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Interest Payments

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It’s that time of year again….TAX time!!!

Maybe some think of it as a “fun” time of year, particularly if you are expecting a refund (in which case…why are you doing that?? You’re essentially loaning the government money interest-free for a period of time! Change your withholdings so you end up with a smaller return. That means you’ll get more money in each paycheck!)

For our little family of entrepreneurs (him) and contract workers (me), this time of year isn’t so fun.

We pay estimated quarterly taxes, but last year we had underestimated our taxes and ended up owing a bit when April rolled around. This year, I fear the same thing may have happened. We haven’t finished taxes yet so I don’t know for sure, but I’m a little nervous of the bill we may find ourselves facing. We’ll see. *fingers crossed*

Relatedly, because I’ve started gathering the relevant documents, I’ve seen how much INTEREST we’ve paid this year and it is sickening!

Between student loans, the car loan, and the credit cards (note:  we no longer have credit card debt at this point, but before they were paid in full we did accumulate some interest from them at the beginning of 2014), we ended up paying a total of $5988.95 in interest.

Can you believe it? That’s sooooo much money to be simply giving someone in exchange for them lending us money. It sickens me as I think of all the things we could do with $6,000!

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of the interest came from the student loans (just over $3,000), the rest came from the car loan (a little less than $2500) and credit card debt (remaining).

I know you can deduct interest payments for tax purposes*, so that’s what we’re planning to do. Still, I’d much rather pay taxes on that $6,000 of income and get to keep the money in my pocket rather than paying it out as interest. Booo!!!!

Have you started figuring out tax stuff yet? Do you get a refund? How much did you pay in interest last year?

*I should mention that I know next to NOTHING about tax preparation, as I never do my own. Sooooo, don’t take anything I say about taxes as a 100% fact without double-checking for yourself : )


Ashley’s January Debt Update

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I pre-wrote and scheduled a couple of posts for today because I’ll be doing my campus interview all day (my itinerary is from 9am-7pm)!!! I probably won’t have a chance to respond to any comments until tonight or tomorrow so I just wanted to give you a heads up on that. Please send me some good vibes, positive thoughts/energy, prayers, good juju, whatever works for you! I am trying to come off as confident (but not cocky), enthusiastic and likable (but not desperate), professional, and articulate. Remember – I’ve kinda got all my eggs in one basket on this one, so it feels like a BIG day for me! Wish me luck!!!

The numbers are in and here’s how my debt has been shaping up this month…

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date (original debt, March 2014)
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March ($413)
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May ($1381)
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May ($7697)
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June ($2220)
License Fees$22082.5%250January ($5808)
PenFed Car Loan$159782.49%1000January ($24040)
Navient - Federal Student Loans$44448.25%16January ($4687)
Navient - Dept of Ed$722318.25-6.55%260January ($69191)
ACS Student Loans$210407.24%77December ($21035)
Medical Bills$64110%75January ($9000)
Totals$122,312 (Last month = 123,667)Total: $1,678Starting Debt = $145,472

Maybe it’s just because we’ve reached the 10-month mark so some of the newness and excitement has started to rub off a bit, but I’m just not as enthusiastic about my progress as I was early on in the debt-repayment process.

On one hand, we put over $1,600 toward debt this month! That’s great, right?!

On the other hand, my student loan balances went up. Again. (my minimum payments don’t cover the interest, so the balance keeps slooooowly growing).

And my total debt ($122,000+) is still so out-of-control. I cannot WAIT for the day that I break the $100,000 barrier and dip into the $99,999s.

Hubs ended up making an extra debt payment toward his license fees at the end of last month. So if you were to compare the balance this month to the one from last month, that’s why there’s a discrepancy (the table says $250 was applied this month, which is true, but hubs had made a payment of just over $250 at the end of last month, too, so it’s gone down by $500 compared to last month’s beginning balance).

Can I make a little confession that will become pretty apparent anyway real soon (when we talk about how the budget went this month)???

I ended up going a bit over on a couple categories this month. I think some of the holiday-spending spilled over into January and I was just a little too loosey-goosey on my spending. Nothing crazy or extravagant. Mostly just up to my old tricks again….spending too much on groceries and crap that we don’t really need because its oh-so-easy for me to justify grocery purchases as a necessity, even if they aren’t.

