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Lets Talk Numbers!

October 14th, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Got a nasty cold and am feeling down right yucky. If there wasn't so much going on at work, I'd stay home tomorrow. So to cheer myself up, here's some numbers!

Today, I spent:

- $3.70 on breakfast & lunch at work because I was feeling too sick to make anything myself.

I received:

- 1 large box of Snowcaps candy from a coworker
- $20.00 gift card to the local mall from my employer

The mailman brought:

- $25.00 Pier One gift card from My Points
- $10.00 off $25.00 purchase to Lowes coupon

My current healthcare plan is:

- Going up $12.00/paycheck or $288.00/year for 2009

A similar healthcare plan option is:

- $10.50/paycheck LESS than my current plan for 2008
- Which is $252.00 LESS than my 2008 plan
- And $540.00 LESS than my current plan for 2009

My current Dental plan is:

- Increasing $0.25/paycheck. In 2009

The alternate Dental Plan is:

- $1.90/paycheck LESS than I am currently paying

(I would like to mention that the two plans are pretty much identical, just with two different companies – both of which prominent in my state)

My Health Care Spending Account will save me an estimated:

- $226.50 Tax Savings

Total Student Loan Payments this paycheck:

- $169.06

And the best number yet...........


Total paid to student loans in 2008 to date:

$8475.20 !!!!!!!!!!!!

Why I Want to Pay off the Student Loan

October 5th, 2008 at 06:22 pm

Fern had a great comment/question in my last post. And I thought I'd address it in its own post. (Hope you don't mind, Fern!)

Fern's Comment:

"I love your methodicial and ambitious plans for paying off the loan (sounds like me). But let me ask you this, just to double-check: what's the rate of your student loan vs. your mortgage? Don't federal student loans have fairly low rates?"

First, there's actually not much difference between the two rates. I have a good deal on the mortgage rate and the student loan rates were slightly higher at the time I was in school. So the student loan is only 0.125% less than the mortgage.

And for me, a lot of this is mental. I graduated high school 11 years ago and college 7 years ago. I don't want to still be paying for a school I went to almost a decade ago!

Plus, paying off my mortgage is not something I will be able to do in the immediate future (like in the next year or two). I plan on paying it down as quickly as possible, but in the short-term, I'd just love to be debt free, but the house! And I can be there in about 6 months!

Goal of paying off Student Loan by age 30

October 4th, 2008 at 02:38 am

So I have this goal of paying off my last student loan by age 30. My 30th birthday is April 27th. And if I work really, really, really hard, it just might happen.

Currently, I pay an extra $263.00 to the student loan each month. I have a plan for coming up with the rest of the funds for doing this.

Its seemed like I could easily pay off the loan by the end of 2009, but I would miss my birthday. However, I made a VERY detailed spreadsheet and I can do it by...

1. Trimming other budget catagories and putting the extra funds to the loan.

2. Lowering my 401k percentage TEMPORARILY (but still making the company match) to add an additional 45.00 per paycheck in take-home pay.

3. Trimming my Christmas budget by $159.00 to put towards the student loan.

4. I have 3 months of the year where I don't have a $125.00 car insurance payment. Those 3 months (Feb, Mar & April) will go to the loan.

5. I have an annual inheritance that I should receive in March. $475.00

6. Taking funds from my vacation, house and When-I-Make-My-Weight-Goal clothing budgets $300.00. None of these catagories are needs, just wants.

7. Cashing out savings bonds that my parents had given me. $1144.92.

8. Selling an extra wireless internet setup and my TI-83 calculator. Expected $45.00

All of this should get me within $35.00 of my goal. I just need to stick to the budget and come up with the additional $35.00.

Knowing its that obtainable, I will work hard to get it done. Anything I can do to keep this goal!!!

Payday - this month is TIGHT!

October 1st, 2008 at 01:48 am

Got paid today. Paid my mortgage & normal monthly bills. Put gas in my car and put $237.00 in an extra payment to my student loan.

I put the extra money from the electric budget ($37.23) and a few other catagories into savings. I like to build up a small amount in a freedom account for any expected 'unexpected' expenses (if you know what I mean).

