Total compensation statements

I’m not sure if other employers do this, but mine issues total compensation statements annually to highlight my total compensation. This includes my pay for time worked, my paid time off (PTO), and all my benefits listed as a dollar value, including what I contribute toward my benefits out my checks (pre-tax) and what my employer contributes.

It’s a really cool way of thinking about what I make. I try not to let my salary define me, but I feel somewhat validated by what I get paid. I know my annual salary, and I think it’s quite generous for my position. I did not expect to get such a wonderful job straight out of graduate school, so I am grateful not only for the job, but that it exceeded my salary expectations significantly. I went into graduate school knowing that I’d have to make a specific dollar amount per hour post graduation to pay off my loans, and I got it and then some.

With all of the benefits listed, my total compensation is actually about $10K more than my annual salary. This is kind of incredible to see on paper, and I really appreciate it. I’m sure someone could determine these numbers for themselves by looking at their benefits packages and pay stubs, but it’s nice to have it all laid out.

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New strategy

I decided that, because the monthly lump debt snowball payment was becoming boring, I’d try a new strategy. With online student loan payments, it’s easy to set up additional payments in a few clicks, so I broke down the larger monthly sum into a weekly amount and set up 22 payments in addition to the regular monthly payments taken automatically.

I set them up to coincide with our paydays, which are conveniently on opposite weeks, so every week has a payday. It looks like this:

June 3 – $100
June 10 – $100
June 17 – $100
June 24 – $100
July 1 – $200
July 8 – $200

and so on until the whole thing is paid off. Each month’s payments are a bit different, since there are a few months where we get our ‘extra’ paychecks and we can pay more those months (26 checks/year means two ‘extra’ each year, and ours are always in different months, so we have four months with ‘extra’ paychecks that can go toward debt).

I’m hoping that this does two things:
1) Helps me to see the gradual change in our debt totals each week as I log into Mint.com
2) Keeps on top of the interest and puts more toward the principal

The way that student loan payments are structured, part of the payment goes toward interest, but it seems like regardless of the payment being $100 or $1,000, the interest never really gets paid down to nothing. I’m curious what weekly payments will do to the interest.