Navient Issues

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Thank you so much for your encouragement and support on my posts this past Monday (first post about paying off 2 additional debts and the second post about doing a balance transfer to pay off a high interest student loan). I was expecting a bit of backlash but overwhelmingly received lots of virtual high fives and words of support. Thank you!!!

So I just have to tell you what I’ve been dealing with this month with my student loan company, Navient. It just further solidifies my feelings that this balance transfer was the RIGHT move for us.

To back up a bit…remember this post? I wrote about how I wanted to pay extra on certain loans (and not on others) and how it would require me to make an additional payment (after the minimum payment was already applied) which would be applied equally to all loans, and then I’d have to call and have the payment re-applied only to the loans I requested. This process would have to happen every single month.

WELLLL…..let me just tell you about the extreme headache I’ve had dealing with Navient just for this balance transfer…

I’m currently 6 calls deep and over 2 hours of time invested in the process. This is because (surprise, surprise) the balance transfer was incorrectly applied toward the WRONG loan. My initial call was simply to have the funds moved to the correct loan.

“It will take 5 business days.”

A week later, no changes. I call again.

“It will be done by the end of business tomorrow.”

I check back. No changes.

“It will be done by the end of business today.”

I check back. This time the payment has been REMOVED from the wrong loan….but nothing has been applied toward the correct loan. It’s like that payment is just gone.

I call again.

“It should be done by the end of business tomorrow.” (seeing a pattern here?)

No changes. I call again.

“So weird. It shows like it was done on our end. There was some type of glitch in the system. I’m going to get my supervisor involved.”

38 minutes later (that’s the actual time from my cell phone record)….no change. According to the person, “it should be done by end of business today.”

LoL. Yeah. I won’t hold my breath, buddy.

Eventually it WILL get sorted out. Now it’s been well over 10 days, but I’ve been assured that since the error is on THEIR end that I won’t be charged for any interest that has continued to accrue (my payment was for the full 10-day payoff amount as of 4/2…but with interest the loan balance has continued to creep up).

So the moral of the story is that I am over the moon thrilled that I came to realize that balance transfers are the way to go for us. This issue is a one-time thing (sure, it’s taking a long time to resolve, but once its resolved it will be over and done!) I cannot even imagine trying to fight this battle every single month. It’d be enough to put me in the loony bin (or just give up on paying extra only toward certain loans!)

I did have a question that I wanted to address about my loans….

I do currently pay extra on my Navient Federal Loan. The way the system is set up, it groups all my Department of Education loans together (which is why its incredibly difficult to pay extra on just a single loan). But my Navient Federal loan (I only have one, not multiple) is separate. So it’s totally easy-peasy to pay extra on it. My Federal Loan is my other highest interest loan (at 8.25%…I think I’d accidentally said it was 8.5% somewhere else, but that was incorrect). The minimum payment is $16/month and I’ve been paying $116/month for the past several months (see debt payments here). My plan is to continue to pay extra on that loan both because of the higher interest rate and also because its easy for me to do so in the online system. My balance transfer loan, however, will be paid a little more aggressively (since it HAS to be paid within 12 months to avoid a huge interest penalty). So the plan is to continue paying $116/month on the federal loan, and to pay $500/month on the balance transfer loan (which was originally 1-01 on my Department of Education Loans listed in this post).

I owe you a debt update (coming on Monday), but if you want to see balances and APRs of my other debts, my last debt update post (from March) can be found right here….and my Pandora’s Box post, where I finally separate all of my department of education loans, can be found here.

So there you go. I just wanted to add a little bit of detail and clarification here and to reinforce my opinion that this balance transfer was absolutely the right move for us!

Thanks for your continued support and encouragement along the way!

Have you ever struggled to pay extra toward certain loans? How’d you solve the problem?


New Clothes : My Uniform

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I stumbled upon this article this week regarding a woman who has created and wears a uniform to her office job every day.  I could totally relate.  For years now, I have worn the same style outfit on a daily basis with the exception of church and client meetings.  Ok, sometimes even to church because I don’t think God cares what I wear but on occasion I worry about other people’s thoughts.

But here’s the issue.  My clothes are now getting worn out…literally holey.  And as comfortable and un-caring as I am about my daily appearance, umm, well I’m not going to look “shabby chic” with holes in my clothes.  So I’m going to have to break down and buy some new clothes and unfortunately, due to my size, the thrift shop is just not an option.  Ugh!

