Ashley’s April 2016 Debt Update + NEW Balance Transfer Loan

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Hi all!

Thanks for your patience with me as I was out of town and kind of absent (especially in the comments) for awhile. I only logged in a single time on our week-long vacation and then had to spend a few days playing catch-up with work-related obligations once I returned before really rejoining you here. LOTS of posts to come very soon, but for now let me get up this overdue April debt update!

Perhaps the first thing to note is that I initiated another balance transfer loan! I’ve labeled it in my debt spreadsheet as “Balance Transfer #2” (to distinguish it from the first balance transfer, which I paid off in full prior to initiating this new transfer). See my reasons for why I’m okay with using balance transfer loans to help pay down student loan debt in this throwback post.

I transferred $7,500 from my Navient student loans onto my Capital One credit card. I will have 0% APR for 12 months and paid a one-time $150 transfer fee. In my debt spreadsheet I list the new balance transfer debt as $7650 (which includes the $150 transfer fee). I also altered the “original debt” column of my Navient loan, reducing it by $7500 (since that debt has been moved to the balance transfer loan).

Here you go:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$731686.55%$1476April$74218
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20April$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$76500% (through April 2017)$0transfer initiated April 2016$7650
Medical Bills$58360%$25April$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan-2.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees-2.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$95,250 (March balance = 96,175)$1521Starting Debt = $145,472

One thing you’ll notice is that nothing was paid toward the new balance transfer loan in April. I initiated the loan toward the end of the month, so I’ll begin making payments this month (May).

Also, I edited the APR for my Navient loans. It used to read 6.55%-8.25%. But the balance transfer loan covered the 8.25% APR loan in full, so now all that remains are student loans with 6.55% APR. Wahoo! Excited to be chipping away at those loans and to get rid of my last remaining >8% APR debt!

Also, you’ll see in an upcoming budget update post that we continue to save toward our Emergency Fund and the down payment for a new home. This impacts our debt payments, as we are prioritizing savings above debt for right now. We plan to begin house hunting soon-ish, and once that’s all locked away we’ll again return our focus to paying down debt with a vengeance. In the meantime, I’m still happy with our current level of debt payments. Not too shabby, especially considering all our savings! Look for the budget update post soon!

I hope everyone’s weeks are going well! I’ll be back soon! : )


This, too, shall pass

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I know I keep talking about how “busy-busy-busy” or “go-go-go” I am all the time now.

I love my job(s) and I’m very thankful for it them, but the schedule can also be a bit overwhelming sometimes.

The end-of-semester craziness has been kicking my butt and I’ve been looking forward to summer. Just hold on a couple more weeks…a couple more weeks and everything will calm down. That’s been my mantra.

And then I realized…it won’t.

At my part-time job, summer is pretty crazy. It’s great pay (because it’s the same amount of pay, but I’m paid in 2 separate chunks – one check in June and one in July – as opposed to having it spread across 4 months. So it essentially “feels” like double the pay). But it’s also a TON of work to do the same amount of teaching/grading/etc in a shortened schedule.

I’ve also reported how I managed to get my full-time job to extend my contract so I’ll now get paid all summer from the full-time job, too. That’s fantastic news on the financial front (the equivalent of a 33% raise compared to my current salary)…but I don’t get paid to just sit around watching TV. I get paid to WORK! So that means all summer long I’ll be doing just that…working my tail off. At two different jobs. And then fall will be here, and spring, and summer. Wash, rinse, repeat (side note:  I haven’t turned in notice or anything, but I’ve basically decided in my own mind that next summer – summer 2017 – will be my last semester working for the part-time job. The logic was that I want to work there the full calendar year of 2016, but then I won’t want to quit mid academic-year, so I’d wait until the 2016-2017 year is over, which ends summer 2017).

On a surface level, its a bit overwhelming. The cruise was fantastic for a short-lived stint of relaxation. But I’m also longing for summer time and the long days and carefree nature it usually has associated with it for many of us in academia.

But when I find myself stressing out over the lack of time and amount of work to get done, I just stop and take deep breaths. I focus on the moment, write up a To Do list (this is strangely therapeutic for me), and start knocking out line item by line item.

