Category Archives: monthly report

from $95k to $55k…is this real life?

It’s been a hectic (but quiet on the blog front) 3 months, and here we are in May already. I missed the updates for March and April, and amazingly we are looking at over 41% of my student loans paid off since the birth of this blog!

If you look at my very last post, I was stoked that I had hit almost 30% paid off. Well, if you recall, I had negotiated a student loan payoff deal with my current employer and the first of 5 x $10,000 payments hit my Navient account on my first re-anniversary with this job. I’ll get a check every anniversary for the next 4 years as well! Here are the monthly outstanding amounts that have gone down since the last update:

March 1, 2016. $66,528.05
March 3, 2016. $56,540.13 (huzzah work anniversary!)
April 5, 2016. $56,181.26 (oops I checked 4 days late)
May 1, 2016. $55,779.22

That’s a whopping total of $39,247.65 paid off (41.3%) since the birth of the blog!

I’ve been still paying my standard minimum payments (totaling about $557/month) and looking forward to the day (projected in about a year and a half or so) when that gets knocked down to $242/month.

Unfortunately we’ve racked up a balance on the credit card, but have been able to pay it off each month; and there’s still the furniture (interest free for 12 months) we’ve been working on. The good news is that Mr. Bacon was finally promoted to full-time status at his job, which comes with amazing healthcare benefits (and even a pension!). He was even able to apply his 12 years of experience from a previous job, which moved him up the payscale by 12 levels–pretty insane (in a good way) how cut & dry that was.

We also got our taxes done–I was able to manage getting the federal returns done on my own using the H&R Block software and we got over $1300 refunded. BUT the state returns were tricky since we lived in two different states, so I ended up paying someone $135 to get those done. We ended up getting about $250 back from Maryland and owed $380 or so to Delaware. Not too shabby!

Other than that…we got A PUPPY! So much for no major life changes this year. 😉 That might explain part of why our expenses went up this month. Looks like I will be adding a budget line item for the Bacon Pup! My goal this month is to start using the budget categories in Mint.com again to get an idea of what they all are.

No-Spend February! ?!

So I’m pretty sure there was not a new year’s “Happy 2016! this is all the amazing things I’m going to do this year!” blog post yet.

I missed the January/new year’s update, and here we are in February already.

My latest student loan balance today was $66,872.99 which believe it or not, is practically 30% (29.63% to be exact) down from the original balance at the birth of this blog. $28,153.88 paid off in less than 2.5 years. !

Holy crap. That’s kind of incredible to me, from how stagnant that balance had been at $95k for the 7 years between grad school graduation to the start of this blog. And that we paid for both a wedding and new house last year!

Today I deleted the Amazon app off of my iPhone. We had a lot of expenses over the holidays and I got into the habit of buying too many things off Amazon. I’m pretty sure I don’t really need anything else, so I’m going to try some version of a “No Spend February”. No spending on things I want, but don’t really need. (Running race entry fees are ok!)

I’ve got to revisit our budgets again.

Next month is my 1-year anniversary at work and the first employer-paid chunk of student loan repayment. Oooooooh.

2016 will continue our adventures as homeowners (saving up $8500 for The Roof Fund and paying off the furniture we got a 12-month deal on). At some point I’ll have to tackle the taxes too…which will be interesting doing them as a newly married entity (filing jointly?) since we both worked in two different states last year, got married, AND bought a house.
What’s in store for your 2016?

October & November update. going sub-68!

November 1st totals: $67,879.21.
That’s a decrease of $333.08 (another $557.14 in minimum payments, with $224.06 of that in interest).

December 1st totals: $67,537.80.
Decrease of another $341.41 (another $557.14 in minimum payments, $215.73 in interest).

Overall, I’ve paid off 28.93% of my original debt and $27,489.07 since the birth of this blog!

Allrighty then! So October… blogging during the honeymoon totally DID NOT HAPPEN! But we had a good time nonetheless. We had prepaid the condo at the beach and some wedding gift money left over that we used for dinner etc. That actually got way expensive…we ate out for lunch and dinner almost every day, and the last few days I freaked out a little bit because of the dwindling budget. So we then went cheapo for a couple days (ordering Chinese take-out and hitting up Chick Fil-A, which we both enjoy LOL).

