It Takes A Village: $38,125.17 Paid, $47,182.90 Till Pay Off

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With A Heart of Thanks:

I want to start this blog entry by saying thank you. I am at a loss for words to describe the generosity my family has received from many people far and wide. Thank you to the ladies who encouraged my wife during the pregnancy, ensuring her she would be the great mother as she has turned out to be. Thank you to the guys who prayed for me, offered Godly wisdom and parenting advice.

My Baby’s Arrival/Health Benefits:

My daughter arrived on Sunday, August 7, 2016.  The experience of witnessing the birth of your child is life changing (and expensive too lol). Right now we are awaiting the final delivery bill to determine how it will impact our budget. One thing’s for sure: I don’t want to add any more debt.

With that said, healthcare in America is costly.  Initially, it was cheaper for my wife and I to have our employer/school provide insurance separately.  With the addition of our child, it has become less pricey for the three of us to be under my employer plan.  Thus, our health coverage will cost $798 a month, but the benefits will be well worth it.

Daycare, Baby Needs & New Budget:

On another note, diapers, wipes, baby clothes, car seats and cribs may cost you little, or it may cost you lots, but it’ll cost you.  Thanks to the gifts of friends and family, there were only a Baby Budgetfew baby essentials needed.  All my little girl needs is a loving home and I’m sure my wife and I can manage that.

To the left is my family’s updated budget, click on the image for a larger view.  You will notice two new items: Daycare and Baby Needs.  The $2,894.13 featured in Baby Needs is not our monthly budget for her, but is the amount spent for the month of August.  As months go by, we expect to be able to assess a fair budget for our child.

My wife hates giving one thought to daycare, but she understands it’s necessary given our busy schedules. In her own words, “I love having our daughter near and on me”. Sweet huh? Seeing through the warm fuzzies, she understands we must do our best to: 1) pay off my student loans and 2) ensure her graduation this December.

To wrap up this post, below is an update on my student loan accounts as of 08/23/2016. Thanks for following my journey to student debt freedom thus far.

Loan Update

Once again, thank you to those who have shown love to my little family.

 

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The Sacrifice of a Father: $37,197.54 Paid, $48,110.53 Till Pay Off

Why So Happy?
Waking up Monday mornings is always a drudgery for our house. But this Monday morning, as I groggily walked to the restroom to wash my face, my wife wore a beaming smile and greeted me cheerily. Her greeting was contrastingly returned with a slowly motioned wave and mummified growl, “Morning.”

Baby PicDespite my groggy state, I couldn’t help but be suspicious about her extra energy boost. While reaching for a washcloth, in the corner of my eye, was a pregnancy test leaning against the wall. I tried to delete the image of the pregnancy test to shield myself from fear and pain.

My wife and I have been married for 5 years and were coming to terms with the possibility of never being able to conceive. I assumed the pregnancy test would read negative, but out of hope, I took a peek at it anyway.

To my amazement and disbelief the test read positive. Then I thought, wait, this is an April Fools’ joke, why would she do something so mean? But this was in November, April was 5 months away. Then my attention was drawn to sticky notes my wife placed above the pregnancy test where she wrote, “We prayed and God answered.”

Still half-conscious, it clicked.
“Wait… we’re pregnant?!”
Almost instantly, the sleep fell from my eyes.
She grabbed my hands and excitedly screamed, “Yes, we’re pregnant!”
I can’t explain the joy in knowing that my little girl will be here in August; I feel alive again!

Sacrifices of Parenthood
Once the initial elation surrounding my little girl’s arrival wore off, the reality of newfound responsibilities rose to the surface. We will lose sleep, time, and maybe even some friends. And of course, as we all know, raising a child can come with a considerable price tag. Half of me is joyful in anticipation of my child’s arrival, and the other half is anxious. I still have student loan debt to repay and sometimes wonder if waiting longer before starting a family was the better option.
But I am proud to have the opportunity and privilege to raise a child.
Fatherhood is the best gift imaginable, especially since for us, the seemingly impossible became possible. Two little eyes will be looking to me with love every day from this point on, and a little mouth will call me “dada”. Why would I not want the gift I have been given after being blessed with it?

With that in mind, I now prioritize savings over debt reduction in anticipation of the costs of raising a child as well as any birthing complications. Although I want to get rid of student loan debt faster, it would be a pity not to provide for my family first.

