Aug 14, 2012

a loan, loan time ago

Gee, I think I miscalculated when I set the goal to get the student loan below $30,500 because at the current rate we're going we can only pay it down to somewhere $31,500 by end of the year. If we truly stuck with the goal, we'll have to give up $1k somewhere along the way.

The only place where I know to pull that amount is from savings. The good thing about the savings goals is that we are so close to achieving them, so it looks like we could get the loan down to the goal level.

The loan is as old as time. I feel for my husband who has been saddled with it. Not only had he made some not so good choices in the past, he didn't earn enough to make an impact on it. He could've drastically altered his lifestyle, but I guess if you grew up poor there comes a point, especially when you're earning something, that being poor gets old too.

I'm grateful that I didn't have to get into debt to get a degree, but I didn't necessarily graduate with money smarts either. So joining our forces, we as parents have been teaching finances to our pre-schooler since he was 3. No joke. I don't know if we're doing it right, based on the info I read everywhere on that subject, but whenever he sees a coin on the ground he picks it up and says "I'm gonna put it in my piggy bank; and when it's full, take it to the big bank again for it can earn more money." He has $50 saved from all the coins he sees lying around the house and in the streets, plus our contributions here and there.
Biglow Canyon Wind Farm, Oregon

I honestly can't wait to savor being debt free from the student loan. It's just sad, when I think about it. Our lax target is 5 years, but we plan to be aggressive and pay it off in 3 years. I'm honestly impressed with people who were able to get rid of it after some drastic lifestyle change. Though we've not really done it that way, I find myself trying it at times with not much success. I go back and forth between trimming everything down to basics and giving in to traveling and good food (which are our weaknesses).

Emotionally speaking, I feel better nowadays knowing we have money in the bank and I know that once we've reached our target goals of $12k emergency fund and $6k house fund this year, I can relax on that and put more towards the loan. There's more money coming from NZ in a month, around $13k, which, while I could consider as part of the emergency fund, will just be that -- extra money.

For the most part, I realized that I really couldn't be satisfied with just having $1k for emergencies. It's just not enough in my mind. It's true what they say, that money is mostly emotional. I feel more empowered now to kill the student loan. We've been consumer debt free for months now. That took a lot of resolve to stick to the plan, a year and a half in the making. But we're here now, and I'm glad and at peace.

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