This is part one of a five-part series. Stay tuned over the next few days as I detail each part of the Travel Plan.
As I discussed in the Travel Plan, the first step in the Student Loan Journey is determining just how much money I owe, and to whom. As fun as it might be to jet off to Europe for a few months without a real idea of where you’re going or what you’d like to see, you can really maximize your time by figuring out just what to see before you leave. The same goes for eliminating debt–if you create a basic framework from the beginning, you have a better chance of paying it down quicker.
I’m not a huge fan of reinventing the wheel, so I am going to track my loans using the Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator. It’s a free Excel spreadsheet that tracks all of your loans and lenders. I also like that it projects how long it will take to pay off your debt.
For the sake of candor, I am going to share my actual numbers throughout this journey. This is a very real process for me, and I am passionate about paying down my student loan debt as quickly and effectively as possible. To that end, I want to be honest and open in my approach. By showing you actual numbers, you can get a glimpse at just how successful I am. It will also force me to build momentum and keep it up throughout the journey.
If you’re joining me in paying down debt, you will need to collect the following:
- Lender name, website, and contact info
- Principal balance owed
- Interest rate
- Minimum monthly payment
As you collect this information, plug it into the Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator from the link above. Depending on how many loans or other debts you have,
Using the Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator from the link above, I have entered the following information:
As you can see, I currently owe $29,819.61 on my student loans. Wow. I realize there are a lot of people out there graduating with a lot more debt than I did, but still, that’s a lot of money to owe. What’s worse, if I continue to pay the minimums each month, I’ll be paying down these loans until 2034. That’s 22 years from now!
Over the next few days, I’ll talk about the strategies I will use to help get rid of this debt much, much sooner.