New Debt Payment Plan
My student loan accounts are paid bi-weekly, totaling initially $425.51 every two weeks as shown below. I have since reduced the amounts made on the debt to an updated amount of $248.76.

Bi-Weekly Payments2

The principal paid bi-weekly has decreased from approximately $304.99 to $137.31, due to reduction in repayment. It’s a little disheartening to see my momentum slow a bit; but one thing’s for sure, my debt is decreasing.

Bi-Weekly Principal Payment 2

What matters most is my beautiful wife and daughter are healthy and strong.
For all the parents out there, how have you tackled the financial responsibilities of student loan debt and parenthood?

Until next time folks, fight on.

Almost Halfway Home: $36,487.04 Paid, $48,821.03 Till Pay Off

I am finally “under the hill”–I now owe less than $50,000 in student loans!  Bring out the bubbly!

Here’s a snapshot of my current loan accounts:

4-6-16 Updatechampagne

If you were to meet me 5 years and told me where I would be today, I would either deem you a lunatic or a liar. Because 5 years ago, my loan balance was nothing to celebrate…

Holiday Blues 2011:

My heart felt heavy with guilt and shame as I drove home from work one week before Christmas in 2011.  The holidays are some of the worst times to feel blue, especially due to job loss.  It was my third time being dismissed from work in two years.  I walked into my apartment without a word after cheerful greetings and a kiss from my wife.

Know How Much You Owe:

Thoughts rushed in at once, “Who gets fired a week before Christmas? How are you going to pay rent?” And the scary one, “How are you going to make your student loan payments?”  I can happily say it has been 4 years, 8 months since I have started this journey.  What helped reduce my student loan debt was knowing how much I owed.  It is possible to track student loan amounts using the National Student Loan Data System’s website.

Taxes & Payment Plans:

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, his famous quote would read, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and student loans”. Fortunately, for today’s college graduates, Income Driven Repayment plans exist to make repayment easier.

The federal government offers four repayment plans known as: Repaye, Paye, IBR and ICR. Under my current repayment plan, the first three years of interest was waived, and all payments went to principal.  To remain in one of these repayment programs, however, you must submit tax information annually (the processing of which can (surprise!) be incredibly inefficient, but I’ll save that episode for another time).  Thankfully, this documentation can be submitted electronically through Studentloans.gov.

Being enrolled in an “income-based” program made repayment possible during times of unemployment.  In addition, many are eligible to receive up to a $2,500 tax deduction.  This interest deduction has saved my wife and I lots of money, especially since she is now a full-time student.

For more details about the federal government’s income-driven repayment plans, click here.

The End In Sight:
I constantly review my repayment schedule, and in doing so, keep myself motivated as to the finite nature of this “student loan phase” of life. One of the most concrete ways to accomplish this is through using a repayment calculator. A simple, yet effective calculator can be found through FinAid.org.  The website can print a repayment schedule based on your loan amount, interest rate, and loan term. It is a tailored picture you can always revise to help envision your expected payoff date, and gives you the ability to play around with your payment budget and see the effects.

I hope this information has been helpful in providing motivation, goals, and vision.  You, too, can make progress in your repayment journey by:

1) Knowing what you owe,

2) Taking advantage of tax and repayment options, and

3) Seeing the end.

 

Feel free to post any specific questions, or additional advice you have gained on your journey, below!

Until next time, continue the fight, friends.

 

Murphy’s Law: $35,237.09 Paid, $50,070.98 Till Pay Off

The past few months have greatly tested my ability to laugh in frustrating moments. I have fallen victim to “Murphy’s Law” in the areas of technology, vacation, transportation and homestead.

Murphy's Law2

Technology:
I work in the field of education and one of my roles is an adjunct professor. I love what I do and sometimes it is best to follow by the same advice we instructors give students, “Never start work at the last minute.” I had to learn this the hard way as I decided to rest a few days before submitting final grades.

All hell broke loose, my laptop had fan issues, causing overheating and shutdowns. I also downloaded a virus that randomly blocked Wi-Fi internet access. However, I persevered and submitted grades hours before the deadline. The laptop saga ended, it was repaired for $50! SWEET!

HAHA

Vacation:
My wife and I love Christmas vacations, so much so, we invited two our closest friends for a Christmas cruise. Before we could fully enjoy the exotic sites, people, food, and fun; a four hour drive to Galveston, Texas stood in our way.

