Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup!

Here it is, that time again to do a monthly roundup of my student loan debt.

February has flown by between Valentine's Day, work craziness, a weekend trip, and wedding planning. We are now just four and a half months away from saying "I do" which means lots of planning, decision-making and saving. I'll post more about our plans soon.

But in the meantime, here are the numbers. Freed myself of $741 student loan debt in this short month.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Budget 2/17 - 3/03

This weekend my fiance and I have pre-cana, or marriage preparation with the church. It's an all day course where we will discuss a lot of the tough issues married couples face, including finance. I'm pretty excited! But also, do you think the diocese will accept cash because I just realized I am completely out of checks?!

So here's my budget for the next two weeks, including the $100 course:

Starting Balance = $1310

Pre-Cana - 100
Groceries - 75
Wedding Savings - 500
Credit Card - 150
Sprint - 84

Law School Loan - 80*
Perkins Loan - 93
Health - 65
Misc. - 163

*I paid double the minimum payment this month because I loathe that student loan the most and want to evict it from my life ASAP.

Today also begins Lent and I have decided to abstain from beer and liquor, which maybe will help me spend less money as well. Guess I'll find out.

Where it Went 2/03 - 2/16

Payday! My two (and sometimes three!) favorite days of the month.

I may have some exciting news soon -or rather I do have news but I don't know how exciting it is yet - about bringing in some extra money next month. Stay tuned!

And now, where my money has gone for the past two weeks. A bit of a mea culpa here is that not buying groceries during this entire budgeting period - working late, snow, etc., has left both my fiance and I spending too much money on lunch at work.

Bad bad! I thought I had learned my lesson to brown bag it. Must try harder.

So here's how I did:

Wedding Savings - 500/500
Credit Card - 125/125
Sallie Mae - 407/407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Nice Collection Agency - 125/125
Groceries - 75/0
Sprint - 78/0*
Health - 60/40
Misc. - 110/220

*I just paid this today so I will include this amount in the next budgeting period.

So yes my spending wasn't awesome but because of my federal tax refund I was able to give a nice boost to the wedding savings account. Just as a preview, my fiance and I have decided that after the wedding I will continue to save money in this account as general savings for us - to help grow our emergency fund, save for our next car, house, etc.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saving For the Honeymoon

What's the one thing people wish they had more of, even moreso than money? Time. While I can't make more time (drats!) my fiance and I have been saving our vacation time for our honeymoon.

Last I wrote about it, we were still on the fence about possible destinations. As the wedding approaches, we are more convinced that Hawaii is the place to go! There are some great hotels we can stay at using rewards points and it's someplace I've always wanted to travel to. (My fiance has been to the Big Island while on an extended layover trip but he was all by himself.)

Airline miles are getting harder to come by (and save up) as my fiance hasn't had to travel for work in a while - a good thing - but we have enough to cover one roundtrip ticket.

And the most important thing, after paying for the trip, is how are we going to be able to get away from work for an extended period? That's where vacation time comes in.

With my fiance's recent promotion he gained an additional week's vacation! Which means he now has three weeks a year. We will need to use a day or two before the wedding to travel and get ready, save a couple of days for two weddings of our friends in the fall, as well as the Christmas holidays. That leaves about two weeks for the honeymoon!

As for me, since I've been with my employer for over three years (though in different offices) I just received an increase in my vacation accrual! As of January, I accrue 5.5 vacation hours every two weeks. Right now I have:

Vacation - 57.75 hours
Personal - 35 hours
Comp - 15.75 hours

Since it's the busy time of the year I can expect to accrue at least 20 more comp hours in the weeks to come. By July it looks like I will have over three weeks vacation saved up, not including personal or comp time.

Hawaii here we come!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Budget 2/03 - 2/16

I'm having one of those "why doesn't it grow on tree" days in regards to money.

Logged into my credit card account and realized I have been spending too much on new clothes lately, which is discouraging considering I don't consider myself even close to having a decent professional wardrobe. I need to lose twenty pounds or just wear a sack every day. Or both.

I'm just going to lay off the clothes shopping for a while and try to step it up at the gym.

And despite the feeling that all I have been doing for the past 5 months is pay bills and save for the wedding we are slightly behind in our savings.
So here is my budget for the next two weeks, taking into account the $495 federal tax refund I received:

Starting Balance = $1740

Wedding Savings - 500
Credit Card - 125
Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Nice Collection Agency - 125
Groceries - 75
Sprint - 78*
Health Co-pays - 60
Misc. - 110

*Sprint is approximate since the bill isn't showing up yet but I took into account the $73 I usually pay plus a $5 donation to Haiti I made.

Our of miscellaneous I also want to buy a Valentine's Day gift for my fiance.

Where it Went 1/20 - 2/02

I got my federal tax refund yesterday, yay! $495 to add to the wedding account. Did I mention I was looking forward to the wedding..... being over with?

And in the meantime, here is how I did on my budget for the past two weeks:

Wedding Savings - 400/400
Attorney Registration - 350/350
Credit Card - 174/174
Perkins Loan - 95/95
Law School Loan - 55/55
Groceries - 100/90
Valentine's Day - 50/50
Health Co-pays - 40/40
Misc. - 111/150

Included in the miscellaneous spending is $50 in birthday money my parents sent me.

Paying for the bar registration dues is annoying. I guess I'll have to remember them two years ago so I can better prepare.

Luckily most of Valentine's Day has already been paid for thanks to me finding a good deal.