wouldn’t be able to make the kind of money I had expected to make this summer from academic enrichment activities since University B, and the surrounding public school districts, announced that they would be cancelling in-person activities for the summer. As I began to do this, I also began to think about the upcoming months, through the end of the year, and what I could successfully achieve with respect to debt repayment. At some point, I was reminded that my car lease is ends in early January and that I need to either buy the lease out now ($12, 176.18), buy the lease at the end of the lease period in early January ($10, 282.50), or return the car at the end of the lease period and buy another vehicle.

Initially, I began Googling “Auto Loan Calculator” tools to figure out how much the car payment would be if I took out a loan for the amount of my vehicle. Of course it only made sense to buy my car at the end of my lease because it is a 2018 and will only have 32,000 miles on it and you can’t purchase a late model vehicle, with so few miles, for that price. However, at some point, while I was doing all of these calculations, I just stopped for a minute. I thought about exactly what I was doing. And then I went on the following internal rant to myself: 

No, YOU can’t purchase a late model vehicle, with so few miles, at that price because YOU can’t afford it. If you could afford it, you would be able to pay cash. But YOU can’t afford it. Which is why you are looking up auto loan calculators. You might as well be looking up $12,000.00 in additional debt calculators.

This was my ah-ha moment. The moment I realized that I will never be rid of debt if I always allow myself to justify borrowing money and if I don’t look at borrowing as adding debt to my already massive total. So, I came up with the following revised financial goals for the remainder of the year, assuming my income does not change:

1) Pay off PSL 1 on August 1st
2) Pay off University Student Loans 3 ($847.42) & 4 ($663.35) on September 1st Updated: Next day

3) Push the $60.00 minimum payments from USL3&4 to PSL3 Updated: Next day

4) Save $ to purchase a used vehicle at the end of the year (~$3,500.00)

I decided to payoff USL3&4 because their minimum payments are large in proportion to their balances. For example, PSL2 which has a balance $7,854.39, only has a minimum payment of $93.30 a month. Additionally, more of the current minimum payment for PSL3 goes to interest than to principal and as I would be pausing additional debt payments for the remainder of the year, I wanted to still be making some progress.  Updated: The very day after I wrote this…I know, I know.

I know that was a lot but…thoughts?

I really just want to end the debt cycle once and for all. That was an important moment and decision for me.