We had great friends along for the ride, so we anticipated the 4 hours flying by with laughs and occasional rest stops. Little did I know my ability to laugh in frustrating moments would be tested again…

Have you ever felt like you forgot something important at home while on the highway? Can you guess what my wife and I forgot to pack? You guessed it, we left our passports. We eventually made it home to retrieve them, delaying our arrival time by an hour.

HEHE

Transportation:
Car troubles always happen in the most inopportune times. My wife affectionately nicknamed our Honda Accord “Purple Rain” because it always needs repair. Annoyed with the constant breakdowns, we bought another car.

We viewed the new car as a bargain until discovering an electrical problem; causing issues with the turning signals, windows and locks. Around the same time, my truck at times would overheat and leak engine coolant.

In the end, the repairs cost us $200 in parts with free labor from my father-in-law. Thank you very much sir, you are a great mechanic.

HOHO

Homestead:
After repairing the laptop and cars, our washing machine breaks. My wife calls the apartment manager and is told we will receive a new washer. GREAT! Yet, we become victims to “Murphy’s Law” again.

While replacing the washer, the maintenance worker put a hole in the washroom’s wall and soaked our living room carpet with dirty water. We guess the worker made an attempt to mop up the water, as evidenced by wet bath towels in our dryer.

FACEPALM

Issues we have in life take time to address. While I felt inconvenienced by my circumstances, these same circumstances led me to people. It was neat spending time with my wife and father-in-law working through frustrations. Until next time folks, press on and God Bless.

Credit Crunch: $34,531.56 Paid, $50,776.51 Till Pay Off

Happy Belated New Year folks!
It is a blessing to be alive and in good health. So much has happened since the last post, so as promised here’s a personal account about credit.
This story starts on a relaxing August evening while visiting my wife’s parents for dinner in 2011. While everyone conversed and gave thanks for the meal being served, my mind raced with questions. What if I lose my job? Will my marriage end in divorce? Is it even possible to pay off $85,308.07? These thoughts were in stark contrast to my outlook on life in December 2010: I was a recent college graduate, landed a great job, and was soaring with feelings of invincibility. After a few short months unfortunately, 2011 arrived with my impending financial doCredit Crunchom. As I sat at the table that night, I felt like the chicken on my plate…DONE.

The warning signs were there four months prior, as I noticed my credit score would fluctuate by as much as 25 points. I created a credit monitoring account and set up text message alerts through Experian. I investigated reasons behind the score changes on Experian’s website, and read that score fluctuation was a normal occurrence, so there was no need for alarm. I dismissed my concern and figured everything was okay, forgoing any further investigation.

Experian is one of the major credit report bureaus, along with TransUnion and Equifax. These guys monitor and report credit scores used to determine your ability to pay back debt. Typically scores range from 300-850. Your chances of being approved to make big purchases on credit (like houses and cars, for example) improve with higher scores. The higher your credit score, the lower the perceived risk for the lender. The lower the credit score, the less likely you are to be trusted with a loan, as you are perceived to be more likely to default on your end of the deal.

After a couple of months of occasional text alerts gradually becoming more frequent, I started to feel something was actually wrong.  I ran over to the nearest computer and logged into Experian’s website. In bold red letters read, “Payment 30 days Late”.  In shock, I realized that it was a student loan company owed. In angst I thought, “I’m already paying over $900 a month, and now they want more?! This has to be a mistake!”  Sadly, it was an oversight on my part, and not an error as I so hoped.

From this experience I’ve learned:
1. Never assume everything is okay.
I ignored the many warnings that I had not kept current with all my student loan accounts.  After discovering the additional obligation, I had to fork up another $90 a month.  For the next seven years I have a late payment attached to my credit report, which lowered my credit score.  Sometimes making that extra call or sending another email can properly inform us of what’s really going on.

2. Keep Calm. Don’t panic.
I worried about insolvency and divorce as a result. Well, I’ve lost jobs and every time the Lord has provided.  My wife is still by my side, and we will celebrate 5 years of marriage next month. The sleepless nights have all proven futile as they did not improve my ability to keep jobs. Nor did stressing about the future make me a better person; ask my wife, it made me grumpy at times.

