Versatile Blogger Award (and sigh, still no net worth!)

Ms. Mintly nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award.  I’ve been sent something similar before, but it was pretty early in my blogging life, and I didn’t have a whole lot of bloggers I had found to follow yet.  And I can totally think of seven random things about myself.  Right?

1.  I’ve known my hubby since I was 14. We’ve each volunteered at the same camp since we were freshmen in high school, but our interaction was limited to a few trainings.  I got to know him more when I was the lifeguard, and there the whole summer, instead of just my designated two weeks, but we were actually drawn together by our love of bar trivia.

2.  I don’t know what to call my husband.  We got legally married this year, and intend to have our celebration on the same day next year.  I’d say about half of my friends know we’re already married. I tend to call him my husband when I think people will think I’m more adult if they think I’m married.

3. I’m obsessed with grammar.  My blogging doesn’t always showcase this, particularly when I attempt to blog from my phone.  But when I see professional writing (including work emails) with grammar mistakes, it makes steam come out of my ears.

4.  I have many pet peeves. Does that make them not really pet peeves?  Examples of these include money being upside down, and not facing the same direction, and when my name is spelled wrong needlessly.  If someone has no reason to know how to spell my first name I can forgive it, but if you’re responding to an email I wrote which includes my name in the signature line (and included in my email address), then you should spell it correctly.  I’ll try to make my next few random facts less bitchy.

5. The first time I flew I was 22 years old. And turned 23 which I was on the trip.  I was terrified, but I’m completely okay with flying now.  I’m even hoping we can go to Hawaii for our honeymoon.

6. I have an ever expanding list of house to-dos.  This includes completely redoing the bathroom (which is covered in a fake wood paneling–including the ceiling), paving the driveway, and taking down a wall.  As obsessed as I am with HGTV, I have no idea how to do any of these things, or who to call.

7.  I hate wedding planning.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m trying to pay off debt, but I find it extremely stressful.  I think a lot of this is because I want to invite literally everyone I know, and every “Save Money on Your Wedding” blog I’ve read seems to be based on the theory of “don’t invite anyone.”  Bleh.  This is why I have a year to do things, I guess.

My nominations: I’m going to go through the list of blogs I follow, and find ones that I’ve particularly enjoyed reading lately:

1.  Legal Baggage – A fellow law school grad.  I feel that often, the grads working in “Big Law” are okay with the amount of debt they have, because they can make so much money at a firm, especially over time.  I’m happy to see a fellow lawyer who isn’t okay with having tons of debt, and is making big strides to pay it down.

2.  Boyfriend is a Banker – Because she’s working on paying off debt AND planning a wedding.  I’m not alone here!

3.  Sandy Versus the World – Because I love to see bloggers in the Northeast — it’s expensive here!


UG3! (I don’t have a net worth for you today!)

First:  reasons behind my lack of net worth tracking (it’s not just because the number is going up too slowly):  my refinancing has officially gone through.  Unfortunately, the refinancing was for over $700 more than it should have been.  The bank assured me that this would be sent back to them.  I’m not really confident on the timeliness of this happening and I’m not thrilled about paying interest on an extra $700 but it’s done now.  Don’t get me wrong, if I don’t get the money refunded to the bank by, say, Wednesday I’m going to flip my shit, but for now I’ll try to be zen.  Long story short:  Mint is really confused about the fact that I have a credit balance on a debt account, and is therefore accounting for it as a debt.  So there’s a $1400 incorrect swing in my current net worth calculation, per Mint. I also have a payment reflecting as paid in one account, but not in the other situation, so I’ll wait til that corrects itself, in lieu of doing the math myself.

On with the actual purpose of the post:

Today I received my extra paycheck for the month!  I get paid again on the 31st, which will be used for my first half of the month bills for November, so this paycheck is mostly for fun.  I’m going appliance shopping with my dad tomorrow.  He wanted to get us a housewarming gift and we decided on a washer.  Since it’s extra paycheck month (and what good is a washer without a dryer in the winter) I was thinking of buying the dryer to go with it.  He and my stepmom found some good deals on sets, and he said that if I paid $400 he’d pick up the rest for the set.  Sweet deal!  I’m also getting my hair done tomorrow, and we’re hopefully adopting a dog this month–though I think that may take longer than we were hoping.

