Well, the day has finally arrived: I paid off my horrible car loan! I had no idea what I was getting into when I got that loan, and honestly my naivety (stupidity) was quite shocking.
I've talked about the horrible interest rate and how somehow the math really doesn't add up, but I don't think that I have ever mentioned the circumstances leading up to this purchase. My old car (Old Red - a 1993 Maxima) was dying, and I needed a car that would be more reliable. We picked out a 2004 Maxima (in 2006) and everything seemed to be going well until we met with the lending department. I thought I had good credit - and I did - but it was only from credit cards. This wasn't enough to get me a good loan. But seriously, it's not like I would have even known what a good loan was - I did absolutely NO RESEARCH; all I cared about was whether I would be able to pay the bill every month. The stupidity also stems from the fact that despite the fact that I miraculously always paid bills on time in the full amount, I barely had a job. I worked at a store making $7.50 an hour and worked about 20 hours a week.
So, my husband (then fiance) co-signed the loan with me, and we got approved for a loan that was on the "second page," as the loan officer told us. Thus came our 20k loan with 8.93% interest.
The payment was $429 a month! In the beginning it was really difficult, but somehow the loan always got paid. I remember I tried to pay a little bit extra to hopefully get the loan down, and month after month, I was disheartened to find that the amount barely went down at all. Thankfully I got a job six months later where I was making mad cash (for a teacher anyway) and I felt more in control.
Last July, the loan was at about 15k when we decided that it had to go. So since then I have been paying at least $1000 a month - plus last years tax return and a bit from savings. But now, it has all finally paid off and it's DONE.
This frees up about $1000 every month! The plan now is to SAVE SAVE SAVE until we feel a little bit more comfortable, and then we are going to try to kill my husband's student loans.