3. Goals take time to be reached.
Earning degrees don’t happen overnight, neither will paying back the student loan balance. Education taught me to plan and break monstrous goals into smaller tasks.  Graduating from college took focus through each class and each semester before realizing the dream of walking across the stage.  Now the year is 2016, my goal is to one day be debt-free.  I can smile knowing that 85k is not my loan balance anymore.

4. Enjoy life.
We all have places to go and things to achieve. We stop living once we lose hope and have nothing left to live for. 2011 marked a time for me where I didn’t enjoy watching movies, practicing guitar, or playing video games. Taking breaks to discover and engage in hobbies helps relieve stress. So while it is important to work hard, be sure to never forget how to play hard.

That’s all I have for my credit experience. Thanks for stopping by, the next blog post will be entitled “Murphy’s Law”.  See ya!

Happy Holidays Ya’ll!: $33,211.73 Paid, $52,096.34 Till Pay Off

Freshly baked cookies, sights of poinsettias and strings of lights everywhere. One thing’s for sure, the holidays are upon us. It is so hard to stay on budget as friends and family make plans to visit you during Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is more difficult for me as my birthday falls in the month of November and my wife’s in January.

Adding to my wallet’s cries for help is my wife’s pleasure in giving gifts. It’s difficult telling your wife no, as the saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life”. So at this wonderful time of year, our family must first address necessities then desires. Below is my holiday budget with a few updates.

Holiday Budget

The most noticeable updates are the items listed under “Christmas Vacation”, “Rent” and “Utilities”. I know, I know, I realize a vacation is a desire and not a necessity. I figured my wife could use a nice vacation after a grueling year of grad school. Rent has increased after my wife and I decided to live on our own again.

We certainly miss the voluntary $400 rent payments, free washing, drying and electricity. Now our rent is still modest at $675.00.  Utilities average out at about $155 monthly which includes internet, water, sewage, and electricity.  We stream all our favorite television shows and use a digital antenna box for local news.

Another change to the budget has been an increase in health insurance.  We always feel warm and fuzzy inside after insurance premiums increase, while actual services provided decrease.  Lastly, we receive a nice discount off the cell phone bill through my employer.

Well that’s all for this post, on to enjoying the holiday festivities.  Leftover pumpkin pie is calling my name to get in my belly.  The next blog will cover my personal experience with credit.  Happy Holidays to you and yours!

To Move or Not to Move? That is the Question: $31,650.79 Paid, $53,657.28 Till Pay Off

To Move or Not to Move...Sup ladies and gentlemen! For eleven glorious months my wife and I lived with her parents. It was a pretty sweet arrangement, $400 monthly rent and even free meals. The best thing, we were never asked or pressured for money. We believed that as adults we should contribute when living with others, especially family. I really appreciate them for the sacrifice they made to make us feel at home.

But there comes a time a man must stand on his own and provide for his family. So we loaded up the U-Haul and moved once again. Before we moved in with parents, our last apartment was on the 3rd floor. Now we live on the first floor, which made moving less stressful for me but not for my wife who is still busy with school.

Not to complain, but this is a blog so welcome to my life. We are happy to be back on our own but it has come at the price of discomfort. Right after we signed our lease we noticed mold, faulty electrical outlets and a broken a/c unit lol. We took care of the mold with a little bleach and maintenance fixed the outlets and a/c after two months of our move-in.

Now, the two busted outlets weren’t too big of a deal. However, a/c is a must living in Texas. We had some hot nights as temperatures reached 85 degrees Fahrenheit. For two months we called maintenance who would send someone to our apartment to leave annoying notes. One note from maintenance read, “You must keep a/c on all day at 75 degrees to cool apartment down”. REALLY? I don’t know how to use an a/c unit? Whatever.

After much frustration and more sweaty nights we finally called the property manager. The manager was nice and got the job done the same day she heard from us. She even gave the maintenance workers a good talking to. Now with everything fixed, we are slowly getting back to normal and can finally sleep comfortably at night woohoo!

With the recent move, my wife and I have had to develop a new budget. It is available below for your viewing pleasure. Finally, stay tuned for the next blog edition, not sure on a title just yet.

