PinchingPennies

Saving money to pay off student loans and consumer debt

Credit Cards and Student Loan Debt Oh My!

Or an update.

My student loan balances have been going down steadily but the credit cards have been a bit of a challenge. When we moved, I had to put part of the move on the credit cards and paying down the balances has been slow going. If I was following Dave Ramsey, he’d say to pay off my smallest student loan to gain momentum and then pay off all debt from smallest to largest. I tend to pay things off from the biggest interest rate to the smallest but that would put my student loans dead last.

Since my smallest student loan is “only” around $600, I think I will focus on knocking that one off first. Maybe Dave Ramsey will be right and it will get the ball rolling so to speak. Even if he is wrong and I am still discouraged, that student loan will never come back the way my credit card balances did. 😦

Updated my debt chart to keep myself honest.

April 3, 2011 Posted by | Credit Cards, Student Loans | , , | Leave a comment

Cash For Clunkers & Selling Our Used Car

This is the last weekend for the Cash for Clunkers program – where the government pays for trading in older cars in exchange for cash toward a new car with better gas mileage. This is also the weekend where we try to sell both of our cars.

Friends have taunted us, saying that we will never sell our cars this weekend because everyone will be looking for a new one under the Cash for Clunkers program. A woman looked at our Hyundai last night and she told us of an interesting side effect of the program. There aren’t any Toyotas available here. She noticed we have a Corolla as well and asked about it. It is a 1996 so she wasn’t interested but she did mention she looked for a Toyota first and couldn’t find one because of the program.

For those who are curious, she did agree to buy the Hyundai but we are waiting for her to return with the cashier’s check and no deal is done until cash is in hand.

Fingers crossed! Our car loan will be paid in full as soon as we sell it.

August 22, 2009 Posted by | Car Loan, Debt | , | Leave a comment

Big Garage Sale #1

We’re doing it! We are going to sell most everything we own and moving to Europe. The husband was offered a job and it will be a good way to minimize our stuff and pay off some student loans.

Preparing for the garage sale, I’ve been going through things and pricing them, with my 4 year old’s help. LOL Then I go back through and reprice the really egregious pricing problems. We are planning on holding the garage sale this Saturday to get rid of wave 1 of stuff. I’ve found that we have a ton of buried things we can get at least $100 for. My student loan balances are going down in my head.

Dave Ramsey would be so proud.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Earn Money, Student Loans | , , | Leave a comment

The husband’s student loans are paid off!

About time. I just made the last payment on the husband’s student loans to close them out. That’s the good news anyway. The bad news? We might have to take one more out for $1000. 😦

Here’s the deal. The husband was supposed to finish and defend his PhD thesis this summer. The problem is that you need to be enrolled to defend your thesis so we paid $1000 for 1 credit so he could defend. Then it came out, oops, his committee was out of town for the summer and technically he’d be defending this fall. Now he needs to enroll for another 1 credit class this fall. Since we are moving for his post-doc, cash is a little short – so it looks like he will need to take out a small loan. Or put it on his credit card. Either way, adding to the debt.

July 4, 2009 Posted by | Student Loans | , | Leave a comment

Paying off Husband’s Baby Student Loan

Now that husband is employed and not enrolled in school, it is time to pay his student loans. Good thing they are itty-bitty compared to mine. So I decided to pay off the loans by mystery shopping and writing articles. As the beaucoup bux goes into my paypal account, I will send it off to the loan company.

Husband’s Student Loans

$98.19
$146.09
$160.44

So far I earned $20 hitting the computer store down the street from my house and writing about the interaction. It will take up to 2 months to get the money but when I do get it, off to loan #1…

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Earn Money, Student Loans | , , , | Leave a comment

2008 Roundup – The Good, The Bad, The Paid Off

Last year was a little crazy and here are the highlights:

The Good – After being laid off, husband found full time employment in his field. The salary is high enough for us to live and continue paying off debt although not as high as my position. Yes, I make more money than my husband. Or at least I did. His new job comes with awesome health insurance to replace the crappy self-insured plan.

The Bad – On October 1, I was laid off from my sweet, sweet job. Since then I have been looking for another high paid, telecommuting, flex hours position but surprise! there aren’t any.

The Paid Off – In 2008, I paid off $10,155.87 of debt. One full credit card, a bunch of student loan payments and almost 1/2 a car loan. Now that husband is employed and not in school fulltime, we need to pay husband’s student loans. There are 3 of them and total about $450. They should die quickly and painlessly.

My hope for 2009? Less drama-rific than 2008.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Debt | , , , , | Leave a comment

Using a Credit Card After Balance Transfer

The introductory 0% interest rate on my credit card is coming to an end. I have the money in savings to pay it off but since I was laid off, I think it might be more prudent to transfer the balance to another 0% interest. That brought up an interesting point.

If the husband or I make any charges on that credit card, we will have to pay off the 0% interest balance, all the while paying the interest on the charges.

So let’s say the balance transfer is for $1500 at 0% until next May. The husband charges car repairs for $100 on the same card at 10% interest. We will be paying 10% interest on the full $100 until we pay the big balance off or until next May when we start paying interest on that too.

The credit card with the balance transfer will have to just sit there until the balance is paid off, whenever that might be.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Credit Cards | , , | Leave a comment

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Gee, that is a toss up. Tomorrow is my last day at work and I almost have everything wrapped up. I put together a kick ass resume and sent it out to all my contacts. I joined LinkedIn, Monster and Dice.com hoping something would pan out there.

For those that don’t know, I was laid off a week ago as of the end of the month. It was a surprise to my boss as well as to me and I don’t really wanna go. The status quo was nice. I am good at my job and the benes were great. *sigh*

On the financial front, due to a quirk in my employment status, I cannot receive unemployment. I have have about 2 months in savings at our previous spending rate. We have cut out everything non-essential and I have a couple good leads on jobs. If nothing else, I’ll go to Starbucks until I can find something more lucrative.

My debt snowballing will have to stop until I have found employment. I have reduced automatic payments to the minimum for the time being. Tomorrow I have to call about 1 student loan but it looks like I have paid almost $9000 in debt since January. *woo hoo*

In related news, the stock market fell 777 points today after the House of Representatives rejected the bailout bill.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Debt, Debt Snowball, Fixed Expenses | , , | Leave a comment

Applying for College Scholarships

Getting to college seems so much easier these days. Pre-internet, I had no idea where to get scholarships so I ended up taking out a bazillion loans. Now there are websites and CDs with where and how to claim scholarships.

Paying back loans is hard! Writing essays to win scholarships is easy(er)!

Amazon has books, books and more books on the subject.

Scholarships.com also has a free online sign-up for students looking for scholarships.

Trust me, try to avoid the student loans. They. never. go. away.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Student Loans | , | Leave a comment

Too Many Installment Accounts Lowering Credit Score

The credit score sites have a wizard that attempts to tell the customer what is lowering their credit score. The big one on mine appears to be my student loans. For some reason my student loans were broken up into 10 installment accounts. Different kinds of loans I guess, but still. I’ve been paying them off using the Dave Ramsey method of paying the smallest ones first but I still have 7 loans. Now, I don’t really need a higher credit score right now but if I did, I would either have to pay off some more of those loans or consolidate. The last time I looked into consolidation, it looked like some of the benefits of student loans would be erased, such as the ability to easily defer and loan forgiveness in case of death or permanent disability.

I should look into consolidation again.

August 22, 2008 Posted by | credit score, Student Loans | , | Leave a comment