Since I have all these planned savings and planned overpayment of my student loan, I sometimes have a tight month cash/spending wise. But its by choice. I want to meet my goals and for the most part its not a hardship for me to do so.

Last month, I had a lot of events - camping, a concert, and a wedding. So I spent more entertainment/gifts wise. So this motnh the entertainment budge is a little smaller Smile

I also filled up the tank and made a BIG grocery run. I plan on doing some baking and I wanted to try making my own bread. Now I'm set except for getting some more milk and veggies later next week.

So now, after all is said and done, I've got a small amount left for discretionary spending.

From today until the 15th, I have:
-$16.02 in the gas budget (But I usually only fill up once a pay period).
-$36.96 for groceries
-$19.21 for entertainment/spending (this was already a lower amount than usual)
-$6.00 for cat litter
-$15.28 for personal items (really need to stock up in this catagory)

My goal is to stick to all of those budgeted amounts. To not go over in any catagory AND to not move funds from one to another. Its doable, mainly I just need to plan food and keep myself entertained VERY cheaply Smile

Luckily, there's a lot of good tv on right now. And what I don't watch during the week, I can catch up on with Comcast On Demand and the internet Smile

For meals,

I plan on having oatmeal for breakfast, tomato & cucumber salad & a cheese sandwich for lunch. Dinner will be pasta most likely

Thursday: Cheerios & milk for breakfast, pasta salad for lunch, meatloaf muffins for dinner.

Friday: Cheerios & milk for breakfast, salad w/ meat for lunch, tacos for dinner.

Weekend Plans and Money Plans

August 29th, 2008 at 01:35 am

This weekend, I have lots of plans. Tomorrow, I'm going to a happy hour with work friends then meeting other friends at a nearby bar. I plan on having dinner - the shrimp at this place is AWESOME! I'm going to keep the total night's spending under $20.00

Saturday, a friend and I are going to look for dresses to wear to a wedding. Its pretty formal and I have nothing that fits anymore. Hope I can find a good deal, because my budget is TIGHT!

Sunday and Monday are completely unplanned. I have some movies from the library and a few novels. I have a well stocked kitchen for yummy meals. I plan on going to my parents one day and hiking the other. I hate to travel this holiday weekend.

As for money plans, I have a lot of planned spending coming up:

Next weekend, I'm going to the beach since I missed out on going last weekend. Just for the day.

The next weekend, I'm going camping and whitewater rafting.

The following weekend is free. Then the next, I have a concert Saturday night and a wedding Sunday afternoon. We're planning on getting a hotel room for the wedding and heading back Monday morning.

So lots of stuff going on. Now I'm looking to do this without breaking my budget. I want to be able to put extra funds to the student loan, which now has a balance of $6,579.98! Woohoo!

On the upside, my electric bill was only $69.01! I had the air back on the last few days and was able to turn it back off yesterday. I want to keep it off as much as possible for two reasons: I LOVE fresh air and I love the lower electric bill Smile

Feeling better - lots of updates

August 9th, 2008 at 02:29 pm

Kidney stone is 100% gone. Thank goodness! Its been a rough week. I haven't made food at home in days, so now I need to get back on track.

I turned the air off Thursday night and have opened up all the windows. It was SO nice out. I was even a little cold last night! I have been trying to keep my electric bill low this month.

I stayed in last night, but did get takeout for dinner.

Today, I'm going to cull more clothes from my closet and clean the upstairs. I am hanging out with a friend tonight. We'll probably head out to dinner. Nice and low-key. Maybe watch a movie.

Tomorrow I'm going with my mom to visit a family friend who is ill. I hope seeing me will cheer her up. She keeps asking about me.

I'm off work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. No big plans, I just wanted a few days off. I plan on heading back to the beach. 2 hour drive. I'll pack drinks, breakfast & lunch. Splurge on some beach fries. Spend all day at the beach and head back late afternoon.

Other than that, I'm just going to be doing stuff around the house. watching movies borrowed from the library and catching up on some books that I've been meaning to read.

In regards to the student loan, I've sent another $62.56 to it. I hate that it takes SO long to have the payment post to the account. I really can't wait to pay it off!

