Monthly Archives: September 2013

Task #2 and new tasks

#2. Import Sallie Mae loan accounts into Mint.com.

Task #2 was pretty darn easy. I actually did it over a week ago and it didn’t seem worthy of an entire blog post. So it seemed it was just a matter of making sure the Mint.com servers were communicating properly with the Sallie Mae servers. I mentioned in my last post how scary it is that the interest on the Sallie Mae loans compounds DAILY. That means if I refresh my Mint app every day (sounds refreshing, Mint, refresh, you know? ahaha) I can actually see the numbers going up each day. Sobering motivation right there!

Now that I’ve knocked down two tasks, I figured it’s time to add two more. I’m trying to constantly have a list of 3 tasks to do, to keep things rolling.

Task #4. Look into the online refund for those dumb running shoes I bought and returned, but haven’t gotten refunded for yet. It was a stupid mistake, but I learned my lesson. For some reason I thought it was a great deal to buy a pair of those Hoka One One’s to try out and instead of physically trying them on at a store, I found them on super sale online. Dumb ass. Having worked in running shoe stores and fit many people with shoes over the years, this was super dumb. I know.

Task #5. Sell the Keurig machine. I used to drink more coffee, like one or two cups a day. From the Keurig. It took up too much countertop space and also the K-cups are super expensive, even if you do stockpile the 20% off coupons from Bed Bath & Beyond. So I moved onto a mini Mr. Coffee maker, but because it’s sketchy how much coffee it actually makes, I was then probably drinking at least 2 or 3 cups a day. I’ve decided to cut way, way back since then, only consuming one cup maybe every other day. The Keurig has not been used in a while, not to mention how ridiculously expensive it is to buy the K-cups…even when you have a stash of 20% off Bed Bath &Beyond coupons that never expire.

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Task #1: updating the numbers

To reiterate:

#1. Update the student loan numbers. I’d like to have updated totals on my current balances as of this week (the birth of the Great Bacon Payoff), and dig up what the original loan amounts were to see how much progress I’ve actually made in the last 7 years. Depressing or not, let’s get a reality check! :(

So I did actually jump on this a couple weeks ago, and realized quickly and sadly that the interest on my student loans compounds DAILY. Freaky! So depending on which day it was, the principal balance grew a little bit more each day. BOO HISS!

As it turns out, I don’t think I have all the original original balances. I finished my undergrad degree in 2003 and my master’s degree in 2006. Somewhere along the way after that, the repayment interest rates or consolidation rates or whatever supposedly hit “historical lows” and so I consolidated. This means unless I do some hard-core digging into paperwork… that is in my childhood bedroom at the parents’ house… which is across the country… the best I can do is give you one of the original loan amounts and the rest are what the original balances were at the time of consolidation.

Here they are, THE ORIGINAL AMOUNTS:

1. ACS Federal Perkins Student Loan (undergrad), circa Nov 2003.
$3,500.00 @ 5.000%

2. Sallie Mae Federal + Private Consolidation Loan (undergrad + grad school), circa Jan 2007.
$30,357.76 (fixed subsidized) + $21,722.84 (fixed unsubsidized) =
$52,130.60 @ 4.625%

3. Sallie Mae Private Consolidation Loan (grad school), circa Nov 2006.
$53,422.00 @ 3.250%

GRAND ORIGINAL TOTAL = $109,052.60

Then we get to the current balance, AKA outstanding balance, AKA outstanding principal + unpaid accrued interest (they sure have a lot of ways of saying “this is the ginormous amount of money you still owe, sucker!”).

As of September 5, 2013 (birth of the blog), the current balances were:

1. ACS Loan.    $962.42
2. Sallie Mae #1.    $53,910.87
3. Sallie Mae #2.    $40,153.58
TOTAL CURRENT BALANCE = $95,026.87

Before I got all the numbers down, I was kind of disgruntled, because I thought I’d had “about $95k” in student loans since the beginning of time (AKA since graduating with my master’s) and hadn’t made any headway in 7 years. But now that I have both the estimated original amounts and current balances, I can see that I’ve actually paid off $14,025.73. Whoa! Yay!

I don’t feel quite as bad now, well, slightly less bad as $95k is still ginormous, but less ginormous than $109k. I am looking forward to seeing this nasty $95,026.87 amount start to come down over the upcoming monthly number updates!

the big bonus distribution

So if you read my final FUCCD post, I mentioned a completely unexpected big bonus from work (which I only started in January). Who ever heard of a mid-year bonus? Not me! So, hooray! September also happens to be an “extra paycheck” month (I get paid every two weeks on Fridays). Double hooray! While I won’t disclose exactly how massive the bonus was, well, okay it was more than two paychecks (!!!) and certainly more than the maximum deposit I could make using my Chase mobile app. (Yes, it was a really ridiculous amount!) I needed to drive to the closest Chase ATM to deposit it, which is actually a 2-hour drive away, before it burned a big hole in my pocket, and yes, finding a new local bank is another story for another day.

Instead of blowing through all my bonus money irresponsibly, the first thing I did was pay off the rest of the credit cards (which was the plan with the “extra paycheck” anyway), and then figure out how to distribute the wealth.  I spent the last 10 months really cracking down on my spending: I haven’t had a hair cut. I haven’t flown anywhere (my family lives on the other side of the country). I haven’t raced any triathlons (because entry fees are super expensive, I’m out of shape and *was* unmotivated). So while I wasn’t going to blow through ALL my bonus money, I thought it was fairly reasonable to have fun with some of it. Say, 20% of it.