I’m trying to decide how to fit this in my extreme budget as it is going to have to happen sooner rather than later.  I have two thoughts:

  1. Use some of the “extra” income I have made from little side jobs to finance the new clothes.
  2. Wait until July when my consumer debt is paid off and reward myself with new clothes from my existing income.
  3. Or ???

We are in midst of switching our closets from our winter to our summer clothes so it’s been a good time for me to take inventory.  And if you haven’t figured it already, I am not a clothes hog at all.  But thus far this is what I think I need.

  1. 1 pair of jean shorts.  I currently have 1 pair that is in serviceable condition and I wear them 2-3 times per week during the warmer months.  Would be nice to have another.
  2. 2 pairs of long pants.  I currently have 3, but two are in really bad shape.  I could probably get away with 1 for the summer months since I will really only wear them for client meetings or church.
  3. 1 pair of short pants.  I currently have 2, but both are really close to be un-wearable.  I wear them when we go in public, somewhere where I don’t think wearing shorts is the right option.  I’m sure some women can relate.
  4. 4-5 shirts.  This is wear I’m really hurting.  I don’t know if it’s the tussling with the dogs or just the age of the shirts, but my shirts are in really bad shape, and they are one thing I won’t wear multiple times between washings.  Gross!  So really need almost all new ones.

In looking at this list, I think I can easily get everything for less than $200.  So I’ve got some figuring to do.  I just hate to spend money on clothes because as long as their are clean and serviceable, I truly don’t really care.  Fashion has never been my thing, I’m definitely more into comfort and when I do have extra money would much rather spend it on traveling rather than trendiness.

 


Ooh, ooh, ooh, I may have another new job!

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Are you feeling like it’s ground hog day since my post this morning was almost identical in title?  I would like to say that I’ve been busy marketing myself and applying for work, but really the opposite is true.  I’ve been really busy working hard for my existing customer and bolstering those relationships.  And as a result…I got another local referral for a small business website.

I met with them last week, submitted my quote today for a larger website project and with the possibility of an ongoing maintenance relationship.  I have a good feeling about it.

So keep your fingers crossed for me!

Update: In between writing this post and it posting…I got the job.  Picked up the deposit check yesterday and started on the work today.  Love, love!


Ooh, ooh, ooh, I got a new job!

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Ok, no, I’m not switching careers and I’m not losing any of my current work. But I thought it was really cool how the part time job I had this past summer has come back again.  As you will recall from April through October of last year, I worked part time, outside the home at a local office doing general admin work.  I eventually resigned as it was just too much with everything else.

Well, needless to say I left on really good terms and really liked my boss.  I wrote about my resignation here.  Well, about a month ago, she contacted me about doing some work on their website…I went in met with her and did a couple of hours of work on the site.  Well, yesterday I went back in for a second meeting with her and her boss…and now I’m on a small monthly retainer with them to maintain and support their website and social media.  Woot, woot!

It’s not a lot of money, but it is regular income I can count on, more than replaces the part time income I was getting last summer and I can do it from home.  A giant win all around!  And I truly do enjoy working for this boss, I really admire her!


Weekly Debt Update #11- Unexpected Expenses and Overreactions

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Hey Everybody!

So this past Sunday, as I was getting ready to go to the gym, I was searching for a water bottle in our attic (which is finished) I noticed something I’ve never noticed before- water damage. Ugh! Just on the eve of GF’s and my get-away, I had to find this.

What I noticed was bubbling and stained paint on the ceiling and sure enough, when I touched it the drywall was moist (not soaked, thankfully). Check out what it looks like:

Roof Leak

Now, it looks like the previous owners had some issues with this too as it’s fairly evident its been patched in before, but we were told it was fixed. Like I said- I’ve never noticed it before. The attic isn’t a place I venture too often (maybe once or twice a month) but I know I would have noticed it before had it been there. I’m thinking (and hoping) the reason is from ice damming on the roof from over the winter (which was notoriously bad this year). The ice on the roofs only just melted 3 or so weeks ago, so this is my feeling. I’ll start removing the drywall and insulation to make sure there isn’t any mold growth in the meantime. I’m hoping if it’s from ice dams, then I should be able to mitigate future issues (by shoveling the roof) until I’m out of debt and have significant savings to have it all fixed (think 2 more winters). If it’s worse, well, I don’t know. I have $1,200 in my slush fund to see if I can have patching done to the roof to buy me some time. If worse comes to worse, I can stop my debt payoff and build my savings. Thankfully, since my expenses are so low, I can bring my savings up fairly rapidly- about $5,000 in 2 months. Here’s hoping for the best!