As for the second job, I had postponed my interview at UPS due to being sick. Then I postponed it a second time for the same reason. This wasn't a real interview, just a group walk-through and paperwork fill-out. Well, now, the shift that I wanted no longer has walk throughs available. BOOO! With my current work schedule, the only other shift that would work for me, would mean that I have to go in at 3:30 am. Thats so not going to work.

So now, if I want to pay off this loan by my April Birthday goal, I need to find roughly $2418.00. I am going to work on it, including selling some of my aunt's furniture that I don't have any use for.

Right now, I have $15.00 cash and $80.00 in checking. (after monthly bills). $20.00 goes to my Weigh Watchers fee. $15.00 goes to stocking up on cat food/litter/supplies. $25.00 for groceries. $35.00 spending money until Friday, when I get paid.

If there are any leftover funds, they go towards the student loan. So I'm going to work VERY hard to make that happen.

$2,050 to Student Loan #2

August 5th, 2008 at 08:55 pm

Deposited the check from my mom today and immediately set up an online payment of $2,050 to the student loan.

Woohoo! Once it hits, I should have a balance around $6,760.86. Sweet!

Happy Its the Weekend - and Planning

August 2nd, 2008 at 01:56 am

Today I packed breakfast (cheerios & milk), lunch (pasta salad and grapes) & snacks (carrots and strawberries) for work.

On the way in this morning, I filled up the car with gas at 3.69/gal! Glad I did it, on the way home that same station was sold out. The next lowest price in the area was $3.80. I spent $48.58 of my $60.00 budget. I've put the remaining funds $11.42 in a savings account.

After work, I headed into the area around the University. (5 mins from work in the opposite direction from home). I parked in a free parking lot and walked two miles around the campus. I got a little nostalgic as this was my undergrad school. (Yay free healthy exercise, de-stressing and entertainment all in one)

I've been trying different places for walking as I tend to get bored. I'm definately going to keep the University on my list!

After work, I headed home. Made dinner (Big salad, with pasta and a side of baked fries).

And now I'm vegging. The cats are fighting, so I have to keep yelling at them Smile I'm watching free movies from Comcast, giving myself a pedicure and playing on the internet. Great start to the weekend!

Tomorrow morning, I'm getting up early & heading to a local state park for an hour long hike. $3.00 admission, but its so worth it!

Then in the afternoon, I have a party to go to. Its a big cookout with crabs and beer. Its a little far away and pretty much an all night party, so most of the guests camp out. The guests chip in $20.00 and bring a dish. I'm bringing brownies.

And just cause I'm still ridiculously happy about paying off my student loan, I've been making all kinds of spreadsheets. I REALLY want to have this paid off by my 30th birthday, which is in April. It would be a HUGE stretch, but I'm going to try.

I'll get the check from my mom this weekend and the first thing I'll be doing is putting that $2047.54 to the student loan. (Which is the original $5,000.00 minus the payoff on Student Loan# 1 minus funds set aside for a complete new wardrobe when I hit my weight goal and vacation funds).

Once that hits Loan #2 and the extra payment I just sent of $225, I'll have a balance of roughly $6,744.74. Down from today's balance of $9017.28. Thats a pretty great start!

Wooo Hooo!!! Student Loan # 1 Paid off

August 1st, 2008 at 02:09 am

I mentioned before that I'm being gifted some money from my mom. Well, my first student loan is a private loan in my parents name. So they went and paid off the loan today as I asked. And I'll get a check for the difference.

I am SO happy to have that paid off. I hated having debt in their name and now I'm FREE from it!! Nice!

To top it off, the balance was less than I expected. And because it was paid off before the next due date, I was able to send that loan's monthly payment of $225.00 went to Student Loan #2!

Now I need to work on Student Loan #2. The current balance is $9017.28 (before this new payment hits).

Edited to add: Although the gift paid off the last $1,652.46. I'd just like to say that I got that balance down from:

Dec 31, 2005 $15,694.69
Feb 28, 2006 $15,100.52
Jan 31, 2007 $12,512.40
Oct 3, 2007 $8,813.28
Jan 8, 2008 $4,973.31
Mar 1, 2008 $3,795.49
Today: $0.00!

