Most of you know that I was featured in a USA Today article dealing with student loan debt. Well, like I said yesterday, I’m sick of these bastard student loans and I’m not even halfway through the first year of my 25 year repayment period!
In order to really start combating these loans, I’ve begun to look for ways to reduce my monthly expenses. This is the first time that I’ve done this in about four years and when I did it then, I was making a salary that was less than half of what I make now and I was saddled with around $15,000 in a car loan debt and $20,000 or so in credit card debt. When all was said and done, I was free of those debts about two and a half years after I started attacking them.
Now, with more money coming in, but much greater expenses on my monthly balance sheet – I’m going to attempt to break the back of my debt again (before it breaks me!).
The first stroke in this financial war was canceling my Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring that cost me $13 per month. I needed that service because those rotten student loan people actually tried to play with my credit! Thankfully, the Experian folks figured it out real quick and rectified the situation asap. However, I’ve got to make all of the cuts that I can.
The second fight was bringing my monthly cell phone bill down about $30 per month by reducing my text messaging plan and reducing my data (internet) plan. I might reduce the actual calling plan from Verizon’s America’s Choice 900 plan to the America’s Choice 450 plan, which would save another $20 per month. I’m trying to be practical about it, though, and I want to train myself to use the cell phone less and use the landline office phones more before I reduce my calling plan, though.
Now, the next step in the battle was an interesting one. I’ve been automatically putting away $100 per month in an Orange Savings Account (which I raid occasionally when I have an emergency). I canceled that automatic savings plan. By doing so, I’ve now saved myself about $150 per month.
The areas where I’m looking to cut now include eating out, grocery costs, entertainment costs, and charitable donations. Yes, I’m even cutting back on my charitable donations. I’ve made a few promises in terms of charity, but once those are fulfilled, I’m going to spend a lot less on charity until I start to make a major dent on these student loans. Then I’ll actually have more money to send out to more worthy causes than the government’s pockets!
So that’s the beginning of my next war on my personal debt. The ultimate goal – debt free by age 30. Should be an interesting battle, huh?