Milestone Month ($78,668)

July has been a much better month financially than June.  Notsomuch because I haven’t been spending (I definitely have been), but because I hit some payoff milestones.

With our rent check this month, I paid off the last of my undergraduate loans!  Look how beautiful!

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It only took me ten years…but that’s ten years with a three year, interest accruing break.

In another milestone, I made my usual payment to my “law school” loans today, and my balance is now 2/3 of the original principal.  I’m not sure at what point I would have gotten to this point with just my minimums, but I haven’t historically put much more than the minimums on these.  Mostly I round up my $286 payment to $300, almost always applying the extra to the smallest loan.  I’d say doing this has gotten me 1/3 of the way paid at least a couple of months earlier than I otherwise would have gotten there.  Every little bit helps. [Edit — I think I’m about four months ahead of myself, from paying about $14 extra most months]

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Now that my undergrad loans are gone, I’ll be concentrating my extra payment on the smaller of these two loans (currently about $5,600).  The bad thing about these loans is that making my payments isn’t always easy to administer.  If I don’t want to get charged a processing fee, I have to schedule the payment ahead of time, for one of four days in the month (something like the 5th, 15th, 20th or 30th?).  I originally was scheduling the payment to be toward the end of the month, but now I make it on the 15th (due the follows 1st, I think).  Unfortunately, rent payments go into a different bank account than I usually pay these from, so in months I’m making two payments, I’ll have to update the bank account info for the extra payment, then change it back ASAP so I don’t forget for the next regular payment.  There’s no way to store two sets of payment info, as far as I can tell.

In most months where I’m not making an extra payment, my monthly payment for these two loans should be $550, about $191 of which is the minimum payment for the larger loan.  This means $359 will be paid on smaller one ($1,059 when I’m making an extra rent payment), with about $330 initially going to principal each month.  If hubby is working in the fall, I’m hoping we’ll get this small one paid off my the end of the year.  If not, I’d expect to be done with it by the end of March.

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Best Tax Bill Ever ($80,817)

Who gets excited to get their tax bill? The answer:  this girl.  

Last year we paid about $3,600 in property taxes on our house.  We purchased right around this time last year, and therefore missed the cutoff for getting the live-in exemption, so we had a whole year of paying full price on our taxes.  We just received this year’s tax bill, with the exemption in effect, and it will be about $1,200 less for the year.  This means when our mortgage serviced reevaluates how much is going into our escrow account, our mortgage payment will be going down $100 a month.  I’m pretty excited about that.

Now the question is:  do I continue paying that extra $100, toward the principal of the mortgage, or do I add it to my student loan payments?  The mortgage has a higher interest rate at 5.25% (crazy, right?) than any of my student loans, now that they’ve been refinanced (currently 5% and 4.74%).  Our mortgage interest rate is so high because of our lower down payment and the fact that it’s a two family.  Part of me wants to aggressively pay down the mortgage, in order to refinance to a lower rate, but I’d need to get to 25% equity to do that (because of the multi-family), and who knows where interest rates will be by the time I accomplish that.  I do feel confident that it’s not gone down in value since we bought it, and with some additional labor I think we can increase the value more.  There were definitely issues with the house that the previous owner just didn’t want to deal with.  With good bonuses and paying extra on the mortgage instead of the loans, I think I could get to 25% two years from now, but I don’t think I want to sacrifice student loan payoff.  I might think more about this in the upcoming months, but for now I’ll just be excited that our minimum payment will be going down soon!

Sorry for the absence! ($81,006)

It’s been a while!  And I’ve spent a LOT of money in the last two months.  We went on our two week honeymoon to Hawaii at the beginning of the month and had a GREAT time.  We did a lot to make it  (relatively) inexpensive but still fun.  We used two sets of airline points, so total we spent about $1,000 on flights for two people, including two inter-island flights. We also stayed mostly at VRBO condos, which was not only less expensive than staying at a hotel, but which we actually really enjoyed.  We liked having access to a kitchen.  We made breakfast almost every day, which was especially helpful on the big island — we were kind of in the middle of nowhere.

As to an actual financial update, I feel like I haven’t made much saving progress, but I guess my net worth is still improving, so that’s something.  This month I will finally pay off the last of my undergraduate loans!  It only took ten years–which, um, is how long it’s supposed to take, but I stopped paying them for three years while I was in law school, and any principal reductions I’d accomplished in the three years prior were completely wiped out.  But in less than a month, they’ll be gone!  And on to the next!

As to loan payoff, I’m up to 64 pieces of the puzzle — with a total of $87,168 to go.

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I got a new puzzle in Hawaii — just for fun — hopefully that one won’t take 3 years to finish!

My hubby graduated from his masters program in May, so we’re hoping he’ll be working in September, which should speed up the debt reduction, and hopefully eliminate my Perkins loan, which is currently at $6,389.  This will be the biggest one to date.