Browsing Category: Paying Off Debt

Paying Down the Student Loan

debt movement 2013 10 million

debt movement 2013 10 million

Today starts the challenge part of The Debt Movement, so I want to share my goal for the next 90 days along with our starting point and our plan to knock this debt down.

Looking at $19k in Debt Left

Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents and  Ready for Zero have teamed up for a massive project; helping people to pay off $10 million dollars of debt paid off in 90 days. For my part I’m contributing my $19,000 student loan as a part of the challenge. I’m hoping that this group effort can speed up our goal of getting rid of this debt.

As far as getting a starting point, I just logged into my account to get the exact balance and as of today, it stands at $19,222.62. 

Paying Off $2,500 in 90 Days

Though the interest rate is low, we really want to improve our monthly cash flow in the long run. However we don’t want to pause our retirement contributions, so that means we have to cut other expenses and look for ways to earn a bit of income to get this loan eliminated.

As far as earning a bit of income, we have some cash this past week by selling our Jetta through Craigslist. We decided to take a chunk of this money and use it to an additional payment on the student loan. I’m scheduling a payment next week. I’ll also look for ways to sell some of our stuff and get a bit more cash.

We have redirected the extra payments we were sending in for the mortgage and now they are going towards the student loan. It is my hope that this will help us to get rid of this debt in 3 years or less.

Thoughts on Earning More and Paying Down Debt

If you have any ideas on earning a bit more money to pay down the loan, please let me know in the comments. If you’re interested in being a part of The Debt Movement, go ahead and sign up today to be a part of this massive challenge.

More good news: If you’re committed to paying down your debt this year, sign up for $15,000 worth of Debt Scholarships to speed up the process even more

The Debt Movement

debt movement 2013 10 million

If you looking at getting rid of your debt this year, you may be interested in a movement that is brewing in the personal finance community – The Debt Movement.

What is the Debt Movement?

debt movement 2013 10 million

I’m sure you’re wondering what The Debt Movement is about and how it affects you. Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents and  partners like Ready for Zero have teamed up for a massive project – they’re hoping to get $10 million dollars of debt paid off in 90 days. Yep, you read that – $10 MILLION DOLLARS.

If you remember this past fall I had a contest for Couple Money subscribers to get your feedback on debts that you have and to see what I could do to help you out. I received some great feedback and I learned that many of you have already started on getting your debt paid off, but you’d like to see more tips on how to get that done faster.

All through out the 90 days,My Financial Reviews and Couple Money will be sharing ways to find ways to build your debt snowball faster. Interested in getting started? Go ahead and sign up today to be a part of this massive challenge.

More good news: If you’re committed to paying down your debt this year, sign up for $15,000 worth of Debt Scholarships to speed up the process even more

How to Enter for a Debt Scholarship

Entering for a chance at earning a scholarship is easy. The real work is working on your goal! Here are the details from their site:

  • Step 1:  Apply –  Complete the Debt Scholarship Application.  Applicants will have until February 15th to complete the Debt Scholarship Application.
  • Step 2:  Sign Up for The Debt Movement Newsletter – We will need your email address to contact you throughout the duration of the movement.
  • Step 3:  Track Your Progress –  1) At minimum we will be sending out a survey twice a month to see how your progress is doing.   We will expect you to be as honest about your progress as possible.   Winners are not solely based on total debt paid off,  but also the ability to show poise and determination through financial setbacks.

Don’t worry about how much debt you have – the important thing is that you work at paying off your debt and you’re transparent with your progress. Check here to get all the official rules and details.

Thoughts on The Debt Movement

I’d like to hear from you – do you have any debt you’d like to work on for this challenge? Hw much debt is it and how much do you think you can eliminate in 90 days?

 

What Is Credit Credit Counseling? Do You Need It?

debt management plans

Credit counseling is a program where your finances are examined and a plan is created to help you eliminate your debt. Each case is different, but there are some general practices with credit counseling. What kind of help can you expect? 

  • Your finances are examine to get an idea of all your assets and debts
  • Have the counselor review the financial snapshot and offer suggestions on what can done
  • Negotiate a deal with creditors and create a debt repayment program

Can You Do It Yourself?

