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)

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!

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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).

Temporary Connectivity Issue?!

I paid off the first of my two law school loans!  Now I’m down to just the remaining one and my huge former federal loan.  This is the biggest loan paid off to date, about six years early!  I’m hoping to pay off the second law school loan in the first half of next year — sometime after bonus and tax return time.
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It’s definitely a little daunting to see how big this loan is, but after my payment goes through later this month, it  will be just under $10,000–only a little bit higher than the original amount of the first one.

Onto the title of this post.  Mint.com hasn’t been able to update these accounts so I can see the $0 since before I paid it off on the 10th.  These are the accounts I used to have to manually put in (I remember tracking these at $22,000 — it’s awesome to see that they’re around $10,000 now). I’m a little nervous that this connectivity issue isn’t going to be temporary and I’ll have to go back to manually tracking these.  Which would be really annoying, but might give me more incentive to pay them off.

It’s only mid-month, so I won’t be updating my puzzle, but this loan being paid off means the man and I put a good chunk of money towards this this month.  I thought I was going to make my payoff goal, but my numbers on Mint aren’t jiving, and I’m not sure why.  I’ll have to look into a little further, but I’m pretty happy with my progress either way.  And I’ll definitely get to throw a bunch more puzzle pieces in at the end of this month, so I’ll be happy with the progress either way.

EDIT:  Blonde Moment.  The reason why there is a big difference between my calculations and the numbers on Mint is because these two account haven’t updated to show a $2,000 payment.  Literally the thing I was writing/complaining about.  Wow.

Overdue Post ($78,708)

So I’ve been just a little bit busy with wedding planning.  We got married on September 12, 2014 by a Justice of the Peace, with just witnesses. We did this for tax and benefit purposes, but we did still want to have a ceremony and reception (on the same date this year) for family and friends.  There were definitely times in the last twelve months when I thought we should should save the money we were spending on the wedding, and forget the whole thing, but I’m very glad we did it.  The day ran smoothly, the food was great, and I got to see almost of all of my loved ones in one place.

Now that that’s done, we’ll make a few purchases with money given to us as wedding gifts.  The man would really like a new knife set, I would like a new vacuum, and maybe a scale.  There isn’t a lot of house stuff that we need (which is a big part of why we didn’t register) and our place isn’t that big.  I took a chunk of it and put it toward my lowest student loan, which is now sitting pretty at $3,320.  I also scheduled a payment, after receiving our rent check, for $700 that should all go towards the principal (for some reason, when you schedule a second payment in a month, none of it goes toward the little bit of interest accrued; it all goes to the next payment).  With the man working in a long-term position, he’s making more money than he will once that post is over, and some of that will be going towards that loan as well.  (My hubby is even more enthusiastic about loan payoff than I am–I love him all the more for that!)  So I’m estimating that that loan will be paid off in November. I don’t think I’ll hit my goal of $20,000 in principal paid off this year, but I think if we really push we can get to $18,000 (and I’m not ruling out entirely that we’ll make it).

I’m not sure if my net worth has gone down since my last post (it has been a while since then), but I’m pretty confident that it will consistently go up from here.  I tapped into a little bit of my regular savings for wedding expenses, but I shouldn’t have any major expenses in the next few months.  One thing I did adjust is my HSA contribution, so my paychecks have gone down, and therefore I’ll be saving less, but that should only be until the end of the year.  I will probably max out my contributions through my bonus next year (or, like I did this year, contribute what I hope to be the maximum, if we switch to hubby’s insurance in September).

My house is a disorganized mess which I’d like to work on.  Largely because my puzzle is currently buried under things in my spare room.  But I will try to do an update at the end of this month, and I should have a pretty good number of pieces to add since my last puzzle post.

March Recap! ($83,753)

Again, I’ve got an estimated net worth here.  I think I might be being extra-conservative with the estimate, but I’m okay with that.  The honeymoon money is almost spent/moved to another account, so that’s good.  I’ve started to get a little overwhelmed with all things wedding, and realizing the expenses that we’ve yet-to-incur, and what they may be.  I was looking into getting a string quartet/some kind of classical string performance for the ceremony, but I just can’t justify spending $800 on an hour.  iPod Tchaikovsky it is!  At some point I’m going to have to do a few posts about what we’re spending on the wedding, and what we’re prioritizing (and what we’re just plain unwilling to spend money on).

Now for the reason you’re here: March Recap!

Student Loans Principal Year-To-Date:

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Thought #1 is… YAY! This is 30% of the way there, with 25% of the year behind us!  The bad news is, my tax return and my bonus have already happened, so I won’t have these kinds of windfalls for the rest of the year.  But I’ll keep plugging either way, and for now, I’ll be happy about the progress.

I saw another blogger’s post on the monthly interest they’ve paid (who was this?  I would like to give you a shout out!)  Here’s a little bit of a view of mine.  I think in 2013 I was still paying some old accrued interest, but really started paying aggressively around that time, so after that I was just paying the interest that accrued monthly.  It’s not terribly easy to see, but there was a significant drop in October (paying only a partial month’s interest), that’s stabilized right around $380.  Other than monthly variation (months with 31 days, months where the payment date falls on a weekend, so the payment doesn’t go through until Monday) this number should slowly go down every month.  I’ve been guesstimating the interest for my undergraduate loans, but they’re around $10 a month at this point.  My numbers should be pretty exact once the last one is paid off in August (and it WILL be paid off by my 32nd birthday). I’m hoping to see serious changes here once the man in working.  For various reasons (co-signer, low balances, multiple loans, the fact that I’ve had them for TEN YEARS) I’ve been paying off my undergraduate loans first, even though they have the smallest interest rate (3.25).  Starting in August, my extra payments will be going toward my highest interest rate loans (5%).  The difference between the two isn’t huge, but I’ll take it!

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Now for the main event:  My puzzle of total(ish) student loan progress!  My current loan balance is:

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That gives us 46 pieces in the puzzle–16 more than last month!  I’m pretty happy with that–that’s almost 10% of the puzzle!  And, you know, almost $10,000 from the $100,000 I’m counting down from.  16 pieces is probably the most at a time we’re going to see this year.  And I had a 16 piece chunk ready to add on–after the colored pencils are done it’s going to get significantly more difficult.  But, it’s going to be a while before that happens.  For now, here it is:  46 pieces representing $9,200 of payoff since the $100,000 mark.  I feel confident that in May, I’ll get over 50 pieces, for 10% of the puzzle.  10% of $100,000 feels pretty good, I think.

 

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