Since it is already December, no use writing two blogs about each month. A lot of the big expenses seemed to hit in early November. There was the big furniture bill (which we did finance…no interest for 12 months but we need to contribute between $400-500 each month), the Lowe’s credit card for new house stuff, the big credit card I mentioned from last month, and our first utilities bill.

I’m not too alarmed that I’m only paying the minimum on the student loans since my employer will be helping to pay these down, with a big chunk once a year on my work anniversary (coming up in March). I’ll re-evaluate then, but in the meantime, I’ve got a bunch of other expenses to worry about.

November, we’ve been getting the handle on all the new costs of being a new homeowner (and newlywed!). Of course we just had the dryer die on us a few weeks ago and ended up buying a new one. Turns out the homeowner’s warranty was kind of crappy…and so was the dryer that died. It was better to replace it completely than to keep paying high deductibles for fixing the crappy dryer! Luckily there were already Black Friday’s deals at Lowe’s, AND I had a 10% coupon from the new mover coupons! It is much more energy efficient and has a cool steaming function. 🙂 No ironing, please!

We also got to host Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws in the new house! I absolutely loved it…we love being homeowners and truly having a place to call our own. I probably went to the market 3 or 4 times just for the big Turkey Day, but it was all worth it, and hopefully these leftovers last us through this next week, because that was a high grocery bill!

It’s been a tough juggling act managing all these new expenses and the new living situation, I’ll admit. We have more debt now, most of it is interest-fee, so my goal for December is to tackle the rest of the debt that does carry interest, and we can start the new year fresh!

House bought and we are hitched! Now what?

just-married-9617033

We did it. We really did it! We closed on our house on August 31st and got to move in and hang out in the final weeks leading up to the wedding. It was pretty amazing. The beach wedding! So much love and happiness! Everything has been great! We are both back at work for the next week and a half, and then it will be honeymoon time in North Carolina.

Perhaps I’ll do more blogging about house shopping and wedding details/budgets (I did add up all the final numbers…*cringe*) but in the meantime, I’ve missed another monthly update, so here’s a two for one:

September 1st: updated total $68,551.47. Decrease by $330.80.

October 1st: updated total $68,212.29. Decrease by $339.18.

I also missed the 2-year anniversary of the blog! If we go by my updated total on 9/1/2015, from the birth of the blog (9/5/2013), I’ve paid off $26,475.40 in the last 2 years! That sounds huge!

As far as goals for this month, we put most of our expenses on our airline credit card (paying the balance off each term), so we have until November 2nd to pay that off. It was amazing how generous people were, we did not expect to receive so much in wedding gifts! We racked up quite a few expenses between the new house and the wedding. The good news is that it looks like everything’s going to balance out and be all right. It’s been a super stressful time and I feel like we can finally breathe, relax, and enjoy the moment!

Until next time. I’ll do some blogging during the honeymoon!

Keeping calm in May and June and July, humming along under $69k!

Oh…hey, Bacon Payoff fans! I’m still alive and survived the last 3 harrowing months. Today I woke up and it’s August. Haven’t updated since May 14th and we are 2/3rds done with summer?! And I’ve probably lost all my readers as I haven’t even done my absolutely minimum of once-a-month financial updates.

Alas, May was spent trying to completely replan a wedding.

keep-calm-and-plan-this-wedding-5

June was spent cramming in as much training as I could for my half-ironman triathlon.

keep_calm_and_triathlon

And July…July was a surprise because we started house hunting locally on July 3rd, saw at least 20 houses inside and out…wrote up a first offer…negotiated over last weekend…and this past Monday (July 27), our offer was accepted!

buy a house

So, no blogging, BUT holy crap, a wedding was replanned, a half ironman was completed, and a house was bought! There was definitely a lot of “keeping calm” needed. 😉

There really hasn’t been much that’s exciting about paying off the student loans, because my minimum payments are humming along on auto-pilot ($557 a month). This essentially brings my grand total down by a measly $337-ish every month (or $4044-ish per year), but when my 1-year work anniversary kicks in, my employer will be contributing $10,000 each March for the next 5 years. I even did a very rough spreadsheet where if I keep kicking in $557/month during this time period, my loans will be down to only $347 TOTAL after that 5th and final $10k payment. Of course after the 3rd payment, my loans with the higher interest rate will have been wiped out, so I won’t have to contribute the whole $557 per month–my minimum payment would be knocked down to $241 per month. That’s not until March of 2018, so I have some time before I re-configure that spreadsheet!