Anyway, my plan at the beginning of the month was to pay extra toward my student loans (above the minimums) so I could pay the interest in full and not have a growing balance. *Sigh* Having gone over on my grocery budget (by a lot, I should add), I re-allocated those funds to cover my frivolous food expenses and, alas, the student loan balances continue to grow. Very discouraging.

I will do better next month!

Another confession, since we’re on that train now…

Hubs and I have fallen off the wagon with our monthly finance talks, too.

For long time readers, you’ll know that hubs and I have a unique financial relationship (I talked about it here when I first started blogging). Some of it is changing (e.g., we’re adding each other to all of our accounts this month), but one of the big things is that I’ve always been the one to sit down and actually pay the bills. When I first started blogging we started loosely following a Dave Ramsey-esque type program where hubs and I would have a monthly budget discussion to decide exactly how to allocate that months’ funds.

Over the holidays we’ve sort of slipped back into our old patterns where hubs has simply given me money and I’ve put it where I think it should go. To be clear, I really am doing what I believe to be best with the money (in terms of debt allocations, etc.), but I do think it’s important for hubs to actually be in on these decisions rather than simply letting me handle the funds how I see fit. Things seemed to be moving faster and progress seemed to be better when we were working together. So that’s coming back at the end of this month as we discuss our plans for February.

Hopefully in the coming months we’ll see some stronger progress!

How’ve you been doing with your debt payments? How do you and your significant other handle finances/bills/etc?


Weekly Debt Update #1

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Hey everybody!

I’ve been doing some thinking and since I update my personal debt numbers on a weekly basis and tally my budget numbers, I’dd the same here. I give the run down of my week of week from what I paid on debt to what I spent.

So on Wednesday I got paid $924 (my normal $847.50 plus milage reimbursement for driving). I pay my electric bill on the 2nd week of each month which was $99.70. After I paid myself $70 for whatever gas and groceries (I tend to buy dog food and chicken to help out my girlfriend). This week I was able to make a payment of $752.93 on my Sallie Mae loans.

Rant alert- I really hate how Sallie Mae allocates how you can pay off loans. I’m in the automatic withdrawal program to get .25% off my interest rate on each of my loans. The automatic withdrawal gets made the 21st of every month. My due amount on the 21st is currently $467.91, which they lower as I pay off the loans (my initial payment after college was somewhere around $900!). At the beginning of the month, if I want to make a payment, they don’t allow me to choose which loan the payment goes towards until I’ve paid the full $467.91, even though I make this same payment on the 21st. I guess it’s not terrible in the sense that I’m paying off each of my loans with 2 payments a month plus what ever extra, but I could pay off the lowest ones so much quicker!

So here’s my debt numbers for the 2nd week of January:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid Off
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$24,462.48$3,374.76
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$19,189.15$3,007.87
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$655.99$20,036.11
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$7,723.61$2,226.57
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$5,356.99$739.04
Sallie Mae 06 & 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$57,338.22$53,249.44

And here’s how my budget stands:

Matt's Blogging Stuff

My sister is currently 8-1/2 months pregnant. I bought her a bunch of gifts and had them sent out of state to where she lives. That’s the $116.53 showing up in the misc. category. My $70 didn’t last too long this paycheck. I ended up spending it on a couple of restaurant dinners (totaling $20, but could have been avoided) that I could have avoided, $20 on gas and the remaining cash on groceries. As I type this on Monday night, I’m penniless until Wednesday.

For the coming week, I don’t see too many expenses. I owe my student loans on Wednesday and my folks are coming to visit, which I should be able to use my normal $70 to pay for any expenses with this, but normally we just hang out around the house. Barring anything that comes up between now and tomorrow, I should be able to make a nice loan payment.


