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Happy Friday

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Hi, friends!

It’s been a busy week (first week of classes and all)! It’s been crazy juggling everything but I really LOVE my job! I have so missed being in the classroom and am enjoying every second of it (though…..not so much with enjoying our faculty “retreat” which is being held at the STUDENT UNION on a SATURDAY AFTERNOON!!!! What the heck? In comparison, my last department always had the retreat at a fancy-pants resort with catered lunch on a weekday so it took the place of a workday. What kind of cheap stuff is this? I guess they’re just balancing the budget but I say bah, humbug about it!)

ANYWHO, I have a couple half-written posts but they’ll have to wait until Monday. Instead, a commenter (shout out, Brooke!) just left me a link to this Huffington Post article and I had to pass it along to anyone else whose suffered at the hands of Navient! We’re all very familiar with my ongoing struggles with the company! I’m very curious what might happen if they’re sued and what the potential outcome could be for us “little guys” (the student loan debtors).  Interesting stuff. Check it out if you have a moment.

In the meantime, I hope you have a happy Friday and a great weekend! Chat with you on Monday!

 

Update:  You guys won’t believe this! I decided to check up on my Navient loans just for fun (I check them at least a couple times a month). Remember when I lamented that my ACS loans were being transferred to Navient’s care? Well, the migration has finally happened! Only….now my old ACS loans are being listed as unsubsidized even though they were subsidized loans when I took them out! This makes a big difference because I’m on income based repayment (IBR) and, with this plan, any unpaid interest on subsidized loans is forgiven!!! So – intentionally or not – Navient is trying to screw me out of a few bucks of interest every month, that is then capitalized and increases all the time!!! Are you freaking kidding me, Navient?!? ARGH, I don’t have time right now to call their customer service but if they’re open on weekends they’ll be getting a call from me and, if not, first thing Monday they’ll be hearing from me!

Friends – always be on top of your loans! I’m hoping this was some type of glitch/mistake, but this is not right! It’s why the company has been investigated for years and cited with all kinds of instances of overcharging interest, etc. Debt free is the way to be!!!


Weekly Debt Update #22- Life After Debt

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This past week, I’ve done some thinking on what life after debt will be like once all my student loans are paid for. It’s actually something I think about quite often, well not really think per se, more like daydream. So this past week I started formulating plans of what I’m hoping to accomplish. I know a couple things I want to do for sure:

  1. Take a vacation. Not entirely sure where, yet, but I would love to do a 4 or 5 night stay at Universal Studios Orlando. I’m a big theme park guy and I haven’t been here in 15 or so years. From what I’m hearing about the new Harry Potter lands and all the money Universal is investing, the park is on par with Disney, or may even be better. I’m going under the assumption that for me and GF, it’s going to cost about $5,000, which I should be able to save up within a couple months of being debt free.
  2. I want to save up a larger emergency fund is a cash account. I just don’t know how much. Rule of thumb is 3-6 months of expenses. My expenses are quite low, so I’m looking at keeping $5,000 in this emergency fund. I have $2,000 right now, so having that extra $3K will definitely give me more piece of mind.
  3. I want to increase how much I put into paying off my mortgage. But I only want to do it by a slight margin. I’m paying $150 a week currently to make a monthly payment of $600. I’d like to increase my payments to $200 a week.
  4. I’m going to decrease my 401K contribution to the minimum (4%) to get the company match. I’ll use a fairly good portion of my after tax income to fund an investment account for a, hopefully, early retirement. I’d like to do between $300-$400 a week. This is a big one, since I want to save up a pretty large nest egg, but there’s a ton I feel like I’m putting off (like home renovations) that I could do with an extra $400 a month.
  5. I’ll definitely going to increase our fun having and my week allowance.

It seems like I have more plans than paycheck right now, so I’m going to really look at this and determine what my future priorities are. I’ve felt that I’ve wanted to early retire for a few years now, and that hasn’t changed. Thinking about it, I think retirement may be the wrong word to use here- I really just want to feel that I have options and choices- where, when, how much and if I want to work. Of course saying all this, I don’t have any children at the moment either. It’s easy to sit here and think of all these nice things to do being a non-married, childless adult. All this could change in an instant!

AS for my debt payments made in the last week, here it is:

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid OffPaid Since Last Week
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$23,719.92$4,117.32$57.03
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$18,604.04$3,592.98$47.52
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
$20,692.10$0.00
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$4,455.68$5,894.50$854.91
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$0.00$6,096.03$0.00
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00$0.00
AES6.8$9,000.00$0.00$9,000.00$0.00
TOTALS$110,587.66$46,779.64$63,808.02$959.46

In other news…

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Totally unrelated to money, but….

The building I work in is super old. One of the oldest on campus (and our campus was built in the 1800s so…). Anyway, the elevator is ancient and moves at the pace of a snail. It’s not actually broken. It’s always that way.

