Yesterday, I paid off another low-payment loan – it was one part of the loans for the solar panels. This is good, it frees up $150 a month to go toward the 0% credit cards we have. I am overjoyed to be rid of it, even though our monthly budget does not change at all, this does not provide relief because the payments just shift elsewhere. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, another bill with a checkmark next to it, one less thing on my spreadsheet to be worried about.
To be worried about, while I’m on the topic: student loan repayments. I just had to reapply for my income-based repayment plan, and I sent in the paperwork this morning. I have to reapply each year, and as long as I stay with this employer and with this payment plan, the loans should be forgiven in another 3.5 or so years. I know, I know, it’s not guaranteed but neither are the stock market returns or real estate investments, and because I recertify that I have completed a certain amount of payments correctly each year, I feel fairly confident that when I hit 120 payments, there won’t be trouble. The current trouble that people are facing with forgiveness stems mostly from payments not counting – but I have mine evaluated each year to make sure they count. So, I’m exercising my faith on this one.
At any rate, I had to reapply, and I’m certain that our payments are going to jump. I certify in October using the previous year’s tax return, and in the tax return from 2017 (which I used to certify last year), my freelance income hadn’t taken off yet. I think I made something like $12,000 that year, and last year, I made close to $50,000. Plus my husband and I have both had raises since then.
I should take the attitude that I’m making more money so I can afford more payments, but our budget is pretty tight with our extra debt repayments for other things (home improvement, solar panels, consumer debt), so I’ll have to rejigger things again if the payments go up by a lot. I’m hoping they don’t go up by too much.
I wish we could claim my mother-in-law as a dependent – she is, actually, a dependent – but we are paying her to watch our kids so that she can pay taxes and have enough social security credits to retire and get health care when she’s 65. She has a job now, so we could pay her less, but that job will end up paying her maybe $3000 over the course of the year, so we’re still on the hook if we want to keep her credits up. And we can’t claim her as a dependent if we are doing that.
So, my intention for this post was “look, I paid off a bill!” and instead it’s “look, a pit in my stomach!” I hope that it doesn’t jump much, and that we can absorb it if it does. Another day, another dollar.