Matt’s Debt Update

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Hey everybody! Happy Weekend! I want to share with everybody where I currently stand in my debt payoff and show everybody how far I’ve come:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Balance- August '13Balance- March '14Balance- September '14Balance- CurrentTotal Paid Off to Date
Sallie Mae- Private Loans
Composite (See below)$93,587.66$86,649.97$84,941.71$65,191.89$60,693.68$32,893.98
Sallie Mae- DOE LoansComposite (See below)$8,000.00$5,083.38$1,856.20$0$0$8,000.00
AES Student LoansComposite (See below)$9,000.00$1,100.11$0
$0$0$9,000.00

Citizens Bank Car Loan4.71$16,240.61$11,748.07$10,188.50 $0
$0$16,240.61
Debt Totals$126,828.27$104,581.53$96,986.41$65,191.89$60,693.68

I populated this chart with some important milestones in my debt journey. I want to show everyone my original debt totals as of my college graduation (May ’09), when I sat down and decided to pay off my debt for good (August ’13), my original BAD interview post (March ’14), my update to Ashley (September ’14) and my current debt totals (1/7/15). There’s one caveat to this- I didn’t acquire my Citizens Bank car loan until March ’12, but I wanted somehow to show everyone it’s original balance, so I stuck in with my May ’09 totals.

What I didn’t include here is my mortgage. I it track just like I do with my other loans, but my main concern here is ridding myself of my student loans. If people would like to see it, I have no problem including it, as well.

And now here’s the breakdown of my student loans:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Balance- August '13Balance- March '14Balance- September '14Current BalanceTotal Paid Off
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$26,493.12$26,210.03$25,443.30$24,841.55$2,995.69
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$20,794.59$20,558.16$19,949.39$19,480.87$2,716.15
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$18,473.10$18,039.17$3,424.33$2,965.20$17,726.90
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$9,172.55$8,923.87$8,370.22$7,966.07$2,384.11
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$5,801.57$5,739.61$5,571.75$5,439.99$656.04
Sallie Mae 064.75$4,484.9$3,935.73$3,824.74$2,262.38$0.00$4,484.9
Sallie Mae 074.75$1,930.19$1,693.88$1,646.13$0.00$0.00$1,930.19
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$3,603.87$1,856.20$0.00$0.00$5,000.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$1,416.22$0.00$0.00$0.00$3,000.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$1,100.11$0.00$0.00$0.00$9,000.00

I’m hoping this adds some clarity as to where I am, since I’ll be referencing these charts in the future. Please let me know if I have to make any tweaks to this!

Edit: Thanks to Sue for commenting that I should add the interest rates to charts. These have been added above.

-Matt


Matt Here

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Hello everyone! For those who may not know, I initially interviewed to be part of this blog last year with this post (Matt’s Intro). Unfortunately, I was not selected by the community to be one of the original 4 posters (tbh, I was a little heart broken). Despite this, I was not deterred from getting rid of my debt. Now that only 2 of the original bloggers remain, I was asked by Jeffrey (with some help from the other bloggers) to start blogging here on a weekly basis; I will be taking over the Tuesday spot. I could not be happier to share my journey with you.

A couple of months ago, I actually posted an update of where I stood in my debt journey in the comments section of one of Ashley’s posts. I’ll just copy and paste it in it’s entirety:

Well…. I hadn’t heard back from Jeffrey so I figured I’d give you an update…so here goes… From my introductory post, my debts were student loans @ $86,797.91, a car loan @ $10,188.50 and a mortgage @ $71,444.55. My current debt stands at $65,191.89 of student loans, no car loan (paid off last month) and $70,661.61 of the mortgage remaining. A quick calculation shows I’ve paid off $32,577.46 worth of debt in 6 months. I currently make $60,000 a year or $847.50 a week after all my with withholdings are taken out.

My original timeline, when I wrote my introductory piece, was to be debt free in 42 months. My current timeline is to be debt free in 23 months.

Here’s what I did to pay off so much so quickly in only 6 months:

