Post-Bonus Post

Another quick update, because I’ve made my largest loan payment to date — $10,000!  I’m not positive if all $10k will go to principal, but the most that could potentially go to interest is less than $100 (since less than that accrues every month now!).  The puzzle will remain the same either way – 276 pieces.  Over halfway there!

$44,695– estimated remaining balance by original loan:

  • $2,625 $0 (freshman year – undergrad)
  • $8,500 $0 (1L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 $3,695 (1L unsubsidized loan)
  • $8,500 (2L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (2L unsubsidized loan)
  • $8,500 (3L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (3L unsubsidized loan)
  • $3,500 $0 (Grad Plus Loan – bar fees and prep)
  • $1,200 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #1)
  • $2,500 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #2)
  • $1,200 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #3)

I’m down to five of my original loans–and should get rid of the second 1L loan in the next two months, I’m thinking.  As promised, I put 6% of my bonus towards my 401(k) (and got an awesome profit sharing contribution), $750 towards my HSA, and booked tickets and a place to stay in California for five days this summer.  The only thing I have left to book for the trip is a rental car.  I also bought a sweet new blender, and I’ve been working on trying to mix up my smoothie game.  

I’ve already filed my taxes this year, and I should be getting a pretty good sized return–thanks little man! I’m hoping to put another $3,500 (minimum) towards my loans once that comes in.  I have not put any rent payments toward my loans – yet.  I have to transfer the money from our house account to the bank account that’s connected to my student loan, and that takes a few days.  But I’ll be putting another payment through as soon as that clears.


(I’m trying to make a border at this point, so that eventually I’ll just be filling in the middle–I realize that right now it just looks very unorganized)

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2016 Major Goal Met! ($52,277)

Just a quick update to share that I met my main goal, and paid off $20,000 in loan principal this year.  This is probably where I’ll end up for the year, but I’m pretty happy with my progress, and hoping to do even better in 2017.

This is slightly under what I paid off last year (didn’t realize that the total on my last post for 2015 was to the same point in 2015, and not the total for the full year — I must have had an additional payment at the end of the year that put me over the edge.

$56,614 – remaining balance by original loan:

  • $2,625 $0 (freshman year – undergrad)
  • $8,500 $3,614 (1L subsidized loan)*
  • $12,000 (1L unsubsidized loan)*
  • $8,500 (2L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (2L unsubsidized loan)
  • $8,500 (3L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (3L unsubsidized loan)
  • $3,500 $0 (Grad Plus Loan – bar fees and prep)
  • $1,200 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #1)
  • $2,500 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #2)
  • $1,200 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #3)


This is 216 puzzle pieces–10 more than my most recent puzzle post.   I’m so close to halfway there, and should hit it in February.

* On the off chance anyone besides myself is actually reading this.  I’m wondering if I should go in order of smallest to largest on my tracking here (all $8,500 loans first) or by school year ($8,500 then $12,000 each time)?  These are actually all consolidated together, so it doesn’t make and real difference, but I’m thinking it might help me to be able to say that I’m 100% done with paying off my first year of law school — or something like that.

Puzzled ($57,036)

I thought about posting a progress update to my 2016 goals, but I think I’ll save that for next time, as I expect it to be pretty lengthy, as my expectations and priorities have changed slightly. Until then, I wanted to update my puzzle.

It’s been quite some time since I posted an update to my puzzle and to this blog generally. There are two tangentially related reasons for this. The first is that my little man joined us on May 5, so we’ve been pretty busy with that (and I generally like to write/post when I have some time home alone, and I don’t have too much of that).  The second is that the puzzle had been stored in little man’s room before it was his room.  While his nursery was a work in progress — crib and dresser being built, glider getting delivered — the puzzle was moved to an unknown location. The man didn’t remember exactly where it was moved to, and I only rediscovered it yesterday.

Back in February (?) when I last updated the puzzle, there were 167 pieces.  As of today, my loan balance is $64,049, so the puzzle will now reflect $35,800 paid off, or 179 pieces.  Twelve pieces is not a lot of pieces to add, considering the amount of time that has passed since my last update, but I’m hoping I’ll get back into the groove of things this month.   I’m hoping pretty much all of the baby “things” have been purchased at this point (including a second carrier, blankets, and the aforementioned (expensive) glider).

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As far as open loans, when de-consolidated (is there a better word for this?), this what I’m left with:

  • $18,000 $0 (1L Law School Loan – paid off!)

Former Federal Loans/Big Daddy Consolidation, Currently at $64,049

  • $2,625 $0 (freshman year – undergrad)
  • $8,500 (1L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (1L unsubsidized loan)
  • $8,500 (2L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (2L unsubsidized loan)
  • $8,500 (3L subsidized loan)
  • $12,000 (3L unsubsidized loan)
  • $3,500 $2,549 (Grad Plus Loan – bar fees and prep)
  • $1,200 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #1)
  • $2,500 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #2)
  • $1,200 $0 (Irresponsibility Loan #3)

It’s nice to see that this list includes only ONE Big Daddy Loan loan, and that the only undergraduate loan included in the consolidation has been eliminated.    Hopefully I’ll be able to make more progress in the next three or four months than I have in the last three, so that I can pay off the Grad Plus loan and move on to make a small dent in my subsidized loans this year.

2015 Recap! ($72,307)

So I’ve already posted something close to a final loan payoff figure for the year, but I do need to provide the final amount).

In 2015, I paid off (approximately) $20,671 in student loan principal!

(Puzzle still to come — I’ll be honest, it would have only been 4 more pieces from the last post,so close to a quarter of the way there–the math is like 4.92 puzzle pieces or something–but not quite)

But wait, that’s not all. There are a few other financial milestones I’ve made this year, that I haven’t given their proper due all year.

