Gettin’ Outta Debt pt 7- Light At The End of The Tunnel

This is a repost of a series I did when this blog was on Blogger back in 2009.

Ready to see a debt snowball in action? Using my real debt numbers I’m going to show how a debt snowball works and how you can pay off your debt using the money that you are already paying to service your debt.  Using this method, you’ll get  out of debt months/years earlier than you’d ever thought you could.

Recapping my debt balances and the pay off if I were to follow the conventional plan:


Visa: $2,371.53, $50 per mo, 12%, 65 months, $3,250.00
H.F: $1,000.00, $19 per mo, 9.9%, 70 months, $1,333.00
Car: $3,571.69, $245 per mo, 7.9%, 16 months, $3,920.00
Capital One: $984.43, $19 per mo, 9.9%, 68 months, $1,292.00
BoA: $4,588.00, $51 per mo, 9.52%, 103 months, $5,253.00
Perkins: $2,027.15, $40 per mo, 5.00%, 58 months, $2,320.00
Direct SL: $5,786.44, $52.52 per mo, 4.22%, 140 months, $7,352.80
Mortgage: $48,175.00, $413.06 per mo, 6.25%, 181 months, $74,763.86

Remember we are using the same $889.58 I was already paying out.

Since the car loan has the shortest payoff term but the largest payment out of all the non mortgage debt, there won’t be any interest savings or reduction in payoff time. When the car was paid off in 16 months, the very next month as if I still had to make that payment, I took that $245 added it with the $50 I was sending to Visa until pay off, approx 7 months later.  Visa’s payoff  looked approximately like this:

  • $1972 approx balance. Paying $295 per month instead of just 50 @ 12% interest, the total payoff time was reduced to 23 months, with a total amount paid of : $2,455. Note above the “normal” way of paying it,  a payoff time of 65 months @ $3,250. That’s a $795 savings just by redirecting the car payment once it was paid off to this debt instead of using it to increase my lifestyle or incurring more debt.  Let’s move on.

Now that I’ve paid off the car loan & Visa, the very next month I set my target on either Household Finance or Capital One since they have the same interest rate and balances. I decided to knock out of my wallet, Capital One.  I took  the car loan payment @ $245, the Visa payment @ $50 and added that to the Capital One payment of $19 for a total payment of $314. The TKO of Capital One looked approx like this:

  • $733 approx balance. Paying $314 per mo@ 9.9 % interest, the total payoff time is reduced to 26 months from 68 months with the total amount paid: $1,142. That’s a savings of $150. Though that does not seem like much but that $150 will make a big difference going towards the larger debts. Let’s move on to the next one in line to be taken out, Household Finance.

OK, as it goes the very next month after I’ve sent the last payment to Capital One, I’ll take that $314 and add it to Household Finance’s payment of $19 for a total of $333. The numbers for Household Finance look like this:

  • $725 approx balance. Now paying $333 per mo, 9.9 %, the total payoff time is reduced to 28 months from 70 months and the total amount paid: $1,173. Savings $160.

Moving right along to the next target, Bank of America. After paying off Household Finance, we are now sending BoA, that $333 + BoA’s $51 for a total payment of $384. Here’s where is starts to get juicy:

  • $4175 approx balance, now paying $384 per mo, the total payoff time is reduced to 39 months from 103 months and the total amount paid: $5,668. Savings, $2441!  I don’t know about y’all but I can think of a whole lot more fun things to do with $2441 than giving it to the bank.

Next victim is the Perkins loan. I’m now sending them $384 + their $40 payment for a total payment of $424. The numbers:

  • $761 approx balance, now paying $424 per mo, the total payoff time is reduced to 41 months from 58 months and the total amount paid: $2,284. Savings, $36. Not much there but every penny counts as you will see with largest debt.

Next target, the Direct Student Loan. I’m sending them $424 + their payment of $52.52 for a total of $476.52. Let the whacking begin:

  • $4436 approx balance, now paying $476.52, the total payoff time is reduced to 50 months from 140 months and the total amount paid: $6,609.78. Savings, $743.

Last but certainly not least, is the “death pledge” otherwise know as the mortgage. At this point, a ways down the road, I’ve paid of all other debt and will start sending the mortgage company $476.52 + the mortgage payment of $413.06 for a total monthly payment of $889.58. I know that it was a while ago but that number sounds familiar right? Hang in here with me.

  • $38,836 approx balance, now paying $ 889.58, the total payoff time is reduced to 96 months from 181 months and the total amount paid: $62,854. Savings, $11,910.

Just by redirecting the money that’s already being paid out and not letting it be absorbed into your spending or worse incurring new debt, I can get out of debt in this case in 8 years instead of 15 years!! I’ve also saved or should be more aptly put, did not have to pay out $16,235!! That’s more than 1 years take home pay for my family at this point in time.

Being the type person that I am, I was compelled to see if I could reduce the time to less than 8 years. Also my 40th birthday was around the corner and I wanted debt free status as a birthday present. If I didn’t mention it before, I had turned 34 a couple of months before I bought my house.  Come back and I’ll show you those numbers next.

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How I Got Outta Debt-Resources I Used On The Road to Being Debt Free pt.1

dump the debt

dump the debt (Photo credit: Friends of the Earth International)

This is a series I wrote back in 2009 when this blog was on I think it is as relevant as it was back then, if not more so now given the times we are living in.