  • I got rid of Directv, firstly. This saved me 89.37 per month. Unfortunately, I was locked into one of those 2 year contracts but you can get out if you pay them $20 per month remaining on the contract. I paid $260 to get out, but I recouped that money in only 3 months. I was only watching ESPN at the time and we have Netflix, which made cutting the cord easy.
  • I had almost $5,000 in an emergency fund which I decreased to $1,000 and used the $4,000 to pay down my car.
  • I had $1,000 in an investment fund which I cleared out to pay down my car.
  • We have a really good system in our house where I pay the mortgage and all the house bills (gas, electric, water, sewer, garbage and internet) and my GF buys all the food. This said, I have a weekly, $0 based budget, where I determine my weekly expenses and “pay myself” $70 cash from an ATM on payday for any misc. food and gas for my car. I then put the rest of the money towards debt. I get paid on Wednesday and by Thursday I normally have $0 in my checking account. The $70 I pay myself was a trial and error of which amount of money allows me to go the whole week with some cash, without having any left over on the next payday.
  • I do a lot of driving for work (which is usually where my $70 cash goes), which they reimburse at $.56/mile. I get paid for this and reimbursement for my cell phone at the beginning of each month. I use this extra to pay down debt, which can be anywhere from an extra $300-$600 per month.
  • I’ve sold a lot of things during the summer to make some extra money to put on debt,
  • By far the biggest thing I did to pay down the debt was withdraw from an old retirement fund I had with the government. When I fully withdrew the account it had roughly $24,000 of pre-tax dollars. After taxes and the penalty I was left with $15,000 or so. HIGHLY controversial (especially if you read over at Man vs. Debt) but I had help making the decision. I sought out a Dave Ramsey ELP (which is a fantastic program) who figured that for my age (27), my discipline and dedication, the amount of money was relatively low, I could pay it back quickly and it was ALL going towards paying down debt then the financial 10% penalty was worth the emotional benefit of having less debt. I don’t regret this decision for one bit.

As you can see, things are a lot different when you’re unmarried and without kids. I can sacrifice in many ways that you could never (and for good reason) do with your husband and two daughters. Although great for paying off debt, my lifestyle is certainly not without its cons either- I’ve lost touch with most of my college friends and even though my family is only 1.5 hr drive from me, I haven’t visited much in the past year. But in my opinion, it’s all temporary, and once the burden is gone, I can budget for night’s out and travel and vacations and all the other fun stuff I’ve forgotten about.

Thanks for listening and sorry for the length, just a lot to go over, lol. There’s light at the end of the tunnel!!

So that’s where I stood as of September 30th and not much has changed. I continued to pay down my debt into October, but given the holidays and needing a little distraction from debt pay down, I took “off” November and then used December to build my emergency fund back up. All said, I’m ready to hit it hard again and cannot wait to get some pushing and prodding from the BAD community!

I’ll be posting my as of 1/7/14 debt numbers at the end of the week.

-Matt


2015 Financial Planning & Goals

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Warning: This post is a bit of a doozy! Reminds me of when I first started blogging and would basically write a novel for each post! But everything is related so instead of breaking it up into separate smaller-sized posts you’ve got one monster post to contend with. Maybe make yourself a cup of coffee and settle in with a little snack. This is gonna take awhile!

One of the things I did over my winter blogging break was to analyze my 2014 spending and do some planning for 2015 budgeting and savings needs. I’m trying to shake up my budget categories a bit for 2015. For one, I want to do away with my “miscellaneous” budget all together. I want everything categorized. This will make it infinitely easier in future months/years to look back and easily see exactly where my money has gone (as opposed to this year…where I had to look at each month’s spending individually and start to categorize things on my own).

 

Basically, I wanted to see where this “miscellaneous” money was going and see if I could plan and budget for it. In addition to my normal budget categories (see latest budget here), here are some new categories I’ve come up with:

  • Gift-giving. I’ve greatly reduced the amount I’ve been spending on gifts since starting to blog here at BAD, but it’s not down to zero! This needs its own category.
  • House maintenance. Looking at the past year, this is mostly gardening-related stuff (some tools, plants, mulch), but it also includes things like light bulbs and cleaning supplies. There’s nothing too major cost-wise, but still enough random miscellaneous expenses to justify its own category.
  • Phone/Computer Items and Repairs. I broke my phone twice this year. I now have a serious heavy-duty case on it, but should the unthinkable happen again (fingers crossed), I decided to make this it’s own budgeted category. In addition to phone repairs, this year I had to buy a new charger for my computer and an external hard drive to back up my work, so expenses like that fall into this category as well.
  • Holiday expenses. Non gift-giving holiday related expenses. Things like Halloween costumes, 4th of July sparklers, and holiday decorations. This was also a relatively small category of spending.
  • Clothing purchases. I’ve actually successfully avoided the clothing-shopping bug this holiday season. I’ve mentioned before I’m not a big shopper in general, but I usually have one or two big shopping splurges a year where I’ll spend over $100+. This year I’ve done really well with making do with what I have and only filling in with absolute necessities (like when I had to buy a new pair of pants when my old ones had already been mended twice and were falling apart). Again – a small category in terms of money spent.
  • Work-Related. This was primarily for parking-related expenses when I would drive to campus for meetings. I haven’t been going to campus as regularly in recent months so some of these expenses have fallen away, but this also includes anything specifically work-related (e.g., licensing for special data analytic software, printer paper, ink cartridges, etc.)
  • One-Time Expenses. This was a tiny, tiny category but there were still a couple random things that came up that don’t fall within any other category. I’m calling them one-time expenses.

