From Lindsey Hough, managing editor, the Wealth Builders Club:
One of my student loan payments has an outstanding balance of $4,596.62. With an interest rate of 6.55%, my monthly minimum payment is $67.33.
I plugged the numbers into a loan payoff calculator. Under my current, minimum-only payment plan, it would it will take me 86 months, or 7.2 years, to pay off the remaining balance.
Now let’s say I make one daily change: I stop buying coffee on mornings I work. Instead, I drink the free coffee in my office kitchen. Or brew my own coffee at home and bring it in. Ending my “Starbucks habit” will save me about $50 per month.
Take a look at the following chart. It shows what would happen if I put that $50 coffee money toward my loan payment.
Now I am able to pay $117.33 every month. And instead of taking 7.2 years to pay off my loan, it would take me 45 months, or 3.8 years.
Increasing my loan payment by $50 extra each month would reduce the duration of my loan by 3.4 years. At that point, I would have a whole $117.33 freed up. I could do whatever I want with it! (Hint: I’m rolling it into another debt payment.)
That’s not even the real kicker. Next, I looked at the total interest I’d pay under both plans.
If I just kept paying the minimum required on this loan, at 6.55% I’d pay a total of $1,170 in interest—almost 27% on top of the current principal balance.
But if I redirected my $50 in morning coffees to boost my monthly loan payment, I’d pay only $589 in interest!
Bottom line: Paying $50 extra each month would nearly halve the amount of total interest I’d pay. I would save $581 in interest payments… and shave 3.4 years off my payment plan. All from a tiny shift I’d make to drinking free coffee at work instead of buying it at a café.
All current Wealth Builders Club members can click here to read this full “Debt and Credit Solutions” article.