Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Where did November go so fast?! DH and I had a great Thanksgiving with our families. We had a great system this year where we were able to spend time with everyone we wanted to see and not feel rushed or spend half the vacation in traffic. We even baked our first cheesecake together. It's nice to be able to start new traditions now that we're officially a married couple. We're putting up our Christmas tree soon - I can't wait!

But now onto the juicy stuff.

My student loan debt is.....$123,863.06 - the lowest it's ever been since graduation! (That's my new saying - it's positive, right?)

I had gotten used to seeing a four figure reduction in recent months when I was attacking the Law School Loan so this roundup seems lame in comparison, however I am working with a reduced snowball now that I am trying to max out my Roth I.R.A. Unfortunately I can't do everything at the same time.

At least the numbers are still going down. :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Pension Update

I have some good news about my progress on obtaining credit for the time I worked before joining the pension system.

Luckily it didn't take the pension people five months to figure out what my buyback costs would be as they predicted it may.

Not so luckily is that I forgot I would have to pay interest on the amount owed. That, plus finding out there's an outstanding balance of $67 that my employer was supposed to pay on my behalf but didn't brings my new total owed to $824 (not $660 like I predicted). I guess that's only fair considering that money had I paid it initially would be sitting in the state's pension fund gaining interest this whole time. I'm just glad I got off my butt and started this process now, not ten years from now when the interest would have been astronomical. $800 now means 8 less months of working before I can retire!

It turns out I was right that I could pay this money with pretax dollars (yay!). So I signed up to begin payroll deductions of $45 which will pay the balance off in 17 pay periods, just in time for my new vesting date of September 14, 2011 - only 290 days to go!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Budget 11/24 - 12/07

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I have a lot to be thankful for this year. First and foremost, my job. I was just thinking back over the past two plus years since I started this blog and all the things that have happened.
Right around this time two years ago I was losing my job. And remember that time I wrote about my "rich" parents' Thanksgiving traditions and everyone yelled at me? (Good times)

But then I got a new job with a better salary, soon to be followed by a cost of living increase.

In the midst of all this, I got engaged, moved six months later, and married my excellent husband. We also saved a bunch of money for said wedding and honeymoon.

I paid off an old collections account that had haunted me for years....and I paid off one of my student loans!

Just two weeks ago my sister had a baby, the grandchild for my parents, and I became a proud aunt.

I have a lot to be thankful for, including this paycheck I will now spend:

Starting Balance - $1271

Roth I.R.A. - 500
Perkins Loan - 200
Credit Card - 200
Groceries - 75
Health - 45*
Gift - 100**
Misc. - 151

*This may be higher. I really won't know for a few more days but luckily there's my good old friend the miscellaneous category.

**We have a gift account with enough to buy presents for family but this money is allocated to buy my sweet hubby a present.
Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday!

Where it Went 11/10 - 11/23

Here I am, still haven't left town yet to get on the road to see family for Thanksgiving. In fact, we probably won't get on the road until sometime tonight. I greatly dislike the highways in general, but especially at night before a huge holiday.

But at least it gives me some time to write up a budget review. So here's where my money went the last two weeks compared to the budget I set for it:


Sallie Mae - 407/407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Sprint - 74/74
Groceries - 150/97
Professional Fee - 155/155
Health - 45/160
Misc. - 180/183
Gifts - 0/50
Clothes - 0/120

Overbudget in a few categories and the health costs will continue to be higher than normal for at least a short time. It's not something I regret, as it costs money to make myself better (and yes I'm being purposely vague for the time being).

I did manage to bring in $47 in additional income the past two weeks which makes up for some of the unbudgeted expenses.

And I held off for the longest time on buying clothes but faced with the upcoming holidays and the Moth Massacre of my sweaters I gave in and bought some new stuff.

That's how the pumpkin pie crumbles. Stay tuned for a new budget post.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Budget 11/10 - 11/23

It's a girl!!!!!!!!!!! Sallie's Niece is now an aunt. This morning my niece arrived safely into the world, a few days late but healthy as can be. I get to meet her in a couple of days - the beginning of three weekends in a row away from home, but I won't focus on that just yet.

