Debt Elimination

An alpha version is ready of the debt reduction calculator is ready. We will be adding features as the feedback rolls in, so feel free to check it out and leave some suggestions by clicking the “Feedback” tab. The calculator does the following: Display a chart of your debt and the interest paid Identify your debt payoff milestones and your debt freedom date Allow you to add any number of debts Allow you to reorder the debts starting with the lowest balance(debt snowball), highest balance, highest interest rate, or any order you want. You can compare the payoff dates and […]

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Going To A 15 Year Fixed Mortgage

by Ed on September 6, 2010

 With mortgage interest rates at amazing lows, I (Ed) figured now is the time for 15 year fixed rate refinance: I have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage with about 23 years and ~$156,000 left. With the 15 year fixed rate mortgages at about 3.7%, I have started to look into a refinance. My current mortgage 30 fixed Interest rate 5.875% Amount left $156,000 Years left 23 Monthly payment (principle & interest) $1010 Taxes 5k per year Total monthly payment (with PMI) $1,553 New mortgage 15 fixed Interest rate 3.875% Amount left $159,000 ($3000 for fees) Years left 15 […]

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Into Debt And Out Again – Overcoming $40,000 Of Debt

by The Happy Rock on May 20, 2010

The following is a guest post by a dear friend and colleague Ed who is just months away from finally getting out from under $40,000+ in debt. Give him a warm welcome in the comments or a shout on twitter(@ed_bruner): The First Step Into Chains When my wife and I got married, we were debt free with money in the bank (minus my student loans…which I wasn’t even thinking about). When she got pregnant, we decided it was time to buy a house. The year was 2001. The Housing bubble in NJ was already ballooning. We had difficulty finding anything […]

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DD’s Annual Debt Checkup

by Debt Destroyer on January 21, 2010

Tonight at dinner I told me wife that we were down to only $3500 left on her student loan. She gave a chuckle and said that she has forgotten almost everything she learned in college.  I told her that was alright since the stuff she did remember was probably out of date anyway. I figured it being January and all that it was time I gave a look to see how we are sitting debt-wise.  Last January when I did this we still had $99,625 in debt. This was comprised of: $94,274 – Mortgage $5,350  – Student Loan As of […]

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Debt is a prison and you don’t get out of jail until your creditors are paid off.  Even if you don’t feel like you are in prison debt still narrows your range of choices and options.  You may be just to distracted with the shiny things you bought or by the stress of just making it each month that you might not even be able to visualize what life is like without debt. I will tell you first hand, being out of debt is awesome.  We have so many more options as a family it is so energizing and even […]

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Should I Cash My Savings Bonds?

by The Happy Rock on May 11, 2009

Short answer = Yes. Let’s start with the basics first though. A US savings bond is note representing a US government debt. The government agrees to pay back the money you give them in exchange for interest paid to the bondholder when you redeem the bond. Currently in 2009 the savings bond rates are 0.70% and 0.00% for EE and I bonds respectively, so that makes them terrible investments right now. Know that you know what you are dealing with, take them to the bank and get the bond value plus their accrued interest. There are a few things to […]

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Paying Off Credit Cards With The Credit Card Snowball

by The Happy Rock on April 8, 2009

This is a guest post by Trisha Wagner.  Trisha is a freelance writer for, where you can compare rates from dozens of banks in one place. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of personal finance and saving money. Credit card debt is among the hardest debt to pay off once you have accumulated it. Not only are the interest rates pretty high, but most people use their cards regularly, which means they add to the balance just as fast (or faster!) than they make payments on them. If you make a payment late or charge more than your available […]

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I’ve talked the talk, but have I walked the walk?

by Debt Destroyer on January 13, 2009

With a name like “Debt Destroyer” it’s kinda implied that I’m spending my waking hours destroying debt.  I wish that was the case.  But I have to admit that I spend much more time watching “Arrested Development” on DVD, than I do destroying debt. But before I declare myself a fraud, I thought I’d take a second to check if my six months here at The Happy Rock has lowered my debt. Back in July of 2008 we owed: $95,108 – Mortgage $11,843 – Car Loan $6,130 – Student Loan For a total of $113,081* *I originally included a credit card balance […]

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As Long As You Can Make The Payments – You’re Fine

by The Happy Rock on January 8, 2009

“I can pay all my bills each month, I am doing well.” In a world of leased BMWs, credit cards galore, no interest credit offers, and high standards of living, what does it really mean to ‘live within your means’? We all might have our own definition, but I wanted lay out what I think it means and see what others think. The prevailing definition seems to be living on less than you make.  Living within your means is much more than just being able to meet your bills each month.   What type of bills you have matters immensely.    If […]

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Student Debt…How Much is Too Much?

by Debt Destroyer on December 10, 2008

According to the local public radio station, South Dakota students carry the highest debt load in the nation.  I was shocked to hear this for a couple of reasons: South Dakota Universities (public ones) are very affordable. For example, I’m currently enrolled in 17 credits (6 graduate, 11 undergrad) and tuition & books totaled slightly less than $4000. South Dakota incomes aren’t that high. So if these students are going deep in debt only to get a low paying job, they are setting themselves up for disappointment. Perhaps because of #2 above, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that students are […]

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