 September Spent Budget Remaining/Over
Groceries $204.95 $200.00 $4.95 OVER
Gas $110.00 $190.00 $80.00 LEFT
Restaurants $50.00 $170.00 $120.00 LEFT
Fast Food $22.17 $90.00 $67.83 LEFT
Clothing $0.00 $70.00 $70.00 LEFT
Coffee Shops $0.00 $20.00 $20.00 LEFT
Movies $0.00 $10.00 $10.00 OVER
Student Loans $805.02 $805.02 $0.00 LEFT
Rent/Utilities $864.00 $1000.00 $136.00 LEFT
Cellphones $83.94 $100.00 $16.06 LEFT
Car Insurance $45.76 $45.76 $0.00 LEFT
Health Insurance $215.00 $215.00 $0.00 LEFT
Total $2400.84 $3138.56 $737.72 LEFT

The Run-Around: $30,711.90 Paid Off, $54,596.17 Till Pay Off

Rep Wheel

The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program has been great in aiding my student loan repayment efforts. I have been enrolled in this repayment program for 4 years now. So I was ecstatic to receive mailed notice on Friday, March 27, 2015 of my approved Income-Based Repayment application.

Then on April 20th another notification arrived stating the servicer had not received an updated IBR application. To add insult to injury, my new monthly payment would be $301.99, an increase from $152.02. OUCH! So for three straight days I called customer service rep after another to get this straighten out. At the time I felt my servicer was performing their own rendition of Blues Traveler’s hit song “Run-Around”.

At the moment I am laughing to prevent myself from frustration. This is the same company (whom I will not name) magically added $600 to my account balance last year and thought I wouldn’t notice.

Another issue I have with this loan servicer is their slow process in updating account information. My total monthly interest is $72.13, I pay $135 bi-weekly for a total of $270 a month. So why am I being charged $110 in interest? Each time I’ve requested to speak with a supervisor or an account manager I am asked to be placed on a “brief hold”. These holds typically last for 30 minutes.

As of today 8/4/15, my servicer has yet to correct my account information. Through this I remain focused on my goal of paying what I owe in full. But in the meantime, I need to contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman. An ombudsman is an individual or group appointed by the government who helps resolves disputes. The ombudsman can oversee disputes within private companies, universities and non-profit organizations.

If you are having problems with your loan servicer like me, contact the U.S. Department of Education Ombudsman Group via the info provided below:

Postal Mail:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
830 First Street, N.E., Mail Stop 5144
Washington, DC 20202-5144
Phone 1-877-557-2575
Fax 202-275-0549

Website:

FSA Ombudsman Group

Lesson learned, keep record of all paper and electronic correspondence with your servicer. If I hadn’t, this blog post would read differently. The next post will be titled, “To Move or Not to Move? That is the Question”.

Budget Time: $29,269.81 Paid, $56,038.26 Till Pay Off

Sorry for the delay folks!  This post has been the most difficult to write, because my aim is to help others, but not disclose too much.  Private messages are welcomed if you have any questions.

PIggy BankI want to start this post by thanking God for his love and provision. Many nights I stayed up worrying about having enough money to pay bills, but God provided. After deciding to fully trust His promises (Matthew 6:31-34), my needs continue to be met.

Sure, there are things I desire to provide for my wife: a nicer car, better clothes, and longer vacations. Times when you can’t pay the mechanic to fix everything wrong with your wife’s car, or afford to live exactly where you want to, can be demoralizing. Yet we lack for nothing: not because we are deserving, but because He is merciful. Looking back now, I can see how God provided for the need before I knew it existed.

As for other credit due: I want to say thanks to my lovely wife and her ability to add a flavorful Trinidadian twist to meals.  And to my parents, for instilling in me values that I hold dear till this day.

To my father-in-law, for lending his mechanic skills in fixing mine and my wife’s cars. And also to my mother-in-law for always finding deals on clothes for us to wear. The care they both continue to place on our daily lives has allowed us to budget for things like an occasional dinner out or a short vacation.

And on that note, even in the midst of being “financially suspended” when focused on repayment, I would advise still taking time out to enjoy the spouse, family, or friends in your life. Don’t make the mistake of suspending quality relationships while “suspending spending”. Those people and relationships are irreplaceable…

Now, let’s get a rundown of the budget.

