I have about $13,000 in private student loans that I took out nearly 10 years ago before I knew better. To make a long story short, I graduated about 1.5 years ago and began paying these loans. All of these loans have about a 9.5% interest rate, and although I have a good job with lots of possibilities in my future, my salary is ~55k before taxes. I also have some federal student loans, but all of them are between 3-5% interest so I believe it makes the most sense to pay only the minimum and direct the majority of my money towards the high-interest private loans.
Currently, I have about $5k in savings. What is my best approach for getting rid of this high interest loan? My take home is roughly 3200 a month, and about 2600 of it is accounted for right away between my loans, rent, groceries, and auto-related payments (I own my car but this accounts for gas, insurance, and repairs per month averaged across the year). I can trim some fat on groceries and entertainment (currently my budget for groceries is ~600/month, plus another $200 on dining out) and my entertainment budget was in the range of 500. It would be difficult to cut either of these down by more than 33%.
So, what should I do? I have my sights set on making a significant amount more of money 2-3 years down the road (the average salary for my role is in the range of 80k, I would like at least one more year of experience in my current position) and I think there is a solid chance that I will be able to make >100k do to some sweat equity investments. How much will I save by directing the money I've been putting in to savings during 2016 (again, roughly 5k) to pay off the private loans? Would it be safe to dump all my savings into the high interest loan and rely on a credit card (currently carrying 0 balance, limit of 5k) for emergencies?