Some people may wonder why credit counseling would be necessary. The above steps don’t look to complicated, you may think you can do it yourself. That is possible, but then why haven’t you’ve done it already?For some, credit counseling is a viable option. However, if you’re truly motivated and determined to get out of debt, you can on your own.

Best Guides to Reducing Your Debt

If you want to get out of debt yourself, then I’d recommend the following books to not only get you educated on it, but to give you specific tactics on getting it eliminated.

  • Total Money Makeover (and workbook): If you’re determined not to get into debt again, then I’d recommend grabbing this classic from Dave Ramsey. He’s hardcore when it comes to debt (there’s no ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ debt- no debt is the goal), but his method works.
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich: Ramit is a great negotiator and he has practical scripts that you can do get fees removed and interest rates lowered as you work to pay down your debt.

Digging Yourself Out of Debt

If you’re willing to do the work, here’s a general guide to get you started on paying down your debt.

  • Learn the Exact Amount of Your Debt: Find out how much debt you’re in by either calling up your creditors or compiling all your current bills. Grab or create a debt reduction spreadsheet and list all your creditors, the interest rates, and the total amount you owe.
  • Don’t Dig Deeper Into Debt: When I had credit card debt, taking the cards out of my wallet was a easy and effective step. I had less temptation to rely on them when I wanted to make an impulse buy. I was creating a barrier for myself and improving my finances. Hide them, freeze them, or perform a plasectomy.
  • Set Up a Realistic Payment Plan: When you speak with your credit card company’s customer service representative remember to be polite and firm. You’re trying to get them to give you a better payment plan; being rude will not accomplish that and could make it worse.
  • Automate Your Payments: Keep yourself on track by setting up all your payments through your bank’s online bill pay program.

If you occasionally negotiate better interest rates as you pay down your debts, you can get out faster.

Thoughts on Credit Counseling

You have to decide for yourself whether or not you need credit counseling help from an agency. If you’re looking at the non- profit option, there is National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Locating the nearest office is as simple as calling 1-800-388-2227. There are other options as well.

I haven’t used credit counseling so I’d really like to see other people’s perspectives. Do you think credit counseling is a good option for people in debt?

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

Using Mint to Pay Off Credit Card Debt

money and pounds

In February I wrote about how we use Mint to track our budget. It’s a wonder and free tool that allows you to quickly review your income and spending. It’s really useful for us when we do our monthly net worth reviews.

What Mint does is grab your linked accounts’ data and create and organize useful data based on those transaction.

Easy System to Pay Down Debt

Basically when paying down debt, it comes down to:

  • Learn the Exact Amounts of Your Debt and Your Budget: Having the exact numbers can be powerful and eye-opening in some cases. Seeing how much debt in you’re in can motivate you to get rid of your high interest debt on the credit cards.
  • Set Up a Payment Plan You Can Keep: You can compare your money habits in the past and see where your money leaks are so you can redirect that money to a debt snowball. Mint’s goal feature helps you to see how quickly you can pay off your debts and how much money you’ll save.
  • Stay Motivated and Reward Your Achievements: Staying motivated while paying down debt usually means celebrating milestones. Finding small rewards for your victories can keep you going.

Mint can help you with the first 2, the last one is up with you :). Let me share how helpful Mint can be with tackling debt.

Mint’s Goals – How You Can Tackle Debt

Mint does offer several templates for goals, including: mint pay off debt goal

  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Save for retirement
  • Buy a house
  • Save for college
  • Improve house
  • Take a trip
For this post I want to highlight the first one – paying off credit card debt.  To use Mint’s  goal tool, you simply select the goals tab and with the various options, you’ll find paying off debts.
From there you’ll be guided to customizing your goals. For myself, I had to select which credit card I was tracking and give the interest rate information for my credit card. Mint is even able to track introductory interest rates, which is extremely helpful for those who may have large balance whose repayment will exceed the special intro offer.
The next step is coming with a monthly payment plan and comparing the pros and cons of each. With Mint you can see how much you save on interest payments, which is a handy tool and a bit motivating to having a bigger debt snowball.
Along with monthly emails to track your progress, you can also log-in at any time and see how you’re doing. mint can also share tips and offers from other credit cards that may give you better interest rates.

Thoughts on Mints for Paying Off Debts

How many of you already use Mint? Have you used their goal feature?

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