I just put the very last car payment in the mail. It’s a liberating feeling, to own my car free and clear, while it still has some years left in it. The odometer has yet to hit 40K. She’s still in good shape, except for a dent courtesy of a drunk Diamond Rio fan, and a horribly crumpled front license plate, courtesy of a minor fender bender. Both are things that can be easily fixed, I just don’t know a good body shop.
Unfortunately, having the car paid off doesn’t free up any cash, due to the fact that I am a money nazi. And I’ve got another car payment and two student loans to worry about. Not to mention my ill-timed mortgage. My ill-timed interest only mortgage. My ill-timed, interest only, 100% financed mortgage. My ill-timed, interest only, 100% financed ARM mortgage that resets in another 3 years. I know, I know, what was I thinking? All I can say is, at the time, I didn’t foresee my house suddenly losing 15% of its value. And, well, I didn’t think I’d be in the house for longer than 5 years. Which, I likely will be, seeing as I’m not exactly gaining any equity …
So now comes the hard part – do I put all that extra money to the littlest loans to get them out of the way? Or toward the monster mortgage? Or do I attack the loan with the highest interest rate? Or do I just leave all the loans the way they are, making the required payments, and invest my money elsewhere, assuming I can get a return that’s larger than my highest interest rate? Also assuming that I can keep my grubby hands off that money long enough for it to grow into something besides ‘a fabulous trip to Italy!’
Before I decide what comes next, though, I think I’ll take my car for its first fully-owned spin around town.