This semester has tested me. It’s pushed me to my limits and I joke that it’s caused me chronic pain (I now regularly suffer from tension headaches. It sucks.). But I’ve consciously made all of these decisions with my debt in mind. I’ve taken on extra work, have two jobs, etc. because I WANT TO GET OUT OF DEBT!!!! This isn’t just for fun. It’s serving a greater purpose.

One of my 2016 goals is to pay $30,000 toward debt this year. But what if I do more? What if I actually kick off $35,000 in debt?

Then next year, when we aren’t saving for a down payment toward a house, what if we get up to $40,000 or $45,000 on debt payments?

We may only be a couple years from being fully debt-free!!! I know once the debt number gets smaller it’s just going to fly by.

We’ll get there. Probably sooner than I even think. It will happen.

So, in the meantime, please excuse my occasional whining about how busy/chaotic/crazy my life is. This, too, shall pass. And when it does, we’ll be that much closer to financial freedom!

For those who are currently debt-free, how long was your journey? How long did it take? For those still on the path, what’s your projected timeline like?


Monitor Worker Time with App Services

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The ability to monitor employee time sheets has greatly evolved over the course of the last 10 years. For decades, employees relied on the clock punch-card. This effective, yet flawed method for monitoring employee time proved straightforward, but it also opened up the potential for fraud and other issues. Eventually, as technology evolved and new options came to pass, it made fraud far more difficult. Now, it is possible for you to monitor worker time directly through your smartphone or tablet. With the Internet, data or Wi-Fi connection present, looking in on real-time employee time can make it far easier to meet payroll on time and to adjust worker hours accordingly.

Time Card Shift

timecard app

As more and more work shifted to the computer and Internet-based applications, software designed to run employee time cards came to fruition. This made it easier to monitor employees and current worker hours by logging into the software and checking the logs. The software also made it difficult for employees to log in for other workers who were either late to work, left early or had some other reasoning. The new tech shift allowed business owners such as yourself to save money on overpaying workers for time not spent at the work. However, in order to check employee time you still had to log into the computer and have a physical presence in the building. Now, this is no longer necessary as it is possible to install an app directly onto a mobile phone or tablet, which in turn gives you real-time access to employee hours.

App Based Monitoring Advantages

When you set the schedule, you make sure all of your shifts are covered and everyone receives as much work as they like (whenever possible). There are often exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, it is rather straightforward. So, why would app based employee time monitoring prove all that more beneficial to you over needing a presence in the building to check? Often times, other employees, especially on hourly based shifts, need to find someone to cover a shift. This on its own usually isn’t a problem, but if one employee picks up a few additional shifts, they might start to push closer and closer to overtime. Workers’ running overtime is an added expense you likely want to avoid. By monitoring worker time, you know when you may need to have someone go home early or when to tell one particular employee to not come into work.

Should you travel for business a good deal, you’ll likely miss a payday. Regardless of if you perform direct deposit or checks, missing a payday can prove difficult for employees. With the application, you can submit payroll information to your bank or other financial institution to make sure everything is covered. This way, no matter where you are or when payroll needs to go out, you shouldn’t have an issue with this ever again with the timesheet app.

timestamp app

Technology has shifted in recent years to make monitoring worker time far easier than ever before. Now you don’t need to wait until the end of the week or pay period to determine how many hours someone has worked. Instead, you can check this in real time from any device with an Internet connection. To succeed in business, you need to set yourself up for success. Reducing time theft and improving productivity helps you expand your budget and reach a better bottom line. Worker monitoring in real time allows you to do this.


April Savings Update – Hope

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My number one goal is to have a healthy savings account, not just for emergencies, but also in anticipation of moving again and needing to be ready for that. So this will be my monthly summary of my savings account:

MonthAmountBalance
April, 2016$100 - 4/18
$143 - 4/28
$243
May, 2016
June, 2016

This account is held at my primary bank, but I can only transfer money into it online, for any withdrawals, I have to visit the bank.  This works for me because it makes it harder for me to get to, well, hard enough that I don’t access it readily and without much thought.