I know that you’re thinking I’ve gone all crazy with the extra paycheck, and not used any of it for the greater good of debt repayment.  Fear not my friends!  I also made a $387 payment to close out UG3 today!  One of my favorite parts of the debt payoff thing is that I get a nice little letter (sometimes MONTHS) down the road, acknowledging that my loan is paid off.  I kinda want to frame those suckers.  This leaves two remaining undergraduate loans! Add to that two loans handled by another servicer, and my ONE federal loan — we’re now down to five loans, people.  From NINE.  My minimum payment on my undergraduate loans is now just under $100, from an original of $225. That means most months I’ll be putting an extra $125 on the next loan in line which is just shy of $3,100 right now.  I’m confident I can get that one paid off in the first quarter of next year (bonus and tax time)!  I might even be able to get the last one for $4,600.

Hope everyone has an equally exciting weekend!

Dream A Little Dream ($25,110)

My federal loan was paid off by the refinance, and I’ve yet to update Mint with the new account, so this is what my net worth currently looks like 😉 .

But really, I’m incredibly annoyed that between the time the bank cut the check and when it was cashed, I was being charged interest by BOTH loans. I have several angry calls into Citizens about this, and there will likely be more to follow.

Debt Progress – September/October 2014 ($95,596)+

I’m thinking I’ve been neglecting my Debt Progress posts in the last few months.  Then I realized I’ve only ever posted ONE of these bad boys. Well, tonight is the night we fix that!

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You see that magical $100,000 line!  That’s right, I’m below it!Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 9.31.30 PM

Now I only recently celebrated being under $100,000 in a blog post. That’s because the federal loan number that feeds into Mint doesn’t show interest, which could get to about $400 or something equally ridiculous each month, so I was really see-sawing above and below the $100K mark.  But now I’d say we’re under for good.  Debt also includes whatever credit card balance I had at the time, which I pay off every two weeks or so. THAT SHOULDN’T COUNT MINT!*

I’ve realized I can do a bar graph of my individual loan balances against the same time last year. Once I figure out an efficient way to hide account number information I’ll probably add those in to these posts. I can see a couple thousand dollars of progress in some individual loans, as well as seeing $0 where there used to be balances.

As promised in previous posts this and last month, my Federal loans are getting refinanced today (and it does look like my $200 payment went through before my refinance loan was disbursed), so hopefully in the next few months I’ll be able to see further reductions (from paying basically the same amount).

Lastly, we’ve been putting all of our collected rent money into a separate account which I have not fed into Mint. This is intended to be a bit of a house buffer fund.  We’re going to use a chunk of what we have so far for a project we knew we’d need to do when we bought the house, which I expect will happen this month.  Then we’ll probably put in the rent checks from this month (due on the 15th), November and December into the account.  After that, we will probably put this money toward my student loans–at least until we have to use some of the money for house things and need to replenish it again.

* Sorry about that mini-tantrum.
+ I had a small freak out about my net worth being -95. I think this is because a $750 credit card payment is reflecting as out of my bank account, but hasn’t reflected as paid on the credit card yet. It should really be in the high 94s, which is more tolerable, though still not great.

September Budget Recap ($94,562)

Let me tell you…I did pretty damn great through 90% of September.  Then it all went to shit.  But I did say I would try to get back into posting more, so here I am, the Prodigal Blogger, returning home to confess my sins.

I’ve said it before–so sorry for sounding like a broken record–but I HATE that my budget tracker doesn’t account for the fact that certain bills are paid at certain times of the month.  I’ve spent about 2/3 of my October budget, and it’s currently the 8th.  But I’ve also received my two planned for paychecks for the month, and I’m anxious to reduce my principal as soon into the month as possible.  Pretty much the only month bills I haven’t paid yet are automatic payments that I can’t change.

Anyway, a digression, per usual.  September Budget!

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These are the categories where I went over budget.

Food:  There are two reasons why this is over budget.  Reason #1:  I just noticed a Cumberland Farms purchase for $27 in here.  This is likely for gas, and not for groceries, though I have been known to buy the occasional milk and eggs at Cumby’s which is how I’m guessing it got miscategorized.  I’ve been seeing a bit of funky stuff with the categorization lately.  Reason #2:  $97 at a restaurant in NY, when we went to go visit my sister- and brother-in-law.  We stayed at their house and ate their food, so I thought it would be appropriate to thank them by buying dinner. No regrets.

