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Pay Down Debt First, or Keep Savings Intact?

My mother has offered to give us a small amount of money, which we can either use to pay down most of our debt, or we can put into a savings account, and then pay down the debt over time.

My wife and I have been debating which is the better course of action. After playing around in Excel, I decided to write a script to help us resolve this issue. See

I also gave this problem (with the actual numbers my wife and I are looking at) to my 12th grade students as part of our review for their IB exams in May. One student's reaction, "This is a real problem? Really? Wow."


*Disclaimer: The script in question is a work in progress, it may contain bugs, and should not be relied upon to do any actual financial planning.


About David

David is a Formative Assessment Specialist for Mathematics at New Visions for Public Schools in NYC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, Bangkok, and Vancouver before moving back to the United States. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.


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