Bi-weekly Student Loan Payoff Update

A golden piggy bank with grad cap, card and calculator on wood b

This is a quick post to give a bi-weekly update on how our student loan debt payoff is progressing.

When I started this blog under a month ago, my husband and I had a combined 156k in student loans.

I had 111k, and he had 45k. We have no other debt besides our mortgage, which we’re paying off at an accelerated rate.

We got our student loan debt down to 136k at the end of July. Between now and then we also paid off an additional 32,526.

We now have a combined student loan debt of 103,474. In 4 weeks, we paid off 53k. My husband’s debt is down to 17k(!!!), and mine is down to 86,474.

Our goal at the end of July was to end 2017 with a combined debt of 86k (mine would be 70k, and my husbands would be around 16k).

My husband now has a goal of paying ALL of his debt off by year end, and I want to get mine down to 60k.

Achieving this means we would have paid off 96k of debt in 6 months!! I’ll have to pinch myself if that happens, because I’m sure I won’t believe it.

Here’s what happened in the last two weeks financially that enabled us to accelerate our debt payoff schedule.

Monthly Expenses:
  • In the last 2 weeks, we further increased what we could put down on our student loans from 40% to 46% of our after tax income.
  • The savings were achieved through a combination of further reducing our grocery bills, utilities, and from negotiating even lower insurance rates for the house and car.
  • My husband also switched from an $100 monthly phone plan with Verizon Wireless to a $25 monthly plan with Republic Wireless. He was also able to resell his old phone for $250.
  • I’m looking at all of this cost cutting as frugality boot camp. Once the loans are paid off, we fully intend on investing this extra income, along with the 19% we already put into our 401ks.
  • I participated in two SPIFFS at work. One was competing for the latest model Apple iPad, and the other was for $2000 after tax.
  • I won both because my billable hours were ridiculously high for the past two weeks.
  • My husband posted the iPad (including keyboard, bag and cover) for sale on our neighborhood Facebook site, and we made almost $700.
  • The good news is my boss is planning on keeping weekly SPIFFS continuing till the end of Q4. I KNOW I can win more of these competitions ;o)
Side Consulting:
  • I’m still consulting on Upwork on the side. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve learned a ton about how to juggle hourly clients with the demands of full-time, high-travel job. It’s still challenging because the Upwork clients seem to demand almost instant responses, which is often impossible to do.
  • That said, no one’s fired me yet. I have 4 side gigs going for several hours each per week.
  • My rate is decently high. In the last 2 weeks, I made 1,800.
Restricted Stock Units (I love these):
  • This one is HUGE toward reaching my goal of getting my debt down to 60k by the end of the year.
  • A nice chunk of my company RSU’s finally vested last week! As soon as I found out that the after tax payment hit my account, I applied the cash directly to my highest rate student loans.
  • On top of that, we are now all competing in my department for a 10k (after tax) chunk of RSU’s to be instantly awarded and vested at the end of October.
  • In order to win this, I’m taking on a ton of extra hours at work to make sure my billable hours remain the highest. Pretty sure I have a shot at winning this one too if I try hard enough.
Virtual Yard Sale:
  • We are on a MISSION to clean house and get rid of any item we don’t really need, and use the extra cash to pay down debt.
  • It’s actually sad seeing how much stuff we have that we have no problem selling. I totally feel guilty that we even bought some of this stuff in the first place. Note to self – don’t buy junk ever again that you don’t need or want! #facepalm
  • I made about 750 in the last two weeks, but the husband has been killing it with his sales. The biggest ticket items he sold were a guitar and professional quality sound system, both of which he got as a gift from his dad years ago. His dad actually helped him resell them for about 6k.
  • He’s sold a lot of electronics, DVD’s, books, an extra Xbox and Wii has parents gave him for Christmas, and other stuff for a solid chunk of change too. In total, we made close to 8k in sales.
  • The curmudgeon himself has made it very difficult for us to profit from Airbnb rentals ;o)
  • I was hoping we could ramp renting up to 3-4 nights a week. We live close to Vegas, and we would easily book the extra nights quickly.
  • Ultimately, I lost the Airbnb tug of war, and we now just rent out a room upstairs for one night per week. We only made 400 in the last two weeks :o(
  • He said he’d do more nights if I REALLY wanted, but I feel bad because he truly doesn’t like having strangers in the house, no matter how carefully and selectively we screen the renters. Plus, I’m away for work a lot which makes it worse. The extra money is not worth it if he’s uncomfortable half the week.
  • Once we pay off all of our debt, I’ll look into getting a separate rental unit to Airbnb permanently, because demand is high in our area.

Overall, I think we did great on our debt payoff the last two weeks! This amount of progress is of course an exception given that a huge chunk of my RSU’s vested.

I’m 100% committed to getting down to 60k by the end of the year. This would be a massive achievement for both of us.

Like most of us, I’m pretty crunched for time. I’m still looking, though, for other side hustles so I can accelerate the loan payoff schedule even more.

If anyone has solid suggestions of remote side hustles, I would LOVE to hear ideas and how you made it work!



10 thoughts on “Bi-weekly Student Loan Payoff Update

  1. Congrats on the super progress, Ava! I’d love to hear more about your experience with Upwork. For some reason I had the impression that it was mostly for work that was priced very low, kind of a race-to-the-bottom scenario. I’ll be giving it a closer look now!

    1. It can be, depending on what type of work you’re looking for!

      I started on it over a month ago. In the first week, I only got messaged about extremely low paying work, and I almost deleted the account.

      I actually reached out to several people who were offering the same type of consulting work I was, but who were clearly doing much better.

      They gave me some pointers like a) always set a high rate and never compete on price, b) post your entire resume on the site (don’t summarize your experience at a high level, c) have at least 5 personal references to offer each client, d) set a wide range of available hours.

      It worked for me! I still get lowballed a lot but I just ignore those offers.

      Good luck!!

      1. I forgot to add – also make sure you link to a LinkedIn profile, if you have one setup.

        When you first start on Upwork, you won’t have any ratings on your work yet. Linking to your LI site will help build credibility.

  2. wow – great progress! very motivational to see what you can accomplish in such a short period of time. I came across your blog through the Budgets are Sexy article and your story is very inspirational. I look forward to following you in your journey!

  3. wow – it’s amazing what you can accomplish in such a short period of time when you are fully committed. I came across your story through Budgets are Sexy – very inspirational and I look forward to follow along in your journey.

Leave a Reply