This year we are so very blessed to be working in a position that actually pays and provides housing. Not that it pays a whole lot, but it sure is nice. Last year we received a small stipend each month through AmeriCorps and then after our year of service we received an education award which we used to pay off one student loan each.
Now that we have Elizabeth we actually got a decent sized refund after doing our taxes. We have had it for a couple of weeks and have been debating about what we should do with it. Last night we sat down, crunched some numbers, did some dreaming and scheming, and decided to go ahead and pay off our car. I’ve been trying to take Dave Ramsey’s approach to our finances and according to the way he advises, we should have paid off our smallest debt first and then roll those payments into making larger payments on the next larger debt and so on (the debt snowball). We decided that not having a car payment anymore would feel really good and would allow us $200 more each month that we could use to pay down the smaller debts even faster. So today I tried to pay off the car through the online payment feature, but because it was more than $2,000 the system couldn’t process it. I instead had to call and they told me that we had to pay by check/money order or western union. I got out my checkbook and wrote a check for just under $3,700 and put it in the mail. Man, did it feel good.
Our list of debts we’re working on:
3 credit cards
Medical bills from Elizabeth’s birth
-we’ll be using the rest of our refund to pay half of the remaining balance
-the top priority is my private loan since it’s got the highest interest rate
-I consolidated my federal loans at the lowest interest rate and with income based repayment (which is
much easier to handle each month)
-Aaron has one remaining loan, but he paid most of it off with the AmeriCorps award so his next payment due date
is in 2013, so while it’s on our list to make payments, it’s the lowest priority
It feels SO good to be on track again financially. Right before we graduated from college we were doing so well, but then life happened and Aaron found out that he needed an additional course to graduate and it took all of our savings (which we were going to use to get us through our year of volunteer service), plus some. Then of course we decided to have a baby, which slowed down our financial progress again. I really hope that we’ll be able to get the credit cards, medical bills, and private loan paid off by the end of the year.
Next I’ll post some pictures of Elizabeth, because that’s probably the real reason why you’re here 🙂