I’m gonna start off by saying that getting out debt is not easy and not for the faint of heart. It can be compared to eating healthier, dreadlocking your hair or even wearing your hair out in its natural state. Though it may be a bit more accepted now, it’s still a long hard journey that takes loads of patience and thick skin. Why is that you ask? All go against the grain and many times the biggest opponents to your success will be your family and friends. I mention this because how well you can ignore their ignorance while keeping your eye on the prize is crucial to getting where you want to go. In addition to that, it’s a permanent lifestyle change, otherwise you’ll be right back where you started.

#1. IMHO, stop believing that stupid saying that’s been going around for decades that there is good debt and bad debt.  I don’t think “bad debt” needs explanation however “good debt”, is paid off debt.  End of story.

One of the keys to getting out of debt and staying out is to become conscious of what you are spending your money on starting TODAY!! Yes I’m shouting a bit but I’m trying to make the point that it is extremely important aside from point #1. Examine everything because if you are in credit card debt, more than likely there has been some unconscious spending going on! Many people have absolutely no idea how much they are living on vs what they actually bring home to pay the bills. Also a crystal clear distinction between needs and wants must be made. You may need a purse but you come home with a Coach or (whatever the designer names are) bag. No problem if you are financially OK, but big problem when you’ve got mountains of debt, doing these kinds of things for a long time, zero savings and the boss tells you that you’ll be out of a job in 2 weeks. Can’t quite live in or eat that Coach bag…can you?

Here are some everyday examples. Do you really need a cell phone and a land-line phone? Do you really need 25 calling features and voice mail on your land-line phone? I know it sounds like I’m fussing but I think I can do that because that was me at the time. lol Unless you are using every one of the features and making a lot of long distance calls, many times these so-called bundles are not saving you any money.  In reality, they’re costing you more. Even if you are using ALL of the features and making a gazillion phone calls, there’s probably a cheaper way. As for voice mail, get an answering machine. That feature alone is approx $7 a month as part of that “package” so in a year you’ve paid $84. Keep the service for 5 years and you’ve paid $420. Now I know you can get an answering machine for way less that $84 and even on the rare chance you had to by a new one every year, you’ll still come out way cheaper and have $50+ dollars to put on that 20% interest credit card debt. Heck for that matter, in the case of long distance, use email more or **gasp** snail mail. It’s the drips like this when looked at individually, don’t look like much but when applied across the board begin to become cracks in the dam in terms of the money being used here and not being available for debt repayment. The only folks getting rich off interest are the bankers.

Another way I’ve let money slide through the cracks was not paying attention to the price per unit of whatever it is I was buying. Not to mention the health aspect but that’s another post. For example, I was eating  ice cream at that time so I would get the

It's the picture of Italian ice-cream in a sho...

Image via Wikipedia

half-gallon of vanilla for $2.50. Looking elsewhere, I found a 5 quart container for $4.00. Now what most people do is look at the price of $4.00 vs $2.50 and immediately choose the half-gallon for $2.50. This can be applied for anything you are consuming on a regular basis. Before I got hip to pricing,  I purchased more ice cream next week getting another half-gallon for $2.50. OK, so after 2 purchases, I’ve spent $5.00 for one gallon of ice cream. Now I’m sure y’all remember that 4 quarts is 1 gallon right? Go up just a bit in this paragraph and see how much ice cream I  got for $4.00. 5 quarts. Without doing any more calculations you can see that I jipped myself out of a quart of ice cream. Not only that, I paid more for less ice cream! Now these were 2002 prices that I’m noting here so you know as I know, it’s gone up a whole lot more since. I bring this up to point out a practice that’s been going on for quite a while.  But you gotta admit, the ice cream in the photo looks really good! 🙂 OK…back on topic.

I’m referring to how corporations are raising their prices and/or leaving the price the same but making not so readily noticeable changes in the amount of product. It boils down to what is still a price increase. They are counting on is you not paying attention. Think I’m kidding…here’s another one for ya.  A pack of cookies, (it should be obvious by now that I love sweets lol) used to have 4 big cookies in it and cost $1.00. So that works out to be $.25 per cookie. Now, the company decides to change the packaging, tell you it’s space saving, bigger cookies or whatever jive talk that are spittin’ out and only put 2 cookies in there but leave the price the same at $1.00. Now each cookie costs $.50 each. That’s a 50% price increase!! In many cases using this same example, they’ve not only reduced the amount to 2 cookies, they’ve raised the price to $1.10. That’s an even bigger price increase. Many times it’s not quite as glaringly obvious as the last example but it’s there nonetheless.

So folks, ya gotta start becoming conscious and paying attention to where ya money is going. I’ve focused on this first because it’s the fastest and most efficient way to get more money freed up to have to accelerate debt elimination. What I came to find out was that I got more motivated to look for more ways to slash my budget so I did not have to go out and get a second job.

A few books that I used as road-maps on this journey were:

1)”Debt Proof Living” by Mary Hunt. She has a website of the same name as the book that is a paid subscription site which is quite reasonable at the time I had one. The non-subscription part of the site was nice.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

2)”Your Money Or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin

See if your local library has them first. Then if you like them, you can look for used copies or again, examine the details and see if buying them new will come out cheaper. With, if your purchase price is $25 or more you can get shipping free. I’ll talk more about these books and others later.

Are you ready for more? I hope so! Then on to part 2.

Disclaimer: All of the products mentioned in this post have been purchased by me or borrowed from the public library. I have no affiliation with the producer/manufacturer or distributor of the product nor am I being paid to review the product mentioned. The opinions set forth in this post are solely my personal opinion.

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