Of course, several months ago, I changed my subheading to “The Great Bacon Payoff…bringing home the bacon to (buy a house and then) stomp down the student loans” and I am as surprised as anybody that we are able to actually buy a house this soon after moving back to this area. More on the house later…we are hoping to close on August 31st and most of wedding planning should be getting done this month, so I hope life slows down just a little bit and I’d love to get back to blogging more!

Keep-Calm-And-Blog-On

In the meantime, here are the boring ole numbers for the past 3 months that I’ve neglected:

May update: $69,562.57 total as of 6/3/2015. (minus $323.35)

June update: $69,237.29 total as of 7/4/2015. (minus $325.28)

July update: $68,882.27 total as of 8/1/215. (minus $355.02)

Our budget has been pretty unusual because of all the circumstances, so I’m not going to nitpick or beat myself up. We’ve gotten so much done in terms of “big life stuff” and it is only getting better!

I hope everyone else is having an awesome and productive summer!

April 2015 update, sub-$70k!

Another milestone I finally crept under…sub-$70k! My total student loan debt got down to $69,885.92 on May 2nd! This was just with the minimum payments since we switched the plan from student debt payoff to wedding and home savings. I paid the standard $557, which brought down my total by only $330 (UGH, $227 in interest!). On the plus side, it’s also a huge payoff milestone–over $25k for the first time! $25,140.95 paid off total since the birth of this blog. Hooray!

Budget-wise, April was much like March, as in still semi-sharing with Mr. Bacon’s dad and stepmom, although by the end of April, they were about 90% at their beach house. So a similar theme in that we went over budget in fast food and dining out, and under budget for groceries. We also switched Mr. Bacon’s license plates back to Delaware ($738 for a year-old car, yech!).

The great news of course, mentioned in my previous post, is that our landlord back in the DC area let us off the hook for the remainder of our lease in terms of not having to pay the $1500/month rent until the old condo gets rented out. (It’s still not rented out…and I just saw he dropped the rent down to $1450.) Thank you, landlord! We can actually pay off debts and save up money now!

Coming up, at least our credit card debt is much better–just under $1800 right now, with our $1200 security deposit due in the mail any day now. So the goals in May are to pay off that credit card debt, save up wedding money and finalize our vendors and invitations, and start investigating the possibility of buying a house.

Spoiler alert! We actually got approved for up to a $325k house today…which actually gets you something nice in Delaware! More on wedding planning and house hunting soon.

March update: the good, the bad, the ugly!

March was tough. If you remember my February post being so overdue, most of the headaches were already chronicled in that! Luckily I did check my balance a week and a half ago, so as of early April (the 2nd), my updated total in loans was $70,216.29. That only accounts for one of my student loan payments, and is a decrease of $195.65. Not much, but we are playing the pay-the-minimum game while we’re going through this transitional phase! Luckily, I locked in my student loan payoff deal with the boss, so I can at least not stress about that so much.

So while February was the stress of moving, March was the stress of settling in. We decided to move in with Mr. Bacon’s dad and stepmom at their main house (within 3 miles of my new job), since they end up moving full-time to their beach house over the summer (starting in early spring). Spring has been in hibernation here though, so March was spent semi-awkwardly trying to live together, which meant we ended up eating out a lot. (I like to cook, but it’s awkward sharing someone else’s kitchen!)

We ate out a lot, I bought some new work clothes, and then also had the unexpected flight expenses back to California for my grandma’s funeral. We tapped a little bit out of our savings fund since Mr. Bacon doesn’t have a regular full-time job yet (but he is side hustling like crazy! or is it just hustling?) but also had charge the flights onto our credit card. Hey, at least we get points! But unfortunately, it’s a huge balance we can’t pay off right away. BOOOOO!