New Student Loan Balance & AC is back off!

June 13th, 2008 at 02:17 am

It was 90 degrees out today, but while I was sweating my butt off at my nephew's baseball game, a strong wind picked up and the temp started dropping. YAY! So, now I have all the windows open and am enjoying the nice fresh air. (And the savings in electric!)

So now for the even better news! My student loan is SOOOO close to being paid off! Here's a snapshot of where the balance has been in the last few years.

December 31, 2005: $15,694.69

February 28, 2006: $15,100.52

January 31, 2007: $12,512.40

April 30, 2007: $12,312.40

October 3, 2007: $8813.28

January 8,2008: $ 4,650.35

February 28,2008 $4013.09

March 31, 2008 $3047.79

April 15, 2008 $2832.26

Currently..... dum, da dum, dum, Dum.....

ITS $1,963.58!!!!!!!!!!

And I'm about to $45.22 to the loan Smile

I'm Baaack :) Sorry, its long

June 4th, 2008 at 12:34 am

Finally received my new computer A/C adapter today. Boy did I miss the internet! I survived, but if I don't have to, I don't want to Smile

Lots of things going on:

-First, my new Student loan #1 balance $2181.08! Sweet!!!

-Second, I had to put out $49.00 for the new adapter. Thats after discounts and free shipping for screwing up my order and causing a nearly 2 week delay.

-Third, my work may be sending me to Arizona. Tempe, to be exact. If the trip goes through (the company's cutting back on travel), then I'll leave Sunday the 15th, work Monday through Thursday. I would have flown back on Friday, but I'm going to take a mini vacation and stay a few extra days. I'll have to pay for hotel and food for those extra days, but the flight back is still on the company.

This is an unplanned expense and I really don't have the funds just sitting around. But if I'm getting flown to a place I've always wanted to visit, then I'm going to take advantage of the trip.

I'm hoping to even get in a bus tour of the Grand Canyon. We'll see. I've been pricing them at around $150.00 for the day. But this will include several hours of driving, lunch, an actual tour of the Grand Canyon and Park Fees. The alternative would be renting a car and I just don't see the point in that.

-Next, the kitten got sick $70.00 in vet fees. Ugh. He's a cutie, but man, is he expensive.

-In frugal news, my electric bill has stayed low. Prices have been rising, but my bills stayed the same, meaning my usage went down. I need to watch using the dryer though. I saw some increased usage the month before when I was trying to shrink some clothes to get a few more wears out of them before giving them to Good Will. (That was actually successful, by the way).

-Also,no heat in the last month. Windows stay open most of the time, sometimes I use the room fans. But no central heat/air! I'm hoping to keep that up.

-AND in great news, my car insurance premium went down by about $75.00/year. I don't know exactly how it happened, but I'll take it Smile

-I am really working on getting back into Frugal mode. I've been spending all over the place. New clothes, vet bills, eating out. All of that needs to get back under control. Especially if I get to Arizona.

-When I get back, I'm going to get a part time job. I've been talking about it for about a year now, but haven't really followed through for various reasons. With the kitten and continued weight loss, at least two of those expenses will continue. So more income will allow me to continue to pay down the student loan while taking care of these additional expenses.

-I'll update my side bar soon. Its safe to say that my clothing & vacation funds are back to zero. Ugh.

$600 Stimulus Dollars to Student Loan

May 14th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Yesterday morning, I received my stimulus funds by Direct Deposit. Yesterday afternoon, I mailed $600.00 to Student Loan #1. I'll have to update my sidebars Smile

I'm trying to get back on track. Lately, I've been all over the place with my spending, but no more. I'm back on track and planning things out.

Today, I spent 3.80 on 7 large tomatoes & romaine lettuce from the produce stand.I was hoping for a no spender today, but I was running out of veggies.

Tommorow will have some spending as well, as I have a dentist appointment. But it is a planned expense and the funds are available from my HSA.

Electric/Gas-wise, I've had the heat on one night in the last two weeks. I'm looking forwards to the much lower bill.

I also am working to cashflow the vet bills from the new kitty. To start, I plan on spending as little as possible from my entertainment budget and putting the extra funds towards the vet. We'll see how many otheways I can save towards the vet bill.