But I think people often panic by how slow-moving it is and think the elevator is broken and/or they’re stuck in it. There’s an alarm you can push if the elevator breaks and from my office I hear people push it probably about once every 15-20 minutes. And it’s still the summer. Can’t imagine what it will be like when the Fall semester begins and people are in-and-out all the time! Constant alarm buzzing???

Also…the elevator kinda scares me, too. I know its just slow and will eventually get there/open, but its an unsettling feeling to be inside and worry that you might get stuck (I’ve been stuck in an elevator before for 45 minutes! It sucked!). So I always opt to take the stairs. Being on the fourth floor, I feel like I’m getting some pretty good exercise. So I guess that’s a positive. ; )

Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? I’m not even claustrophobic, but I remember feeling totally panicked! I was a grad student at the time and had a ton of journal articles with me so I sat on the floor and started reading to try to occupy my mind so I wouldn’t freak out. The fire department eventually came and rescued me but it took forever and I was late to class!


Second Job Offer?!?!

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Say what?

Yes.

Just now I opened my email and found an email from the “other” department saying they are posting an ad soliciting an instructor/undergraduate coordinator and they would like for me to apply for the position. The ad should be posted by the end of the week and they hope to have a quick hire (7-10 day turnaround).

What? WHAT?!

My Mom (the real estate broker) says I’m like an empty house. I’ve sat on the market without any offers for months and then – all of the sudden – there’s a bidding war! (haha! Gotta love my mom, comparing me to a house!)

I haven’t responded yet. I was planning to email them today to say that I’d just signed a contract with another department but I haven’t actually signed yet and I wanted to wait until everything is 100% official before closing that door.

So what should I do? I’ve exchanged a couple emails with the department where I’ve received an official offer letter today. We’re still working on an exact salary number but I expect that negotiations should wrap up tomorrow and I also bet that my salary with this department will be higher than they could offer in the “other” department.

So should I reply now and say I’m unavailable – that I’m in contract negotiations with someone else? Or should I wait until the contract is officially signed and leave them hanging in the meantime?

I seriously cannot believe I’m even in this place. Just a few weeks ago I was unsure if I’d ever get a full time offer, and now I’ve basically got two? Craziness!


May 2015- Month in Review

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I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Here’s quick look at my May 2015 month in review:

  • Mother’s Day came and went (here). I visited my mother in Buffalo with some fresh cut flowers and a hand written note expressing our gratitude towards her. We celebrated at home with a little goody bag, a dinner of my making and a relaxing night in, watching our favorite show.
  • I paid off another student loan (here)! This one had an original balance of $6,096 when I graduated college.
  • I shared my feelings about the importance of support groups (here)
  • Memorial Day came and went (here). I used my fun fund ($50) to buy all that we needed for a family picnic. We also had a fantastic day at the local amusement park. The fun fund was a great idea that I’m going to continue using until the debt payoff is complete.
  • We planted a (small) garden in our backyard (here)! Kudus to my GF as she did 99% of the work- I was mostly there for moral support. We planted a variety of the vegetables we use most- tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and hot peppers. Update- the plants are doing great and we’re starting to see our first peppers!
  • I discussed what will be the hardest part of journey- paying of the large loans  (here). Update- I’m using July as both a physical vacation (I’m going to Walt Disney World for 7 days) and a financial vacation before I hit the large loans hard. I’m going to pay off my minimums, but the rest of my money will be put towards both vacation and other things I’ve put off.

From a financial standpoint, I’ve hit a big milestone:

  • I’m under $50,000 in student loan debt!!
  • I paid off Sallie Mae 05!
  • And overall, I paid off $2,603.04 in debt. It was a big month for debt payoff.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Summer Book Club

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Hi Friends! I hope you’re having a great Friday and beginning of your weekend!

I just had an idea I wanted to run by you all.

Soooo, when I first started blogging here last March (2014) I read a TON of financial books. Some that had been on my reading list for a long time and hand’t gotten around to yet (yes, I’m the dork who keeps a “To Read” list much like a “To Do” list), and some that you guys recommended when I first started blogging.

But now it’s been awhile since I’ve read a financially-relevant book and I’d like to bring them back for the summer. But why read them alone? Aren’t book clubs way more fun?

So I went down to my library and picked up this little diddy the other day:

ramsey

Photo credit from Amazon (not a referral link). I took a picture of my library book but I’m having technical difficulties and none of my photos are loading to my computer. Don’t know if its a computer problem or phone problem but it’s really been frustrating! Techie people – any tips? I don’t even know how to diagnose what might be wrong… Moving on…

Wanna read it with me?

If so, I’d definitely recommend getting it from your library for FREE (they have physical copies, electronic download options, and even books on CD). I also saw on the Dave Ramsey website that they’re only $10 right now. Again – I’d save the cash and just borrow it for free, but wanted to provide some options. You may be able to find it cheap at a used book store, too.