So here's the budget for the next two weeks. I will finally make it to the grocery store, even though DH will be out of town next week, so we'll barely be home together for the next couple of weeks. I still need to eat and we're running out of things I can make dinner out of!

Starting Balance = $1271*

Sallie Mae - 407
Defaulted Student Loan - 260
Sprint - 74
Groceries - 150
Professional Fee** - 155
Health - 45
Misc. - 180

*I upped my 457 contribution again. I'm a little schizophrenic about that sometimes, but I know I won't miss the $14 every two weeks and my retirement savings could definitely use a boost. I also started a FSA finally, but that won't kick in until the beginning of next year.

**As much as I would love to go out and buy Christmas presents or get my hair highlighted, I am spending some money to increase my professional certifications. I am hoping I eventually see some outside income which makes this expense worthwhile. And if not, it can't hurt on a resume.

And since I've mentioned Christmas....DH and I decided we're not going to spend a lot of money on gifts this year. We have savings that he's been putting aside all year for presents and we have a couple of things picked out for people...and that's it. No more overspending on the holidays! (Except maybe adorable baby things for my new niece.)

Where it Went 10/27 - 11/09

Brrr. It's cold out. And we've already had our first snow. It seems like we are entering winter. Our first married winter. Awww. Sometimes when I get impatient and it seems our goals are so far away, I remember we have each other and that's important. :-)

Speaking of freezing, I've been on a mission to eat our freezer and pantry, which explains the no groceries purchased over the past two weeks. Truthfully a few things were picked up at the corner store but no big grocery runs were made. Among the yummy comfort food I've made is this awesome slow cooker BBQ chicken. Try it out. It's amazing and so easy to make!

But now, the budget report. Nothing too crazy here. I got some photos framed as part of my decorating phase I'm going through. And despite prior claims, I did manage to spend more money on Halloween preparations. So here's where my money went the past two weeks as compared to the budget I set out:


Roth I.R.A. - 500/500
Perkins Loan - 200/200
Credit Card - 200/220
Groceries - 150/0
Health - 45/65*
Misc. - 190/195**
Charity - 0/100
Household - 0/54
Halloween - 0/50

*DH paid my $20 copay when I didn't have any cash on me but I'm including it in my budget nonetheless.

**Since I had zero checks left, I ordered 2 boxes from Checks Unlimited for only $15 after googling a coupon code. I also got free return address labels. This was way cheaper than the $35 per box my bank was going to charge me.

I've been selling some old books on Half.com so this budget also reflects about $25 in sales in case you were wondering why things aren't adding up exactly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Net Worth October 2010

I haven't tracked my net worth on the blog in forever but last month I was inspired to log into Networth IQ and plug some numbers in. I thought there was still a little widget in my sidebar to show you my networth but it turns out there isn't. I will look into that, but in the meantime....

My net worth is -$112,482!

Which, okay, may sound pretty crappy (in fact I appear to have the second lowest networth in all of Networth IQ for my salary range), but it just so happens to be $22,673 more than it was when I made my first real accounting in May 2008.

I decided instead of just focusing on the negative with my student loan roundups, I should show my whole networth each month on the blog just like my richer contemporaries do.

Here it is, in detail:

Cash: I probably shouldn't enter a number in this category but I just seem to use the amount I have sitting around in my bank account, so ignore this. My cash savings is in our joint bank accounts so it's not included.

Retirement: Some of this calculation involved guesswork as my pension system doesn't seem to want to allow me to log into their website but taking 3% of my salary over the past 3.5 years, I have approximately $4725 in my pension (refundable until vested at 5 years). I also have $8,233 in my 457 retirement account and a whopping $500 in my newly opened Roth I.R.A. This makes for a grand total of $13, 458. Hopefully I will be able to buy back my $600 in pension time sometime this millenia, setting my five year vesting date at September 2011.

Student Loans: These are at THE LOWEST THEY HAVE EVER BEEN (I'm gonna have to start using that) at $124,650.
Credit Card: Boo. I am waiting to knock out some of my recent overspending with my extra paycheck coming up soon.
There it is. I look forward to seeing it go up next month.