Debt Report – April 2015

- - Debt Reports

What are Debt Reports?

Hello! If you’re new to my blog, I write a detailed report each month of how much debt I’ve been able to pay off. I show you exactly how much each loan balance has gone down and where my total debt stands. I do this to give you a real life example of how you can go about paying off your debts, and show you that it is possible and you’re not alone.

This is all here to help you see my progress, good and bad. There are a lot of generic plans out there that may work, but they never really break down exactly what is being done in real time. Here are all of the previous debt reports if you’re interested in seeing them,

After all of the research I’ve done, I can tell you that I am definitely one of the people who learns by seeing examples, not just by hearing generic directions that then leave you hanging to figure out the rest. So I wanted to give people the option of seeing a genuine example of how a regular 26 year old is getting their act together. 

You can download my free template to create your own Debt Report. 

Thanks for showing up here to check out my wins – and losses. Here goes!  


The Numbers, plain and simple.

Student Loan @ 6.5% interest – $0 (-$2,393.52)       >SO LONG! 🙂

Student Loan @ 3.0% interest – $36,609.94 (-$527.68)

Car Loan @ 2.99% interest – $2,063.35 (-$186.20)

Sears Loan @ 0% interest – $924.75 (-$53.00)

Furniture Loan @ 0% interest – $4,479.56 (-$132.31)

That means that this month I paid off $3,292.71 & my total debt is now $44,077.60! This was the most I’ve ever been able to pay in one month!

How did I have the extra money to do this? 

I received an annual bonus from my job and a pretty sizable tax return. I was able to put most of that extra money towards my higher interest loan (the one I’m attacking). Once that was paid in full (WOOHOO!!), I put the other money towards my next student loan. 


Progress Since the Beginning of Bright Cents

april debt report

The site has officially been up for more than a year. And I’ve crossed the $18,000 mark! I was so excited I even had to draw that ugly arrow on the chart so you didn’t miss that number. :) $18,908 paid off in 13 months. Woohoo!


Moving Forward

mohela paid off

My federal loan is paid off!!! 🙂 I’m so happy to only have to deal with one more student loan company! Granted, it is the one I have to call to re-distribute my loan payments, but it’s only one!

Here is what I have left:

south carolina student loan

I plan on paying off the smallest balance first with these remaining loans. They all have the same interest rate, and I could technically just throw money at them as a whole, but I want to get rid of them one by one. This will reduce my minimum payment each month, so if something did happen I wouldn’t have to worry about four separate loans, I could just worry about a couple (hopefully none).

There really probably isn’t a difference with doing it this way vs. putting some of my additional payments towards each loan, but this will help my mental excitement and create checkpoints along the way. 

I contemplated not putting any extra money towards these loans, and just paying the minimum so I could increase my investments. Typically, the stock market average return is about 8%, so it seems like a no-brainer, right? Just pay the minimum on the student loans, and earn more money in the market. Well, those “V”s in the image above mean I have variable interest rates. So, as interest rates rise, so will my student loan interest rate. That scares me….a lot. For my mental sanity, I’m going to continue to pay extra on my loans and push off the heavy investing a little bit.

I will increase some of my investments (I will detail this in a later blog post), but want to continue to get rid of these loans at the same time.

ICYMI – In Case You Missed It

In case you’ve missed them, here are the stories that went live on Bright Cents this month:

Realizing you are going to be in debt for the next 25 years is an extremely scary feeling. It’s like your whole world comes crashing down and all of your dreams are instantly shattered– all the fun in life is gone.

That’s how I felt when I found out the situation I was facing – a 25-year sentence in student loan prison.


I’ve been getting some questions lately about whether or not the 0.25% interest rate deduction some student loan companies offer when you sign up for automatic payments is worth it. I’m sure there are more of you with the same question, so here it is.


I was honored to be able to interview Certified Financial Planner, Carl Richards, in April. He just wrote a new book (that I really enjoyed) called “The One-Page Financial Plan.” I was able to give away two copies of that as well to readers (winners will be announced soon!).

Here is the interview with Carl Richards.

Here is where you can read my review of the book.

And here is where you can get the book for yourself!



The topic of banking automation is one where the debate is pretty rough. On one side there are people who say never do this because you lose track of your current situation. On the other side, there are people who say that banking shouldn’t be difficult – that you should automate everything. Which side are you on?


If you have any questions about creating your own debt report, please feel free to contact me. Otherwise, I’ve set up a system to make it easy for you to create your own, so you can stop looking in the rearview mirror and start moving forward. 

>> Download my free template to create your own Debt Report.
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I am Chenell Tull and so far, I've had a pretty rough time with my student loan debt. Recently, I've figured out a more productive "get out of debt" plan and the goal is to pay off over $60k in just 36 months. If you want to learn more, subscribe to the mailing list and get FREE updates on my successes and failures on this journey out of debt. 

  • Amy

    That’s fantastic, congratulations!! I like your plan, and variable interest rates scare me, too.

    • Thanks, Amy! I know it’s totally unrealistic, but I have scary thoughts sometimes that I’ll wake up one day and my loan rate will be 30%. Talk about the amount of regret I’d have then! haha. Apparently I’m not a good gambler.

  • Congratulations on getting rid of one of your student loan debts. I’d agree that re-allocating that money back into investments is a much smarter move than trying to pay down your other loans. Since they are at such a low interest rate, you’d make more money in the long run by investing instead.

    • Hey DJ! I appreciate you stopping by, and for the congratulations note. I am really torn between the investing vs paying down the loans sides of the coin. While the interest is really low now, I don’t want to just pay the minimum and let it ride for the next 10 years or so, because of the variable rate. I doubt it will go sky high, but who knows. That’s why I’m stuck in the middle. Maybe I can throw my extra money into a non-retirement account and then just grab it out if the interest rates start to rise. It’s a tough call 🙂