2015 Goal Met!

achievement

As of my most recent payment, I’ve paid approximately $20,411 in student loan principal this year!  I still have one more payment for $300 going through today, $250+ of which I expect to go towards principal.

Next year should be slightly easier to track, as I won’t be guesstimating the interest and principal amounts for any of my loans, because each servicer gives me those details as soon as they process the payment.

I definitely wasn’t fully confident I was going to make this goal, and pulling some from savings and wedding gifts definitely were a big factor.  Now it’s time to think about my goals for 2016…

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February Goal Recap! ($87,482)

Here’s how I did 2 months into the year.  Just about $1,600 went to principal this month, which brings the total for 2015 to:

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That’s about 14.5% of the way there, with about 16% of the year past us.  I’m okay with that–I should  be able to put an extra $1,000 or so toward debt, not counting the rent money from our tenant that is scheduled to go towards loans alternating months.

For for the total debt payoff goal.  I painted the cardboard backing, so it would be easier to actually see the puzzle.  I didn’t actually have a paintbrush, so I used a paper towel, so please excuse the uneven paint job (but hey! more incentive to cover it up ASAP).  And you can actually see the puzzle against the background.

My total debts are $93,802.  It’s crazy to think about how recently I was celebrating being under $100,000. I’m not making the progress I used to make when I had two jobs, and no housing expenses, but refinancing my big loan to a lower interest rate has definitely made a difference.  Even though I was really close to the $93,800 mark, the puzzle only reflects $94,000 – 30 pieces.  My two undergraduate loans reflect interest when they show up in Mint, but I don’t think the others do, so it might actually be that my debts are a bit higher, but if I keep using Mint eventually the interest amounts will be so low that they don’t matter in the calculation too much (in a few years…)

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So that’s it for my recap!  Hopefully I’ll have plenty more progress to report in March when I finally receive my tax return, and maybe I’ll eventually even get better at budgeting!

January Goal Recap! ($90,455)

So here’s how far I am into my 2015 goal to pay $20,000 in principal to my student loans this year:

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This is only 6.5% of my goal after 8.3% of the year has gone by, but I’m really hoping a lot of progress gets made in the last third of the year, so I’m not going to stress about this too much, in spite of the fact that I paid extra from the house account this month.  Aside from that extra $700, I also only made a $150 payment on my UG loans, instead of the usual $225 monthly payments.  So it’s essentially a smaller amount than most months when I’m putting the extra $700 in.

As to my overall goal to pay off all of my student loans (hopefully by the time I’m 35–I’m currently 31 and a half).  This is the puzzle visual. I checked out what my total debt as of today, per Mint, and my grand total of student loan debt is $95,406.36.  Subtracting this from $100,000, I get $4593.64, and dividing by 200…22 pieces into the puzzle!  And really really close to 23!  Next month will likely add another 4 through normal payments, since I’m so close to another piece now.   I may also put a little bit of my bonus money towards UG4, so that it will be paid off by late March or early April.

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I’m going to have to work this out so that neither I, nor HGTV, are visible.  But for now, here’s the limited 22 pieces of progress.  I might have to paint the cardboard backing white so that the pieces are more visible, but I’ll start filling in that corner instead of the edges.  You know, so you’ll be able to see actual progress.  And also, because I totally have pieces in the corner assembled in the box…

February Recap! ($97,418)

I think this is the latest I’ve ever been with my monthly recap.  I’m usually so excited to post it, and get started on the next month’s budget.  This is actually still the case, but I was occupied with the man friend this weekend, and stuck at work late last night–getting me home right around my bed time.  Hence no recap, but better late than never, right?

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Boom! Over $1,900 in student loan PRINCIPAL payments in February!  Next month my auto and transport expense will be way down–it will only be gas and (if necessary) parking.  My paycheck should reflect my commuter rail deduction this Friday, since I had money on my computer card to buy my pass this month.  A lot of money will probably go to food this month, since I took my boyfriend out to dinner on Sunday night, and am hoping to take my sister to dinner before she has her baby.

Other than my good progress on student loans, I was pretty bad with the staying within budget thing.  I spent a lot on “other” and paid for a 2013 doctor’s visit.  The good news is I’ve planned for my hair expense this weekend, so I’m more prepared for my “other.”

My other budget overages:

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The food and dining overage is mostly the coffee shop budget bust.  I’m calling the restaurants overage offset by being under budget on alcohol and groceries.  But There’s 5% cash back on Starbucks purchases, so I loaded my card with $50 twice.  I’m justifying this with the extra points, and will probably reload before the quarter is up, but starting in April I need to work on making my own coffee way more often.

Additional iTunes purchases–I’ve increased this budget for March, and accepted that I’m not staying within $10.  We’ll see if $15 satisfies my need for new 80s music.