Well, I'm off to make dinner & something to take to work for lunch. (See, I'm planning ahead).

No spenders 2 days in a row (long)

May 6th, 2008 at 04:53 pm

Yesterday & today are/were no spenders due to being sick. I had to leave work early yesterday.

This morning, I did run to Walmart (5 mins from my house) to return a Redbox movie that I had meant to return yesterday. And I returned a shirt and pair of pants that I had bought a few weeks ago. $26.00 credit back to my account.

For the rest of the day, I'll be lying around. I tried some food, but its not sitting too well. I REALLY have to go back to work tomorrow, so I'm going to take things VERY easy.

I have all the windows/doors open in the house. Two days ago, it was back into the low 60s, now its in the mid 70s. I'm enjoying the weather tho.

As for spending, I now have the two days of no spending. But I did waste some food. I packed a sandwich, salad and milk for breakfast/lunch at work yesterday and I left it there. The milk will be salvagable since it was in the fridge, but not the sandwich/salad.

In other news, I sent an additional $65.53 to the student loan. I've been slacking lately because of all my clothes spending. I pretty much got myself a whole new wardrobe. And it was worth every penny Smile

For the month of May, my focus is on my grocery spending. I joined the challange over at Krystal's blog over at Give Me Back My Five Bucks.

My budget is $50.00 per every pay period ($100.00 per month). I've spent $22.60, leaving $27.40 until the 15th. Definately doable since I will only need some veggies, lunch meat and soda between now & then. I'll keep updating on how I do.

March Positivity

March 13th, 2008 at 12:28 am

Even with the car problems and the toilet, March has had some good stuff going on.

I had some cashflow goals for the month and I think I've done pretty well so far.

I've managed to cashflow:

$27.00 for the Defensive driving fee (yay!)

$156.93 of my $338.84 car repair fee (yay!)

$0.00 for my new pantry door (boo!)

ALSO, my new balance on the student loan is $3,795.49! WOO_HOO!

But I'm ok with not having the funds for my pantry door. First, the one I wanted is not currently available. I'm hoping Home Depot will restock soon. Second, I may be able to fund the purchase through a gift card from Mypoints. I'm just waiting for some points to hit my balance.

I've been sticking to the Lunch Challange. Today I brought:
Oatmeal & pears for breakfast; cheese sandwich & salad for lunch; soda from home; free water at work

Tomorrow, I have planned:
Breakfast: Cheerios with milk, Lunch of spaghetti salad - tons of veggies, turkey pepperoni & a bunch of spicy goodness! YUMMY! Snack will be popcorn.

I also have been talking to someone from Craigslist about my room. Hopefully they'll be able to meet this weekend. Anyone with advice about how to handle bringing a roommate into your house, please share!

New Student Loan Balance & March Thoughts

February 29th, 2008 at 03:29 am

My private student loan is down to $4,013.09 with another $542.05 on its way now! I am chugging along with this thing. March will be a challanging month. My budget is SUPER tight.

I have an expected large expense in the form of a car repair. I'll get a diagnosis & estimate on Tuesday, when I take the car in.

I also have several non-regular expenses to deal with this month. I am hoping to cashflow as much as possible.

-I have a bigger than usual electric bill. I budget $120/mo and its $132 and change. I have reallocated funds from other household budget catagories to cover the overage

-I need to take my Advanced Defensive driving class ($27.00 fee) to ensure my car insurance rate at the lower amount. This will be be good for 3 years.

-I have a broken bifold door on my pantry and I really want to replace it. If its within the budget at all, I'd like to replace it this month. Estimated cost $40-45

I am also working with a slightly lowered grocery budget ($40.00 from 3/1 to 3/15) since I ridiculously splurged at Walmart on Monday and stocked up on LOTS of things. My goal is to buy only veggies and a few small items until the 15th.

At least yesterday & today were both No Spenders. Tomorrow will be too. I'm hoping to keep Saturday & Sunday as frugal as possible, but plans are up in the air and I don't know what my expenses may or may not be.

I also have an unexpected hiccup in the February-March Lunch challange, which I'll go into detail about later.