Monthly Budget

Spent-May Budget Remaining/Over
Groceries $232.60 $200.00 $32.60 OVER
Gas & Fuel $164.57 $190.00 $25.43 LEFT
Restaurants $93.43 $170.00 $76.57 LEFT
Fast Food $145.48 $90.00 $55.48 OVER
Clothing $31.37 $70.00 $38.63 LEFT
Coffee Shops $0.00 $20.00 $20.00 LEFT
Movies $48.10 $10.00 $38.10 OVER
Student Loans $805.02 $805.02 $0.00 LEFT
Rent $400.00 $400.00 $0.00 LEFT
Cellphones $73.94 $100.00 $26.06 LEFT
Car Insurance $45.76 $45.76 $0.00 LEFT
Health Insurance $125.00 $125.00 $0.00 LEFT
Total $2165.27 $2225.78 $60.51 LEFT

As you can see above, I have not been a very good boy this month following my budget in every category  But hey, we all need to enjoy ourselves sometimes right?  For two people living in Dallas with the listed expenses above, our financial survival to this point is a blessing, and frankly shouldn’t be possible.

By living with parents (not perhaps the most ideal living arrangement that comes to mind when thinking of a young married couple), we can further reduce costs.  Their help leaves us with only a $400 bill to cover for direct living expenses in a comfortable home.  Their incredible display of love makes this debt pay off project possible.

So to those that may be challenged by the incredible mound of debt in front of you, I’m here to say (and show) that it’s possible with help. Look around you and think of ways you can save money: start with what things are absolute priorities, then reduce or eliminate things that are not. Keep in mind that these adjustments are temporary, and don’t reflect what the rest of your life will look like. Moreso, by making those adjustments for a short time now, you’ll benefit from longer and more comfortable enjoyment later (without the looming fear of a visit from your local repo agent). Talk to your spouse/significant others, friends, and family and get them on board with your personal goals.

And most importantly, I encourage you all to accept help when it is offered (or ask when it is needed), because pride will limit the growth of ourselves and others. No man’s an island, and having the support of others can be the difference maker in your life.

Income-Based Repayment: $28,433.14 Paid, $56,874.93 Till Pay Off

My Repayment Plan

Grrr… Outrageous loan payments:

It was one of the hottest days ever experienced in my life. In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Summer, 2011 was officially the hottest ever for Texas.  Sweat rolled down my forehead, over the bridge of my nose, and onto my laptop as I reviewed projected monthly loan payments.  My apartment’s a/c unit and ceiling fans were all cranked full blast to no avail, my living room was an oven.  I stared at the number slated to be my undoing and it stared back at me: $981.73, was my projected monthly payment.   Then something happened…

My wife showed her support:

In frustration, I swung my fists angrily in the air and exclaimed through tears, “I have ruined myself financially!”  To this my wife replied, “Boy, you are so dramatic” and let out a hearty laugh.  At this point, there were two things in the world I did not particularly care much for: her and those blasted loans.  She walked over to me said with a smile and said, “Your loans are my loans”.

Unlike me, my wife has $0 debt.  She is currently in her graduate program and owes loan companies and the federal government nothing, I am very proud of her.  Her educational background is also in sciences (Biology and Chemistry), she’s been blessed to have scholarships.

How I’ve tackled repayment:

I soon researched different repayment options through my loan servicers and applied for the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program.  In 2011, the maximum payment was 10% of your discretionary income; presently, it is 15%.

Below are tables displaying my monthly payments under IBR with each loan company.  The first table below shows the initial monthly payment of $535.90 calculated for repayment.  However, I decided to be more aggressive and pay $402.51 bi-weekly, bringing my monthly total to $805.02.

IBR Monthly Repayment.jpg

Less interest accrues on the principal loan balances with bi-weekly payments as opposed to monthly payments.   This is because there is less time for interest to accumulate.  This is a well known method used for paying mortgages, so I thought to myself, “Why not use this method when I have the mortgage without the house?” lol

Remember, my initial monthly payment was forecasted at $981.73, with complete repayment scheduled after 10 years.  Actual Bi-Weekly PaymentSince I’m currently paying a total of $805.02,  one would assume I’d end up behind on the “standard” 10-year schedule for repayment.  But God blesses me throughout the year to make additional payments whenever possible.  My current progress still slates me to be completed before the 10 year mark.

 So this is my repayment plan.  The next blog entry will discuss my wife’s favorite… our personal budget.  So I have questions to ask you.  Are you currently taking advantage or ever even heard of the IBR program?  Have you found creative ways to speed up your repayment process?