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Student loan interest is kind of a crapshoot–how much I pay can really vary depending on when in the month I make my payments.  Daily interest on $70,000 can make for a lot of variation.  The budget underage on gas probably has a little to do with a combination of a short month and timing of gas purchases.  Kind of a similar deal for parking in that I happened to not have to drive up as often–though this is partially due to finding another free parking train station.  In April I’m having $20 put on a debit card pre-tax to pay for parking on an as-needed basis.  This one won’t be a monthly deduction, but I’ll have another $20 deducted when the balance starts to get low.

I didn’t need Proactiv because my skin is clear!  I’m sorry–that was a blatant lie, I just tend to get billed three out of every five months because of my current delivery schedule.  Clear skin–ha!  Also, do people judge me for having an alcohol budget?  It really actually means trivia, which is more of an entertainment expense. Whatever.

I’m getting two TiVo charges this month, apparently. Hence the big buffer in the Movies & TV category.  I also haven’t rented an Amazon movie in a while.

My clothing budget was two pairs of work pants from eBay.  Money well spent. This month’s clothing budget is already blown on two pairs of shoes and five (FIVE!) pairs of J.Crew flip flops.  They’re $22 flip flops, on sale for $12. So I bought three pairs for me and two for my sister–because two separate people paying $8 shipping charges on flip flops is ridiculous. She’ll probably pay me back, but I’m fine with gifting the $25. I’m so charitable.  J.Crew wedge flip flops are kind of my thing.  I hope no one tells me that I’m not a lifeguard anymore and I have to wear adult shoes sometimes…

As for the March Budget, I haven’t broken out my federal loan payment into principal and interest yet (because they refuse to post my payment), but I’ve made $1,750 in payments out of $1804 principal and $676 interest payments budgeted for the month.  Instead of $2,480 my total payments this month will probably be $2,600.  I’m not mad, but I am going to try to stay under $4,000 in spending the month (my actual Mint budget is $3,963).  Or rather, if I go over, I only want it to be because of additional loan payments, and not because of additional spending.  I’m hoping for an expense reimbursement and an insurance dividend this month–both of which I’m hoping to send on UG3.

Goal Tracking (from 2/14/2014 post)

  • May 5: Pay off UG3 (current balance $2,557) – Current balance of $1,110 — Planning on paying off with my April payment
  • June 15: Debt Balance under $100,000 (current balance, about $106,000) — Now I’m around $104,000.  Still waiting for my federal payment to post and my updated balance on UG3 to be reflected.  If I’m paying off another $1,600 in April and have an extra paycheck in May I think this is easily doable, possibly even before May is over.
  • July 31: Pay off UG4 (current balance $3,346) — If I maintain my payment from this month through the summer I’ll pay this one off with a payment of around $100 in July.
  • November 30:  Pay of UG5 (current balance $4,963) — I think getting this taken care of in October is a better stretch goal.

That’s all I’ve got for you tonight–sorry it’s so disorganized and incoherent.  Better my blog posts than my finances, right?

Firmly Entrenched ($99,067)

Two (related?) things, and some goals today:

Not sure if I’ve already said this, but I removed my 401(k) from my net worth calculations.  First–I just started my 401(k) with the official job–I’ve had the opportunity to invest in them in the past, but I wasn’t always the responsible young lady I am today (and yet, I wasn’t over $100k in debt then…). Because the account is new, it’s not like you’re seeing a giant drop in my net worth.  It’s not like I can touch it without penalty either.  I don’t want to get to the point where I see my net worth in the positive figures, but still have a ton of student loan debt.  I can’t section it out into vested and non-vested either.  But hey, with the unvested portion there’s already $1,000 in there…but again $600 of that I don’t get to keep for three years, so I don’t want to see it now.

Second thing–even with the removal of my 401(k)–I feel like I’m firmly entrenched in the negative five figures.  Hopefully no more see-sawing between five and six figures from here on out.  I’ve got two pending student loan payments totaling $800, but there shouldn’t be too much of an effect on my calculated net worth.  I’ll have to pay about $2,000 in taxes in April (not accounting for the couple hundred I’ll get back from my state returns), but in the next two months I should make up for that with savings and loan principal payments.

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I just got really confused–I kinda forgot I only have three undergraduate loans left…I’m not really sure how that’s possible. I also have no idea why my pie (donut?) chart isn’t updating, but that fuchsia slice should be a tiny bit smaller.  But without further ado, some goals:

  • May 5:  Pay off UG3 (current balance $2,557)
  • June 15:  Debt Balance under $100,000 (current balance, about $106,000)
  • July 31:  Pay off UG4 (current balance $3,346)
  • November 30:  Pay off UG5 (current balance $4,963 – this is a bit of a stretch goal)

I’m really looking forward to the day when this donut has only three flavors (constituting my federal loans – mustard and burnt orange colors? – and my two ECSI loans – lighter blue chunk).

Wish me continued luck!