Are You Sure It’s Payday? ($105,257)

Hooray for every other Thursday!

It seems a bit unsatisfying, considering that October was a three payday month for my main gig, so I had a lot of extra money to throw toward my debt last month.  I also got my check from my other job on the same day as my last payday, so it was a huge hit of money.  Now I look back at my blogs from around two weeks ago, and my net worth was higher then than it is now. What gives?

But I realize that I spent a lot of those paychecks–I don’t get to keep all of it.  Or most of it for that matter.  It really reinforces how nice it will be when I’m not spending $2,000 a month on student loans, and I’m not paying over $500 a month in interest.  I don’t think “nice” is the right word.  Amazing?  I was listening to a Dave Ramsey podcast on the train today, and one woman said that she realized she needed to get a hold on her financial situation when she discovered she spent $750 on interest the previous year.  I pay more than that in two months!  How is it that people can deduct interest on million dollar homes…but I make too much to deduct my loan interest!?  (I really realize that “I make too much money to deduct student loan interest” is probably the most obnoxious complaint ever, but I only make as much as I do because I work two jobs, and commute four hours a day to make that happen–because I don’t want to pay student loans for 30 years. Mini-rant over.)

So anyways, the moral of the story is that this paycheck seemed less fulfilling than the last set.  But I am paying another $450 on my federal loan–about $350 of which will go to principal, and $300 on my loans from my school, with around $200 going to principal.  So I can take some comfort in that $550 of that won’t have a negative effect on my net worth.

Other than to pay off my student loans–a long term goal if there ever was one–I don’t really have set goals.  I’m trying to determine some good ideas for shorter term goals.  According to, my debt currently stands at $111,039.  I want to get it under $110,000 by the end of the year, without dipping into–and continuing to add to–my existing (meager) savings (since I’ll likely need a good chunk of come tax time.  But that doesn’t seem terribly aggressive.  That actually seems like a pretty lazy goal.  I have my Vertex24 debt reduction calculator Excel sheet, which says that putting an extra* $700 a month toward my “snowball” will mean my next undergraduate loan (UG2) will be paid off in February, and the one after that (UG3) in June.  So I’m making a six month goal to have both paid off in May.  If I get hired for reals this shouldn’t be a problem–but how easy it would be would depend on the as-yet-unknown pay differential.

And as much as I hate to abandon the snowball when I’ve barely started, I may start trying to save a large chunk of change in anticipating of moving after those two are paid off.  Abandoning the snowball doesn’t mean (shouldn’t mean–please yell at me if this changes) that I’m abandoning my budgeting and attempts at frugality, just a change in where the money’s going. But AGAIN, this is me focusing so much on the longer term.  I should enjoy the small victories of paying off these small undergraduate loans while I can. Right now I can pay off one every four months or so, but once those babies are gone I have much larger chunks to deal with.  Anyway…I’d also like to get my net worth into the negative five figures by June–which sounds like it will be easy, but it will depend on how much of a tax hit I take.  Sigh.

In cheerier news: I looked at the Mint app on my phone when I started writing this, and it’s different!  Apparently there was an update of some kind today, so I’m off to investigate it. I’m really excited for when I get to post my end of month pretty pie chart.  But for now, I give you:  COFFEE!  I’ve now had four straight days of bringing my lunch, and two of coffee.  I’ve spent a whopping $4.76 on coffee this month (With the remainder of the $10 reload sitting on my card).  I used to spend around $80 a month!  Someone give this girl a cookie!



It looks like I was really good in October–really it’s because I reloaded my Starbucks card at the end of September and my mom gave me a $25 card.  I was still way better than I had been (I’m looking at you February and May), but not as good as the chart implies.

* Really more than $700 a month extra.  My minimums on my federal loans are based on 30 year repayment, but I pay based on a 10 year repayment.  I also round all my payments up to be even.

The Price of Inconvenience ($106,753)

I feel like I posted something similar to this before, but not about this specific thing.

My federal loan servicer allows me to reduce my interest rate by a negligible amount by signing up for automatic payments. Back when I was less financially responsible I would definitely not elect for this. I get paid bi-weekly, instead of at fixed times in the month, which I would prefer. And was I really sure that money would be in there on the 21st every month? Without me having to move some of my teeny tiny savings immediately before? But now that I’m more organized with my money, I think it’s okay for me to have my $500 monthly payment taken out on the same day every month, and I’m confident in my ability to plan ahead for it. This won’t prevent me from making the additional $450 in payments that I’ve been making on that particular account; I can still schedule that as a separate payment whenever it’s convenient to do so.

But here’s the thing: you can’t sign up for automatic payments online; you have to print out the form and mail it in. What year is this? I printed it out at least two weeks ago, but haven’t gotten around to mailing it in. I finally decided to sacrifice one of my fancy résumé envelopes to get it out of my purse. I know that the rate reduction will only be about 20 bucks a year, but it’s basically free money, and every little bit helps. And it’s not like I’ve been sending out printed résumés (or emailing them for that matter) anyway.

This is my third day this week bringing lunch. I’m getting kind of sick of chicken chili already, but what can you do? There’s also a possibility that I’ll need to go out to lunch today because we have someone visiting from another office. With two company-purchased meals in the last three weeks I would definitely expect to have to pay my own way this time.

I bought coffee yesterday, but only put $10 on my Starbucks card, instead of my usual $25 reload. And I only bought because I didn’t have any more milk. (Excuses, excuses…) I felt bad when I got there–I haven’t seen my Starbucks friends in so long–surely they’ve been concerned by my absence? This is 100% all in my head.

I knew I had another coffee on the card this morning, and debated buying again, but I was good and saved it. I also bought more coffee on Amazon earlier this week so I won’t be in any danger of running out, so I really can’t justify another Starbucks purchase quite yet.

I’m basically where I should be at this point in the month in terms of my (very conservative) food and drink budget. Let’s hope this trend continues through the rest of the month. Tomorrow is another payday and I’m looking forward to scheduling more debt payments. The sooner I send it to my servicers, the less likely I am to spend it on Starbucks…