Please note, I will certainly NOT be spending money in each of these categories every month! For instance, I only spent money on work-related purchases 6 months out of this past year; only spent money on holiday expenses 3 months out of the past year, etc. But these will be categories that may pop up from time to time along with my regular budget categories, depending on what that month demands. Instead of having such a rigid, set number of budget categories, my new 2015 budget will be more fluid depending on that specific month’s needs. I think this will be a much better system overall.

What Else is Changing?

I did a careful analysis of all my monthly savings categories. It’s obvious that we were not budgeting enough toward dental and car maintenance, for instance. By tallying up our actual expenses for the full year, I was able to get a better picture of our real needs in these areas. Let me address each one individually:

 

Current

Saved

New

Plan

Explanation

Annual Expenses $100/mo $100/mo This is a perfect amount. It covers annual life insurance premium, car registrations, and Costco membership. It actually also left us a little bit extra leftover, but I’m not reducing the monthly amount saved because we’ll be adding life insurance for hubs soon, too.
Car Maintenance $100/mo $200/mo My calculations actually amounted to only $166/month needed for vehicle repairs, but I’m rounding up to $200/month because I know we will be needing to replace husband’s work truck at some point (probably this year), so I want to save a little extra. This will amount to $2400 saved for the year. Note that when we come up with an exact time frame to buy a new (new-to-us) work truck, this figure may need to be bumped up for a few months.
Dental/Vision/Health $125/mo $125+ ??? Our actual costs here would amount to needing $3651 for the year (just over $300/month). BUT, we’re going to purchase a dental discount plan in January and will see how much it will save us. Husband is going to go get a full exam and see exactly how much dental work he is quoted. I think we’ve covered the “big” stuff at this point (fingers crossed) and, in the meantime we’ll continue saving $125/month, but will adjust this number depending on his dental appointment with an in-network dentist.
Christmas/Travel $25/mo $25/mo Of course, this doesn’t fully cover our travel and/or Christmas-related expenses, but it was never intended to fully cover those costs. It does what it needs to do, which is to off-set some of the costs incurred. Any extra money needed will come from that month’s budget.
3-6 Months Expenses $25/mo $25/mo Ugh! Still owe you guys a post about the emergency fund. Right now, though, the amount being contributed will remain the same on a monthly basis.
Dog Expenses $10/mo $500/year Previously, I was only saving for potential vet expenses. I’m changing this category to cover food costs for the full year (about $50 every other month), plus the pet registration required by our county, and a couple hundred dollar buffer for potential vet expenses. I’ll likely fully fund this savings in January and just draw from it all year long.
Girls’ Birthday $10/mo $10/mo Staying the same
2014 Roth IRA $100/mo $100/mo Staying the same
TOTAL $495/mo  

$585/mo

 

(+ one-time $500 expense from the dog expenses category)

 

This brings me to…

My 2015 Financial Goals

In 2014 I paid monthly debt payments that equaled $25,091!!! This is actually a conservative number because it only includes the planned debt payments. Remember that before I was living on last month’s income I would often make debt payments bi-monthly: once was the planned debt payment (which this figure represents), and then I’d make a second payment at the end of the month with any extra “surplus” money from the month. (Side note for new readers: I did this because we have a variable income so I made conservative debt payments initially, then when I figured out exactly how much income we had for the month, I’d put any money leftover toward debt. Now that I live on last month’s income I know exactly how much money we have at the beginning of the month and, thus, have eliminated the need for any extra payments because I do a zero-based budget so there is no money leftover at the end of the month).

So my goal for 2015 is to pay at least $30,000 toward debt payments.

Whoa. That’s a big, huge number. $30,000 is a full annual salary for many people! To say we’ll put that much toward debt is certainly a lofty goal. But you have to shoot for the moon, right? ; )

What debts do I plan to eradicate from our lives with that $30,000???