401(k) Contributions

This year, I contributed $10,574 to my company 401(k).  Because I just became partially vested in some of my company’s matching and other contributions, I also became entitled to another (approximately) $2,000.  My total amount vested as of today is $19,610.

Roth IRA

I opened a Roth IRA earlier this year, and tried to put about $200 a month into it. Once things are more settled in 2016, I might see if there is a way to direct deposit into this account, instead of having to do a transfer (which gives me the opportunity to transfer it elsewhere).  But for now, my balance is $2,843.

HSA Contributions

With the baby coming and Mike’s eye surgery, I actually spent a huge chunk out of my HSA this year, and have almost met my deductible for the year (I might actually hit this once I get all of this year’s bills). But I contributed the maximum of $6,050 this year (plus $600 coming from my employer), and ended the year (as of now) with $3,761 in the account.  Up from $2,638 last year.

Mortgage Payments

I round my monthly payments up to the nearest $100 and send the extra to principal.  This is around an extra $40 a month.  Doing this for the last year and a half has cut three months off of my payment schedule. Doesn’t seem like much, but every time I do it, it helps more and more.  Total we’ve paid $3,085 in loan principal this year.  I’d estimate our equity in the house to be about $14,000, which assumes the house is worth exactly what we paid for it–I feel pretty confident that with the minor improvements we’ve made, and the housing market generally, it’s probably worth more than what we paid, so I think this is pretty conservative.

When I’m able to calculate my net worth through Mint, it doesn’t include any of these items.  Total they add up to $40,214 that I should conceivably be including in my net worth (though I prefer to see the more conservative number).  If I had included these, my net worth would be ($32,093).*  This number might be even be positive in a year.

(*caveat: I don’t include my hubby’s separate accounts here, again to be conservative, and because I don’t like to think of his money as accessible, even when it is. With that said, the money in the house account is as much his as it is mine, and ditto for the equity in the house.)

That’s not so bad.  I was feeling pretty down today about my ever-dwindling savings, but this helps me see how much progress I’ve made over the past year (and last couple years). Doesn’t mean I don’t have a LOT of budgeting work to do, but I need to not be so hard on myself.

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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November Recap

Just a quick update to show my payoff progress for November.  I didn’t do my usual rent payment, but hubby did contribute $2,000 now that his bank accounts have been shored up a bit.  Thanks Hubby!

We bought a wifi thermostat, so we hopefully won’t have to worry about accidentally leaving the heat on when we’re gone for the day, or when we’re in bed.  We’ll also get a rebate from the gas company for most of the cost of this.  Our insulation still hasn’t been put in yet.  Some kind of test for the insulation should be done on the 15th, and hopefully the actual installation will be shortly after.  Here’s hoping these two things help with heating costs this winter.

Our driveway, which was scheduled to be paved late last month, has not been done.  Our contractor cancelled on us the week they were supposed to do it, and we didn’t have time to find someone else who could do it for a reasonable price.  So we still have a good amount in the house account, but knowing how much is going to come out in the spring, I think I’d like to build the balance up to around $10,000 (or around $5,000 post-driveway) before I start putting rent payments toward my loans again.  The heating system in our tenant’s apartment is not ideal, and updating it will likely have to be done eventually, so we want to start planning and saving for that.

So there we have it.  Mint is still not connecting to my loan servicer’s site, but when I checked this weekend, my two loans totaled $76,818, which means 115 total pieces in the puzzle.  I’m so close to a quarter of the way there!

IMG_1351

HSA Mixup (Yikes!)

Still no net worth update, unfortunately.  Hopefully Mint will be able to connect before month-end.

Onto the topic at hand.  I’ve been messing with my HSA contribution in the last couple weeks.  Most of my contribution this year came from my bonus, but I added  a deduction from my remaining paychecks around September.  Clearly I didn’t really know how this worked, and changed it back to $0, then up to $5,000.  I was thinking the amount coming out of my paycheck for the remainder of the year was $5,000/24 (total number of paychecks HSA gets deducted from).  I had actually already contributed over $5,000 (with my employer contributions added) so I figured that either way, more than the annual maximum wouldn’t get taken out.  I was wrong.

So when I checked Mint last Friday morning, my paycheck was pretty much cut in half.  I checked my paystub and $1,250 had been taken out for my HSA.  Ooops.  The tiny paycheck I could deal with, but I’ve now contributed more than the annual maximum for this year into my HSA.  So I had to fill out some paperwork to get a refund of the overage, which will result in one more piece of paper I have to have in hand for filing my taxes next year.  But the good news is, next month my employer will add its monthly $50 contribution, and then I will be maxed out for the year, with no additional contributions from my paycheck for the next three checks.  And I should have about $4,000 in the account to carry over next year (barring my last two doctors appointments having a bunch of non-preventative lab work/tests).  Not that it matters for purposes of this post, but this account does not feed into my net worth, since I can only use it for medical purposes.

For next year, I’ll once again be putting in a large chunk from my bonus, and will potentially be adding a bit more throughout the year.  I definitely went back and forth on which health plan I should choose during open enrollment this year, but I think with the added HSA contributions from my employer for the high deductible health plan, and the MUCH smaller premium payments, the HDHP was the way to go.  I don’t know if it’s the case for all employer plans, but it looks like so long as I’m staying in-network (which I will certainly try to do), this is the cheaper option.  The benefits people recommended for those with the HDHP that you try to keep enough in the account to cover the deductible, but my goal is to have at least the out-of-pocket max in there before the end of 2016.

I also put about $200 into a limited purpose FSA, assuming any funds in there will get used for fillings, and if there is any left over I may think about getting a pair of glasses for night driving, but even if I were to lose it, it would be a pretty small amount of money (though it’s also possible that it all gets spent in the first half of the year).