 


Life on the Farm with Chickens

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Life has really slowed down for us.  I am spending 4-6 hours a day working on work or finding work or thinking about work, and then the rest is spent on schooling or sports with the kids.  Everyone is really happy with this move.  But we’ve also had some excitement…

History Buff with rooster

History Buff with our lone rooster – name Milo after my beloved dog.

Princess and Sea Cadet with our 25 chicks

Princess and Sea Cadet with our 25 chicks…living in our kitchen!

 

Yes, we’ve got chickens!  24 pullets and 1 rooster.  Our hosts ordered 450 new chicks for the farm and after filling their garage offered to let us care for some.  We are all thrilled!  We are learning a lot, enjoying playing with them and look forward to the day we can move them outside…three more weeks or so.

The hosts are covering all costs, we are just putting in the time.  So it’s a win-win.  The kids are literally spending hours playing with them, digging worms for their dessert and reading up on caring for them and their predators we have to be careful of.

And our hosts say that once they start laying eggs in the fall, we can help sell them at our local farmer’s market where they will take them.  Fun times all around!


Hope – Debt Update – April, 2016

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Yikes!  Ya’ll are right, I have not done a debt update in quite a while.  So I’ll make this short and sweet. The last update I found when I looked was this one from  August, 2015 Debt Update which was a couple of months before my whole world/plan blew up with the loss of my largest on-going client.

Here are my new debt numbers:

Debt NameCurrent BalanceInterest RateMin. Mo. PymtOriginal BalanceStatus
TOTALS$????$433?$97,934
Student Loan$33,3452.875%$99$31,687IBRP effective Aug, 2015
Yukon$9820% (6 months)$104$3568Ex pays $246 mo. towards this debt
Orthodontist$????0%$230?$10,800Working on plan April, 2016
Begins Sept, 2015
Checking Account$00%--$741Paid Off - Jan 2015!
CC Intro Rate - Retail #2$03.99%--$3500Paid Off - May, 2015
Personal Loan - Car$012%--$5000Paid Off - July, 2015
Credit Card - Consumer$013.90%--$4,974Paid Off - June, 2015
Credit Card - Retail$025.99%--$2,265Refinanced - Dec, 2015
Car Loan - Accord$00%--$1,900Paid Off - Dec, 2015
Car Loan - NV$06.79%--$31,138Sold - Dec, 2015
Line of Credit$015.95%--$1,248Paid Off
Credit Card - Retail #1$00%--$413Paid Off
Property Tax$00%--$700Paid Off

Just a couple of notes:

Student Loans – Needless to say, the income based repayment plan, while I am SO grateful for it, does not even cover the interest, thus the increase balance since last fall.  So this definitely needs to be on my radar as I get back on my feet.

Ex Husband’s Car Loan – You can see from the balance that both of us have been making payments on this one.  He is super motivated to get it paid off so he can get the title and do whatever.  I am super motivated to get it off my shoulders.  Hoping this one will be gone in the next month or so.  It’s still my number one goal.

Orthodontics – I have just finished negotiating with them after months of trying.  And we have reached an agreement.   So I will update the total now owed with the next update since I’m still waiting on the documentation, etc.

If you have been following the last couple of weeks, you will remember my choice to delay paying my last month’s rent in my apartment to cover the needed expenses for the month we moved.  I have not included that rent payment in my debt because it will be paid in full within the week.

So that is where I stand right now…


I’m On A Boat!

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Or….a cruise ship, to be more precise! ; )

I just wanted to pop in briefly to say HI!!!! We’re having a blast and loving life right now!

I’ve got a post I’ve written and scheduled to go live on Monday because I won’t be back into town until late Sunday night and then…you know…work. All that good stuff. : )

But I’m taking mental notes of all the fun things I want to share! How we’ve been able to do cruising right while still saving money! Plus so many regular posts I need to share (our April debt update, which will have to wait until May because I’m not checking my bank account records using public wifi; our April budget update, etc. etc. etc.)

In the meantime, I hope you’re all doing well! Sorry for the radio silence in the comments section. I’ll reply to comments when I return to main-land!

Have a great rest of the week!

~Ashley


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