Good morning and Happy New Year. I thought that I would do a post about what I paid total for 2015 and my plans for 2016. I tallied up everything that I paid for auto-debits and extra that I put towards my loans and found out that I paid a total of $17,421.37 in 2015. I wiped out a total of 4 loans. I did this by pretending that I didn't have raises for the past 2 years and putting any extra windfalls towards my loans and also all the money that I made from picking up extra shifts towards it. I also continued to pretend that my monthly student loan payment was $200 and put the difference towards my loans.
This really was not easy and I had to do things throughout the year to keep my motivation up like reading other frugal blogs and other online inspirational stories about getting out of debt. I gave up a lot of things to be able to do this like buying new clothes, not getting pedicures, not getting fast food and not going on a vacation and telling myself no constantly and thinking that paying off my loans would be more satisfying than any purchase or experience that I can have. Just like losing weight, this isn't something that happens overnight and I had to keep reminding myself of that throughout the year. You didn't put on 40 pounds overnight and you are not going to lose 40 pounds overnight and you have to commit to making a lifestyle change.
It is important to focus on what you can have instead of what you can't have. I kept some luxuries, like keeping my once a month massage membership and my gym membership. If I ever found myself thinking about what I wish I could buy, I would just focus on what I already own and would spend extra time caring for what I already own or cleaning things. I also went through a lot of things that I owned that I no longer cared about and got rid of those items and got money for them at my local consignment shop and put that money towards my loans too.
So for 2016, here is a look at what is left as of 1/2/16:
Loan 1-01 $4182.92
Loan 1-03 $4182.94
Loan 1-05 $1557.64
Loan 1-07 $3074.11
Loan 1-08 $3969.83
I really plan to pay this off in full by the end of 2016 unless something crazy happens that I can't pay these off. I built up an emergency savings in 2015 too and am going to remain at my baseline savings. My plan for 2016 is to keep adding to my savings, except the difference is, I am going to take whatever is over my baseline savings every few months and use it to pay off one of my bigger loans in full while still applying extra payments towards my smaller loans. This is going to make my monthly auto-debit lower each month, but I still plan to put the difference towards my loans. If I get a raise for 2016 in April, that is also going to be applied to my loans along with any other windfalls that I may receive.
It has been really motivating to see my progress and has kept me on track blogging about it. It also helps to see that people are actually reading my blog and I hope that this has motivated others to start saving and get out of debt too.