So my plan is to read one financially-relevant book per month over the summer (June-August). I’ll let you know what I’m reading at the beginning of the month and if you want to join the book club then just pick it up and read with us! I’ll post my thoughts at the end of the month.

Also, this was kind of on a whim so I didn’t ask opinions on what to read this month, but if there’s a financially-relevant book you’re dying to read (or have read and would recommend) let me know in the comments section and maybe I’ll pick it for one of the other summer months to read.

Have a safe weekend all! See you on Monday!


Final Update from Adam and Emily

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Finally, the most important update of all! Shortly after we stopped blogging in 2014, Emily and I learned that we were expecting our firstborn daughter! We had been hoping for a gift from the stork and were overjoyed by the news. We spent most of last year in anticipation of our arrival, and she came into the world on Thanksgiving Day last year with our family all around us! It was the blessing of a lifetime. She is perfectly healthy and is one of the happiest babies we’ve ever seen. She’s now 5 months old and is doing very well, above the 99th percentile in height. We are blessed beyond measure and had a fabulous holiday season. Emily has done a great job taking care of her as a stay-at-home mom.

baby family

Financially, adding to our family was not the impact I expected it to be. We are grateful for a generous insurance policy that minimized our out-of-pocket medical expenses. I didn’t track it precisely, but I think we probably paid about $1000 out of pocket for all of Emily’s prenatal care and labor and delivery costs. We are thankful to have been able to pay it in cash (although I milked the hospital’s 0% interest policy to wait until our tax return arrived to pay the final bill). Friends and family have been more than generous with supplies and clothing and gift cards! Emily did a great job of thrifting and finding a ton of the stuff we had to buy at a deep discount used. I believe our Jenny Lind crib was about $30 used in perfect condition. We painted the nursery ourselves and I made some floating shelves, and we bought some cheap Ikea curtains and a used Pottery Barn changing table/dresser for I think $60, and a used daybed for the nursery for $75.

I also noticed that although there are some extra costs associated with the baby, like diapers and clothes, I have a hunch that we actually haven’t increased our overall spending, because we don’t eat out or go out as much, and have probably been spending less on things like personal care and other things for ourselves. I’m sure child costs will go way up as she gets older, but for now it’s probably been a wash financially month to month.

In the flood of emotions that a father-to-be experiences in anticipation of his daughter, I also made a toybox out of reclaimed cedar fence pickets that turned out so well it may become an heirloom piece! That was a fun project.

toybox

Emily decided not to keep refinishing furniture during her pregnancy to make sure we didn’t take any health chances with the baby and chemicals/fumes. She picked up a couple different retail sales jobs through 2014 to help us get ready for the costs of the baby as well. Her extra income really made a huge difference in offsetting the little costs that pop up, and we also took a quick Baby-moon to Puerto Rico last fall that we absolutely loved! A babymoon vacation is a splurge to be sure, but PR has great airfare rates, and we planned our own itinerary at reasonably priced hotels and ate well at local places for a decent amount of money. And another getaway for the two of us is nowhere in sight, so I’m glad we did it.

Odds and Ends
Thanks for reading and commenting on all of our updates. As I mentioned we’ve been busy, and we’ve made great financial progress, and are almost debt-free! Here are some additional odds and ends that might tie off some threads from our previous blogs.

– Our cars now have 210,000 and 85,000 miles. The older one is going to have to be replaced soon. I had hoped to get 250,000 miles out of it, but I have my doubts, as things keep breaking. I am tempted by some of the new pickup trucks on the market, but I am committed to never paying another car payment again in my life. We’ll be saving toward a car during the next year or so as well.

– We never have done a great job of getting back onto a monthly spending plan. I did start direct depositing the money needed for monthly bills into a separate account to pay bills directly, so our checking account gets whatever is leftover and that’s all available for spending. We are managing to keep our spending under control overall just by making sure we don’t blow our checking account.

– I also took a risk and signed up for a rewards credit card last year. We had desired to do more travel to see family, and so we thought that playing the miles and points game might enable us to afford more travel. So far it’s been great, but I don’t recommend it for everyone…the temptation is always there to spend more than we can pay off every month. But we’ve been able to put some monthly bills directly on the credit card to rack up points on spending we’d do anyway. I ended up signing up for the Chase Ink card which had a 50,000 points bonus if you signed up inside the branch. It’s a business card, which they let me have because I have rental properties, and interestingly, doesn’t seem to hit my personal credit report at all.

– I have been using the website Credit Karma to monitor my credit and I really like the changes they’ve made recently. You now have access to 2 free full credit reports all the time. After some late payments on my rental property in 2010 that hit my credit score, I have finally rebuilt my scores to the 740 range. Not that I plan to use it anytime soon, unless we decide to purchase a home in California.

That’s about all I can think of to bring you up to speed on!  Maybe we’ll check in again in the future as we get closer to knocking out that student loan or as we get on our feet in California.  Godspeed!