The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of December 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of December 31, 2014. Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a significant impact on your debt decrease. My Great Lakes Student Loan 3 is my current focal loan, and I decided to pay a predetermined amount above my minimum requirements before halting my extra payments until after all of my final wedding expenses are completed. My car loan has an interest rate of less than 3%, so even though I only paid its minimum, it decreased by 2.7%. I paid just under eight times the minimum requirement for my Great Lakes Student Loan 3 and in result its total decreased by nearly 6%!! I am only making minimum monthly payments on Great Lakes Student Loan 2, and therefore its total only decreased by .04%. Pretty defeating.
The bar graph below represents my overall long term and short term debt progress. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making progress when you look at your BIG number on a month-to-month basis, but looking back to the beginning can remind you how far you have come.
Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!
Because I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest was smaller—11% of my total payment went towards interest—than percentage being paid towards interest on my other loans—an average of 40%! You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.
Tell your Income Where to Go
The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of December. About 43% of my earned income went towards debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Just below 33% went towards my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and 24% of my earned income was put into long-term savings this month to sit there until after my wedding so that I can sleep at night. I may have an over-planning problem…
December Roadblocks: Because I’ve been over planning ahead for the past few months, I didn’t get hit with any major expenses. I had previously purchased airfare for the Christmas traveling, and while back in the Midwest, I was fortunate to stay with family and share their food and homes (and many other perks that my parents/future in laws provided—like family gym membership benefits, dinners out, and a pedicure—I am spoiled). As the wedding gets closer and becomes more tangible (aka I actually start making the payments I’ve been saving for) it has been easier for me to stash my extra cash into my savings account without grumbling about it.
December Dollar Holllllaaaas: I was able to milk the Christmas money I received into grocery and spending money for the rest of December (and spoiler alert, since I am writing this post in mid-January) and at least half of January. That’s a few hundred bucks that goes into my savings account!
For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our info on Getting Started by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. How do you stay motivated and track your debt progress? Do you have any tips that help you stay motivated when you aren’t able to put as much as you’d like towards debt because you have other looming expenses?