Well, some of the money will be going toward minimum payments for all of our debts and interest, of course. But with extra debt money I plan to eliminate the license fees, car loan, and highest interest unsubsidized student loan. Then our only debts remaining will be medical bills and additional student loans. Don’t get me wrong – we’ll still have a ton of debt (I have almost $100,000 in student loans, alone), but it will feel so good to knock out some of these smaller debts in their entirety! So, so good, indeed.

How Will I Do This?

I’m a firm believer that all goals require careful and strategic planning. If you just pull a goal out of the air its really more of a hope or a dream. Goals, in my opinion, require more careful calculation than that.

So it might surprise you that my answer to this question (How Will I Do It?) is….”Who Knows!?” ; )

This year could potentially be full of many big changes. If I land a job here in Tucson then my salary will double and we won’t have any moving costs. Win! If I land a job elsewhere then my salary will more than double, but we lose husband’s salary and incur moving expenses. If I don’t land a job then I keep making what I’m currently making, try to find additional work, and husband focuses on building his business. Oh yeah, and I’d love to start saving for a house down payment at some point (once we know where we’ll be)! There are so many unknowns!

What I do know is that I want to keep working as hard as I can on reducing our debt. BUT, that being said, I do still plan to let up a little steam (just a teeny, tiny bit) in March 2015. Remember this whole post about finding balance??? It still stands. I don’t think I’ll give up the blogging (I love it and you guys too much), but don’t be surprised if you see a “date night” pop up in the budget every other month or so. That’s a big expense that we’ve done without for the majority of this past year (honestly, for the majority of the last 2.5 years since we had kids!!!). But I also think it’s important to nurture our relationship and while our kids have been infants/toddlers our marriage has taken a bit of a back seat. Don’t get me wrong – there’s no trouble in paradise or anything like that!!! But I think it’s time to make dating my husband and nurturing our relationship more of a priority in our lives. And even if we do so cheaply, it still costs money.

I’ve got one more curve-ball….

I’ve spoken before about retirement savings and how we’d like to start funding a Roth IRA. Although our contributions for 2014 are pretty measly, I’ve been talking more to hubs about it and we’ve come to an agreement about the matter. Once the highest interest student loan and license fees are paid in full, I want to bump up our Roth IRA contributions. Ideally, I’d like to work toward having fully funded Roths for both hubs and myself. We haven’t committed to an exact number yet at this point, so it may be that we double our current savings (go up to $200/month) or triple them (up to $300/month), or we could even aim to have fully funded Roths (about $458/month x 2, for each of us). We’re not there yet so I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with saving that much while our existing debt is still incurring so much interest. It’s something we’ll think about more moving forward (and feel free to weigh in on the topic). But just let it be known – once these two fees are paid in full (license fees and highest interest unsubsidized student loan), our Roth contributions will be increased…while still trying to hit the $30,000 mark for debt payments this year.

So cross your fingers for us or wish us luck (or call us crazy).

No matter what 2015 holds in store, I feel like it will be a very good year!

What are your financial plans for 2015? Any big budget changes? Any lofty financial goals? What do you think of our goals and plans?


Consolidation Station???

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The title of this post has nothing to do with anything, except it reminded me of the lyrics “conjunction junction, what’s your function” (from the School House Rock theme song).

This is a quickie post, but something that may solve some of the high student loan APR issues that I’ve been talking about recently (see discussion here, see list of debts and APRs here).

Any readers consolidate their student loans?

Have good experiences? Bad experiences? What are your thoughts??

I’ve heard that you can only consolidate a single time, but that would be okay with me. My credit has vastly improved across the last year as I’ve paid down my debts so I think I’d qualify for a lower APR. I don’t know the ins-and-outs. Would this impact my income-based repayment? Can I consolidate through the same company I already have or do I have to use some outside company? How does all this work???

For the record, IF (big if) this happens, I would absolutely 100% only do this in order to lower my APRs. I would not start spending money elsewhere or think this means I can pay less toward my student loans. It’s strictly an interest rate thing.

Thoughts? Experiences? Advice?

I assume I’d need to start by calling and speaking to a representative at one of my loan companies (I have two companies:  Navient and ACS). Before I even take that next step I’d just like to poll the audience (YOU!!) and get your opinions on the matter.

Thanks in advance!!!