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.

 

 

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December Recap! ($103,396)

Ugh!  I did an extraordinarily bad job budgeting this month. Or, rather, staying within said budget.  Here’s my spending breakdown from the month (ALL THE PRETTY COLORS!):

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Education and Fees & Charges are (rightfully) big chunks of this not-so-tasty pie, but they should account for over half–they don’t.  I spent a tiny bit less on principal and a tiny bit more on interest this month–should just be reflective of when the payment was made in the month (I wish I got paid semi-monthly instead of bi-weekly, so these could always be the same):

Principal Payments:

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Interest Payments:

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That makes “Shopping”, “Kids”, “Personal Care” “Auto and Transport” and “Other” the big spending categories.  Some of the shopping was Christmas presents, but, um, not most of it.  I bought $160 Uggs at the beginning of the month (I love them, but I don’t know if I love them $160 worth), and about $150 at Old Navy that was for myself.  Damn you Black Friday.  Toward the end of the month I spent $325 on eBay–I bought two purses to celebrate the new job.  I’m also thinking about buying a Spin bike, but if that’s all I do for celebratory purchases, and don’t inflate my lifestyle too much, I’ll consider this a victory.

I spent $600 at Babies R Us.  The stroller and pack-and-play my sister registered for were both on sale, and didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to save over $200 (again–Damn you Black Friday!).  I would have spent this money (and more on the shower and smaller baby gifts) eventually, but wasn’t planning for it in December.

The $120 on getting my hair did [BLONDER — and way shorter] was planned, but sadly fell in with a month of crazy spending.

I spent way more on parking than usual this month–for two reasons.  Reason numero uno:  bought a book of five parking passes for $100 at the new work building.  Because $20 a day in the city is a bargain when I need to drive in.  See: the day I spent $35 on parking when I went in late for a doctor’s appointment last month. I also went out to watch a football game with a friend on Sunday and spent $40 on parking.  I hadn’t seen her in a while, and I’d cancelled on her the previous weekend–but if I’d realized I’d have to spend $40 to park initially, I wouldn’t have made that plan. Lesson learned.

Most of the transactions in the $500 or so in “Other” were planned: life insurance, credit report, phone, (2) TiVo.  It also includes about $80 in Christmas presents…for my dog.  And a doctor’s visit co-pay.  Lastly, it includes $120 at staples, $80 of which is for the biggest piece of crap filing cabinet on the planet. Which is getting returned.

So the budget page looks something like this:

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This actually doesn’t even capture the “Everything Else” category, which is over by about $1,400… Yeah. Though a small point in my defense: about $200 of my food and other random costs were reimbursed from job two.

January should bring more income and–hopefully–less irresponsible spending on my part.  To be continued I guess.

November Recap! ($103,196)

I can’t believe it’s December already!

November Spending Breakdown

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I spent a total of $3,742.66 last month.  I am pretty darn impressed with myself. A whopping $1,519.45 went to student loan PRINCIPAL payments.  I split all of my student loan payments into principal and interest.  All of the “Fees & Charges” in the ugly orange-ish slice of pie are student loan interest.  One set of loans doesn’t show this nicely, so it’s approximated based on the interest that was accrued in my last statement, but this set accrues the lowest interest anyway, so any inaccuracy isn’t affecting the total too much.

I’ll be interested to see how much this horrible interest amount changes as the months go on.  Hopefully paying extra on principal will help bring this number down!  I hate throwing away $700 a month!

I spent a lot on transportation this month.  This included purchasing a AAA membership.  My old car insurance had roadside assistance.  I reviewed my insurance paperwork and discovered that my current policy only appears to have towing with a $50 deductible.  So I’ll be removing that, and seeing what other discounts I can get with the AAA membership.  I was really hoping I could get a discount on my phone plan, but it looks like it only applies to new plans (Signing up for Sprint?  Get a AAA membership first–it could pay for itself).  The rest is my train pass – $335 – gas and insurance.  I did pretty decent with gas this month, and hopefully prices will continue to go down!  Only one more month of free parking at the more expensive train.  I’ll probably stick with it, even though it’s more expensive, because the gas savings are pretty significant.

I did well on damn near everything else this month.  I did some necessary work clothes shopping on eBay this month, and was very happy with my purchases, and especially the price I paid for them.  I don’t expect to do any more shopping for myself in December, but I might start creeping on some auctions again in January.

Here is the bar graph of my spending in the last six months.  My attempts to split my student loan payments into principal and interest in October were a big fail.  As a result my spending in October is extremely inaccurate, and should be ignored.

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But seriously, November was a small improvement over September, when I spent a total of $3,910–and that was only paying an extra $400 or so on one set of loans, as opposed to the $725 extra in November.  We’re just going to pretend July and August didn’t happen at all.

Not Eating Out!

I definitely have decreased the amount of money spent on food in the last two months, especially take-out/delivery/buying lunch.  For Thanksgiving, I visited my dad for breakfast in the morning, and had the turkey with my boyfriend’s family.  We (he) also made a turkey at my place yesterday so that I would have my own set of leftovers–which means I won’t be buying lunch or dinner, at least at the beginning of the week.  And really, I had no idea how to make a turkey, and now I have a better idea at least.  Mostly I know that if we ever have to host Thanksgiving, he has a pretty good idea what he’s doing.

Did you all have a good Thanksgiving?  Any suggestions for how to avoid breaking the bank on the December holidays?