I also want to share a problem that I have.

For some reason or another, and it doesn’t happen too often: I overreact. Like badly overreact. I can only count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone overboard in my whole life, but for some reason, this roof leak deal sent me over the edge. Let me walk you through what happened and my thought process of the whole ordeal:

  1. I wake up at 7:30AM as GF is leaving for work. I make coffee, peruse the internet and putz around the house for a little while until I feel like going to the gym, at about 9:30.
  2. I get my gym bag ready but realize I don’t have a water bottle. I can’t find one any where else in the house, so I decide to check the attic.
  3. I open the door to the attic, and look up to notice a water stain on the ceiling. I touch it and feel that it’s damp. I also peel away some of the paint.
  4. So do I analyze the situation in a thoughtful and engineer-like manner? No, of course not.
  5. My mind instantly dives into the worst case scenario- I have to replace the whole roof.
  6. How much is it going to cost is the next thing I think of. My mind settles on $5,000.
  7. How am I going to get this money? Cut every and all expenses in my life, therefore I can have it saved up in roughly 6 weeks. My past couple weeks of easing the debt payoff pace is for naught. I decide I have to cancel anything and everything I’ve (and we’ve) planned, including our B&B stay this weekend.
  8. I next think of how to increase my income- back to the part-time gig deal. I can bring in an extra couple hundred dollars a month.
  9. What if the damage is so significant that the houses structure is permanently damaged beyond repair? Throw in an extra $5,000

OK, so mind you this all takes place within a matter of, at the most, 2 minutes. I spent the next hour pacing the house and cleaning and getting my heart rate up (better than a workout!). GF gets home not long after and I tell her the whole story, including steps 1 thru 9. Her response: you’re overreacting.

Even in the face of confrontation, I was certain I was right: the roof needed replaced, the structure of our house was unstable, and I resented ever buying the place. It took a long discussion, a few examples, and some fresh air to finally bring it home: I overreact, and when it happens, I overreact bad. And now a couple days later, it doesn’t seem so bad. I’ll check it out more in the next couple of days and analyze the situation from there.

When an unexpected expense comes up, how do you react?

Here’s where I stand with my debt payoff:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid Off
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$24,119.47$3,717.77
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$18,924.45$3,272.57
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
$20,692.10
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$7,498.52$2,851.66
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$3,009.63
$3,086.40
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$0.00$9,000.00
TOTALS$110,587.66$53,552.07$57,035.59

Hope everybody has a great week!


A new twist

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This morning I shared the exciting news that I’ve finally paid off two more of our debts! YAY!!!!

I’m sure many of you wonder(ed) what this means in terms of our order of debt attack. Which debt will we target next?

Financial folks have made a strong case for turning our attention to the student loan debt (due to the super high interest rate). I’ve maintained my opinion that the car loan debt is more personally motivating and, therefore, my favored option.

About a month ago I finally broke down my largest student loan debt into all of its constituent parts, showing you exactly how high each debt is and what its associated interest rate is (see here).

I studied all our debts, interest rates, etc. After much thought and consideration, hubs and I have decided to do something a bit drastic with my highest interest rate student loan that is sure to be a bit controversial.

We decided to do a balance transfer.

Yep.

The deed’s already been done. I called all my credit cards to see whom would do a balance transfer on a student loan (many will not), and found that my Capital One card would be willing to do a transfer at 0% APR for 12 months, with a 2% initiation fee. I sat on it for several days, called back 2 separate times to ask about getting a reduced initiation fee (which they declined), and finally decided to do it anyway. My highest APR student loan is 8.5%, with a balance of $5,820.95. To this I’ve added the initiation fee ($116.42) for a total balance of $5937.37. To pay this in full within 12 months I’ll be adding a $500 monthly debt to my debt list (in addition to my other student loans, the last remaining medical bill, and my car loan).

Being that I’ve knocked out so many other debts, I feel completely comfortable with the 12-month timeline. There is absolutely nothing that will prevent us from being able to pay this loan in full by the time April 2016 rolls around. In the meantime, I’ll also continue paying extra on my car loan, while paying lower amounts (just enough to cover interest) on my remaining student loans.