Most of it, though, was distributed responsibly:

  • 47% to the emergency fund
  • 24% to the student loans
  • 20% for fun!
  • the remaining 9% stayed in the checking account for the regular expenses.

I actually made a special one-time-only budget for September in my Mint.com app. I categorized it as “Entertainment” since I already have a monthly “Fun Fund” of $200.

things I spent it on so far:

  • a triathlon entry fee for October (with 20% off coupon code!)
  • new swimsuit and goggles (from Amazon)
  • new bike pedals (super deal online)
  • new socks and underwear and sports bras (from Target)
  • nice camping backpack (from my local REI…had a coupon but didn’t work because it was meant for REI brand only. Oh well. I still really wanted it!)
  • 2 pairs of shoes for Mr. Bacon (from Amazon)
  • baseball tickets to see the Phillies (Mr. Bacon’s home team) at Nationals stadium (still cheap seats but not the cheapest)

So I still try to be a savvy shopper when I am spending money, going to my trusty local Target and Amazon.com, finding discount codes and scouting out the best internet deals. I haven’t actually bought a new swimsuit in over 2 years, my favorite goggles are about that old, and my bike pedals must be 4 or 5 years old…which I got as slightly used hand-me-downs at the time. The triathlon is going to be my only one for the year, and it’s a smaller local race 30 miles away, which will keep the costs down.

Anyway, I’m happy with how I split up my unexpected windfall. How would you do it? More responsibility and less fun?? More fun and less responsibility? Have you ever gotten a mid-year bonus or unexpected windfall?

the first 3 tasks…

Finance Fridays! Here we go!

Just this morning, I posted my final credit card update on the old FUCCD blog, taking it down to zero. ZERO! Yay! Still patting myself on the back for that one! 😀 Now in moving forward, I’m going to cut myself some slack in September and recover from the inevitable debt fatigue that had set in those final months. This month will involve distribution of that hard-earned bonus money–yes, spending some of it on both necessary and not-so-necessary things, but also replenishing the very sad emergency fund (shriveled down to $37) and paying off the smallest student loan I’ve got. I’ll also get this blog off the ground, which is the foundation for helping me organize my thoughts and battle plan against Sallie Mae.

I noticed a lot of PF bloggers will declare monthly goals, although sometimes it seems like they are more like New Year’s resolutions, in that the goals get pushed back and procrastinated on. I think instead of having “goals”, I will call them “tasks.” Mentally, a task is something that I have to do, and if I think of it that way, it should get done more quickly. I also don’t want to get overwhelmed with a huge list of tasks, so I will stick with 3 at a time to focus on and conquer. I won’t have set deadlines, but will be checking in on Finance Fridays (maybe even more frequently) and if I finish one task, it will get replaced with a new one. Maybe I will even start a “task list” tab!

Here are my first 3 tasks!

#1. Update the student loan numbers. I’d like to have updated totals on my current balances as of this week (the birth of the Great Bacon Payoff), and dig up what the original loan amounts were to see how much progress I’ve actually made in the last 7 years. Depressing or not, let’s get a reality check! 😦

#2. Import Sallie Mae loan accounts into Mint.com. I’ve been using the mint.com app since I embarked on Project FUCCD and love it as a budgeting tool. A year ago, I was having trouble importing my Sallie Mae accounts and gave up (although according to Google, it seems like a common glitch that is now resolved). It was already discouraging to have Mint.com reminding me I had over $10k in credit cards and I really didn’t want to see that I also had $95k in student loans even though we all knew it. But now that the credit cards are gone and done, I can put on my big girl panties and am not afraid to face the next enemy!

#3. Get an updated credit score and credit report. Yowch. I don’t actually know what my credit score is and the last time I checked was back in early 2011. I was even dumb enough to sign up for one of those bullsh*t websites where they automatically deducted $14.95 from your account each month so they could “monitor” your credit. I’ve procrastinated on getting my shiny new credit score until I paid off my credit cards off. I know, excuses, excuses. Let’s just get ‘er done!

Ok. Stepping stones for The Payoff Plan have been set! What do you guys think of calling them “tasks” vs. “goals” vs. “resolutions”? And where’s a legit place to get a free credit score and/or credit report?

The declaration of independence…from Sallie Mae & Co!

Hello personal finance world! This is my first attempt at my very own blog chronicling my student loan debt repayment journey. I’ve got over $95k of student loans from my undergrad and master’s degrees, and my ambitious goal is to pay it all off in 4 years. Instead of the 30+ year repayment they’ve got me on…ending in the year 2040! (Yes..WTF?!) Go big or go home!

You can read more about my background in the about page, check out the big scary numbers to see the $95k debt breakdown, or read some old posts on a different blog where I paid off over $13k of my credit card debt in 10 months. It was originally hosted on an ex-boyfriend’s collaborative blog, and once I successfully knocked it all out last weekend, I knew it was time to move on to bigger goals and my own blog.

Thanks for following and I look forward to writing about my debt repayment journey and connecting with other personal finance bloggers!