The Fast Food Part: This is largely buying snacks and/or chocolate milk at the cafeteria at work.  I need to work on this.  I have this budget for lunches at work, but it’s intended to only cover meeting a friend for lunch, and not being too lazy to pack my lunch.*

Utilities:  Real talk: I have no idea how much utilities cost.  I haven’t had to pay them in two and a half years, and when I did have to pay them, I didn’t have to pay for things like a water bill or the sewage commission.  Whatever those things are.  So those are less expected for me. I’ve since adjusted this category up to a more realistic $200.  My cable and internet bill, as well as my cell phone, are not included in this category. Yes, in addition to Netflix, I also pay for cable.  I blame the Bruins on this one.  Bad personal finance blogger.  Bad.

But anyway, in getting internet, we had to get the compatible cable modem thing (I have no idea if it’s a modem or router or what?).  We could rent it for $10 a month, or pay around $100 for it.  Seeing as we signed up for a two year contract, buying it outright seemed the way to go.  So that gets put on our bill in three installments, the last of which is this month.  So my cable bill should go down slightly next month to partially counteract the rest of my expensive utilities.

Entertainment:  This is the usual Netflix $8, and I bought tickets to a show that a friend from school is performing in.  I bought the tickets for the four of us, so I should actually get $75-100 of this back.

Everything Else:  I feel like this should be further broken down someone, but here are the biggies:

$86 – bought flowers for the ladies I used to live with (which I’m not positive they even knew were from me as I got no acknowledgment that I sent them. Kinda really annoying).

$376 – wedding dress.  This shouldn’t count, because I transferred money over, and didn’t take it out of the money I made during the month. But I still spent it.  Bonus:  I had some kind of PayPal balance that covered $15 of the dress. Thanks mystery shopping!

$78 – paint from Sherwin Williams and some screws from Lowe’s — to put on my new license plate.

$23 – said new license plate/DMV fees.

I also took about $100 out of the ATM this month.  Most of which is actually still in my purse.  Some of my coworkers took me out to lunch the day before the man and I made things legal.  I brought money with me so I could at least offer to buy my own lunch–but the company did so I didn’t even need to offer/feel bad that my coworkers were buying me lunch.

Those are the biggies. There’s also $20 here or there (CVS, HomeGoods), but I’ve yet to buy anything too outlandish shopping-wise.

Looking forward (to now?) October is a weird month because I get an extra paycheck. So this will mean an extra loan payment or two, and possibly a puppy, which will mean adoption fees and probably some pretty big vet bills (particular if the lady we get is too young to be spayed already), but the extra check means I’m ready for it.  It will just look like I spent stupid amounts this month.  I also have to pay bar fees and get my hair did.

That’s all I have for this evening, but I really like re-capping, because it forces me to see the mistakes I made in the prior month, in the hopes that I won’t immediately repeat them (and, more so recently, it helps me see that I’m being unrealistic about some things).  I’ll look to post a debt progress update in the next few days.


* Sometimes this actually means not having lunch food in the house.  Laziness does not come into play too often anymore as the man usually makes my lunch for me in the morning.  🙂

Asterisks ($94,194)

I have an event saved in my iPhone calendar this month, that consists solely of ******.  I think this was intended to be my payoff date for all of my undergraduate loans.  This would have been in addition to paying an extra $500 on my highest interest loans (the federal loans).  But alas, leaving the second job and the resultant moving/buying a house have resulted in other plans.

BUT that doesn’t mean I haven’t made some progress.  I input another $200 payment to my federal loans which hopefully will go through today/before my payoff loan is disbursed.  Essentially I didn’t want the interest I currently have on the loans to get capitalized in, but I’m not sure if my attempted payment will get in first.  AND the balance on UG3 is about $300, which I can definitely pay off with the additional paycheck this month.

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I’ve apparently been tracking the amount of interest paid for a while — it does not seem like long ago that I figured out a way to set that up, but I guess time flies when you’re having fun.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 9.36.39 PMThe numbers don’t seem to have changed all that much since January — either around $475 or $520, and I think the fluctuation really has more to do with the day of the month I made a payment (or number of days in the month), than a real change.  Next month however (or actually, maybe this month) I’m expecting my interest payment to be closer to low $400s.  I’ll take the extra $75 a month towards principal, thankyouverymuch.

I’ve been seriously slacking on the posting. Blame the fact that I no longer live alone.  But I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things in the next few weeks, with budget posts (ummm I’m bad at sticking to the budget), goals for the rest of the year and for next year, and getting back into posting monthly recaps.  I’m also hoping to give an idea of what I think my “true” net worth is — accounting for the house/mortgage, 401(k), HSA and house savings.  To be continued.