Can We Pay Off $70,000 in 36 Months?

I was playing around with my trusty calculator last night to see where our debt stood. As of this month we owe a bit over $80,000 ($80,400). While this number seems impossibly large can we please remember that just two years ago our debt was closer to $109,000 (highest non-mortgage debt close to 139k). Since starting this blog, we’ve paid off $29,000 in principle debt, most of which was paid down in the last 15 months since my return to work full-time after my year long maternity leave.

While $29,000 is a decent accomplishment for 24 months by anyone’s standards, I’d like to attempt to kill $70,000 (of the remaining $80,000) in 36 months.

Why not worry about the other $10,000?…

The last debt that we’ll be paying off is my nationally issued student loan. A loan I currently make interest-only payments on and a loan which I can claim the interest paid as a tax deduction. Once the other $70,000 is paid off it will only take about five more months to pay this 10k loan off and again, all interest paid is a tax deduction where all other debt is not.

My Plan:

  • Pay off 0% interest loan first: $13,064 to be paid off in 12 months= $1088/month while making minimum required payments on all other debts. Total monthly debt total required: $2,064.
  • Come October 2015, 0% loan will be paid off and in following 24 months pay off remaining debt which includes student lines of credit and vehicle. I choose to pay the balance of the vehicle next for a few reasons. One, I like the idea of the vehicle being paid off in case something happens to it. Two, our auto insurance will likely decrease with paid off vehicle and three, it’s the largest single debt payment per month with a large portion going towards principle allowing us to pay it down quickly by snowballing out previous debt payments.
  • From Nov 2015- June 2016 (kiddo’s 4th bday!) pay off vehicle balance of what will be $13,200 (payment required $1,650/month)
  • From July 2016- Dec 2016 pay off two of three student lines of credit. Balance between the two will be about $9,800 (payment required $1735/month)
  • From December 2016-November 2017 (final payment the 1st of the month) pay off remaining $23,000 student line of credit (payment required $2,010/month).
  • December 2017 debt remaining (national student loan): 10,376 which will only take 5-6 months to pay off.

I have to be honest this is my ”life happens” plan. I’m fairly confident we should be able to do this. The evening out of some months being great and others not so great should make this plan possible. Though I am hopeful we can be done earlier than projected, I have to remember that it takes $2,000 extra just to knock off one month of this plan so realistically this is the plan that we’ll execute within a month or two.

Finally, if you are looking for a good resource on paying off your debts, consider getting a copy of Dave Ramseys The Total Money Makeover. I don’t use Dave’s snowball or avalanche payoff strategies, but millions of people have found his books useful.

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  1. Sounds like you have a great plan. Best of luck executing!

    This did feel a little bit like cheating on my goal of not run the numbers. You ran all the numbers!

  2. I’m impressed. I just found your blog and I am now motivated to give our budget a re-look to see if we can increase the savings and decrease the spending ( again) 😉

  3. That is super ambitious, but it sounds like you’ve done all your homework and are ready to do this! When we had a lot of consumer debt (in addition to our student loans), I did the same thing you did, and it really helped me see the results to keep me motivated. (Now we’re just working on student loan debt and saving, and it’s not as quick, which can be discouraging.) This looks amazing – good luck!

  4. That’s a good plan, but why don’t you pay off your vehicle first (assuming you’re paying interest) and then pay off the 0% loan. You’ll save money by doing it this way. I understand that you want to do the snowball method, but the balances are so closed together that it won’t make a difference and you’ll potentially pay less in interest in the long run.

    Either way, good plan and good luck!

  5. I love seeing your entire plan all mapped out – thank you for sharing it with us! And I think it’s really smart that it’s a “life happens” plan. It’s too easy to get gung-ho and want to go all in, but the wiggle room is important and makes it that much more achievable. I can’t wait to see where you’re at in Dec 2017! 😀

  6. I’m just curious as to why you’re paying off the 0% interest first? I’m sure you’ve thought it through; but I’m going to assume there’s interest accruing on your vehicle and SLOC… wouldn’t it save you money in the long run if you paid down those with interest first rather than your loan which is charging you 0% interest?

    Your financial journey has been inspirational… looking forward to reading about your progress and Dec2017 payoff date!

  7. Very ambitious, but I know you’re extremely focused and want to get out of this debt, I know you’ll do it! 🙂

  8. that is ambitious and admirable! I’m with other commenters though and wondering why you would pay the 0% off first, before the vehicle?

    • Sorry I should have clarified that. There is a 24mo period after our 0% loan is paid off that the flaw remains on our credit report thus the faster we pay it off, faster it goes away.

  9. Wow, that is such an ambitious goal, but you’ve clearly thought it through very carefully and I’m sure you’ll succeed. I can’t wait to see you reach your target.

  10. Nice plan of attack. I like how you chunk-ed it out. Good Luck with this debt repayment… it looks doable how its listed.

  11. Best of luck. Once you start snowballing, it gets better and better. I’m sure you can do it. I bet even quicker than planned.

  12. I think the hardest part about debt repayment is creating a realistic plan. It’s one thing to spout numbers, but another to spout realistic numbers. I think that yours look achievable and it’s a great “reach” goal that you should challenge yourself to achieve. You have come far already, and this number will probably be good motivation to hit it faster.

  13. I really love your plan and how determined you are to kick debt’s behind 🙂

    By setting up such a great plan you’ll clearly work very hard to achieve it and not let years pass by trying to take it ‘easy’. Keep us posted on your progress, would really love seeing your plan come to life.

  14. This is ambitious, but I think you have a nice plan. That’s half the battle! We’re rooting for you! You can do it!

  15. Catherine, sounds like you’ve thought this out well!!! You can do it, my friend. Keep up the great work!

  16. Wishing you the best of luck with executing your plan! It’s really well thought out.

  17. What a fantastic goal! Good luck! Looking forward to the updates!

  18. Sounds like a good plan! Can’t wait to see it put into action 🙂


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