I like this balanced approach for several reasons:

  • It gives me a smaller, more manageable-sized debt to deal with.
  • It will save me hundreds of dollars in interest.
  • It makes it easy to pay extra toward this single loan (instead of having to call Navient every month to try to apply funds toward this account, I simply apply money toward my Capital One card online, which is super easy since I also have a Capital One 360 account <<refer a friend link).
  • It allows me to continue making big progress on my car loan (which is my personal preference) while also simultaneously making big progress on my highest interest rate student loan (which is the more financially sound decision).

Now, I want to acknowledge that doing a balance transfer to pay off a student loan is inherently risky. Stephanie from Six Figures Under has actually written several posts on the topic that I think do a great job of explaining the pros and cons, and in ultimately defending her position of doing the same thing (she and her husband have now successfully paid off one balance transfer and have just initiated a second balance transfer).

Doing a balance transfer to pay off student loan debt is not for everyone. I’m in a unique situation in that I have a lot of extra wiggle room in our debt payoff budget. Our minimum payments are now down to $478/month (that’s $453 minimum on student loans, and $25 minimum on medical bills; I have no payment due on the car loan until April 2016). My goal is to keep paying $2,000+ toward debt each month. But if we got in a bind, it’d be very easy for me to reduce extra debt payments in favor of getting this balance transfer loan paid off quickly.

So there’s my reasoning and rationale about the topic. I fully understand that some of you will simply be against balance transfers no matter what (and it’s your right to have whatever opinion you want on the matter). But for me and my family, this is the right choice. I’ll finally be taking my student loans off the back-burner to become a bit more of a priority. I’ll simultaneously continue making big strides with my car loan debt and will continue chipping away at our other remaining debts. I’ll also be saving a ton of money on interest. It’s a win-win-win all around!

Have you ever successfully completed a balance transfer before? What was your experience like?


Poof – Be Gone!

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Wow, it has been a loooooong time since I’ve paid off a balance in full! When I first started blogging I was knocking debts out left and right (and, to be fair, some of them were pretty small debts). But for the past several months I’ve just been chip-chip-chipping away at some of the bigger debts.

I’m so glad that I can finally report that I’ve knocked another couple of debts off my debt list! (See last debt update here)

First up on the chopping block, I’ve finally paid off the second of our 3 monthly medical bills. We started off 2014 with 3 separate monthly medical bills: $75/month, $50/month, and $25/month. First I knocked out the $75/month bill (this actually happened this past November 2014). This month I’ve officially paid the last of the bill for the $50/month payment! Wahooo!!!! This still leaves us the $25/month bill (which also happens to be the largest balance = $6136), but its interest free so I have no intention of paying anything extra to it until other high-interest debts are gone. Regardless, I’m excited to be rid of the $50/month payment, which represented our bill for a specialist (neurologist) from when husband had a mystery illness at the end of 2013. See ya later, Dr. Neuro man! Or no….hopefully we WON’T see you later! Enjoy the money, hope you’ve had a nice vacation on us! (I’m being cheeky, but we really are grateful for the doctor’s services, of course. Just glad this bill is finally gone after over a year of paying on it!).

Next up on the chopping block, my personal favorite (and hubs’ too)….we’ve finally paid off the last of our remaining license fees!!! We had ignored this debt for a long time, and even when payment plans were arranged, the initial amount due was over $10,000. At the time I was a grad student making $500 every other week, hubs didn’t make much more, and it felt like these fees would NEVER be paid off. Oh man, I could go on and on about all the things I WISH this money had been spent on, how foolish we were, etc. Suffice it to say the lesson has been learned many, many times over. These fines represent mistakes we will never repeat for the rest of our lives.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 2.41.19 PM

This is just one of 2 pages of fees. Love seeing those zeros!

 Oh the euphoria of paying of these debts (but the license fees, in particular)!!!

Now we’re officially down to only 3 categories of debts: the remaining medical, the car loan, and (dun dun DUUUUUN) the monstrous student loan debt.

To this end, I have some news to share with you later today. Be sure to check back this afternoon!

Can I get a “Wahoo!!!!” for these paid off debts? Feels oh so good! What’s your latest debt to pay off? What was your most psychologically-pleasing debt to pay off?


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