OK, all done entering the information into the spreadsheet I was talking about.
Now I’m just trying to figure out if there are any anonymous donors out there willing to shell out a thousand dollars a month for three years to my family…
The spreadsheet asks for your bill paying budget to calculate how much extra you will apply to each debt to pay it down. If I had a total of $1,000 to spend on my debt (not the other bills, we need our paycheck for that!) then I could have it all paid off in under three years. Three years! That would be beautiful.
The program’s default value for the budget is $500, and if we went with that it would take us a little over six years to pay everything off.
As things are right now, if we don’t put any extra money to the debt at all, it will take us a little under ten years to pay everything off if we use the snowball technique described in the spreadsheet. Interestingly, by paying an additional fifty dollars toward our bills each month (which we might be able to do) we can pay it all off in about eight years, nearly two years faster than if we just pay what we’ve been paying (which is not the minimums on everything).
Of course, none of this takes into account changing interest rates, the impending financial crisis we will experience when our car dies, or any number of additional factors that can drastically change the payment schedule. A lot can happen in a year, and even more can happen in eight years. We hope to have all of our debt paid off in eight years, but we know that a lot of things that are out of our control could end up extending (or, perhaps, reducing) that time frame.
By all means, wish us luck, and if you happen to meet a ridiculously rich person who doesn’t know what to do with his (or her) surplus of income, send him (or her) my e-mail address. I’m sure we can work something out.