Yeah–a lot of extra and not-usual spending due to all those factors. On the PLUS side (finally, some positivity!), I at least got paid for a full month of work during this transition. Despite not working for a week in between jobs, I got my last paycheck from the previous job early in March (it was for half a pay period), and the following week I got my first paycheck (also half a pay period) for the new job. Then I got my first full paycheck before the end of March!

Awesome! So the plan this month (April) is to pay off at least half of that stupid credit card balance (it’s up to $3,100) and keep crossing our fingers that our place we were renting in MD gets rented out. Then this no-rent living situation will finally be the big bonus we need! And also help Mr. Bacon however I can to get some full-time work. We also need to nail down a caterer and tent company for the wedding.

I am also trying to settle in a little better. And not let all this moving and financial and wedding stress get to me. Things will get better, I know they will! Thanks for reading!

long overdue February/moving update!

WHOOPS! Where did the last 4 weeks go?! What a blogging disaster! We did our big move during that last week in February, and the night before the moving truck left our old digs in the DC area, we found out my dear grandmother had passed away on the other side of the country. 😦

We loaded and unloaded the moving truck the next day, and after two days of work at the new job, a cross country flight and funeral later, we were back on a flight to Philadelphia (the nearest airport to us in Delaware), and back at the new job, tired and jet-lagged, emotionally and physically exhausted.

It was well worth it to spend the money on the last-minute flights in order to see my family and pay respects to Grandma, but that definitely set us back unexpectedly by over $2,000…!

Overall, I was so frazzled going into March that I didn’t even remember to check what my student loans balance was until St. Patrick’s Day (past the middle of the month!). I’m down to $70,411.94, which is $498.60 less than last month’s update. It seems more than the usual minimum payments, but it’s not, because I was supposed to report my balance at the beginning of the month, before the first of the two monthly payments goes in (on the 9th of the month). So that’s with 1.5 months worth of minimum payments. $300.46 of it is interest. Yech.

Budget-wise, we ate out a lot more (this will ring true for March as well), but bought less groceries. And paid a lot for the travel expenses for our California trip. Moving expenses didn’t turn out to be too bad, and I’ll save that for another post soon. Otherwise, we are still waiting for our condo in Bethesda to get rented out, and in the meantime are staying with Mr. Bacon’s parents rent-free. More soon! Happy springtime, everyone!

January update & negotiating like a PAWN star

It’s been quiet on the blog here as the ESCAPE PLAN was in full effect!

The January update essentially was the Escape Plan being implemented! As for debt, I paid the minimums again and am down to $70,910.54 (decrease of $292.65)…keep reading folks, because I’m no longer worried at all about this small creep in student loan repayment!

So how is the Escape Plan agenda going, you ask?

  1. Finalize the new job details and get an offer letter in writing.
  2. Find someone to take over our lease at the condo.
  3. Help Mr. Bacon get relocated through his current company (they have multiple locations).
  4. Give notice at my current job… 2-4 weeks.
  5. Find a new apartment.
  6. Pack up, move out, and get outta here!

That’s right, blogger friends, I have a new job!!!

My previous boss in Delaware had reached out to me over Christmas break about a new office he is opening up at the University. We have always had a great relationship and he was very understanding when I left to go to DC to get more experience in our field. We would still bump into each other sometimes as Mr. Bacon is from Delaware (which is also where we met), and he would half joke about me coming back to work for him. I would half joke that I’d do it if he would pay off my student loans. But seriously, I didn’t want to move back to do the job I used to do…it had to be something different and more challenging.

As it turns out, this would exactly be the different and challenging position I would move back for! I would be in charge of my own office and be involved with some of the research projects with the University–finally a use for that master’s degree that was once completely optional in my field of choice! Now, I hesitate to use the term “dream job” as I’ve called my last 3 jobs my “dream job”, so the next thing to determine…was he serious about paying off my student loans???

We sat down on a Saturday morning, for breakfast at a diner to negotiate terms. Pretty casual as we have that kind of friendly relationship. However, he showed up in jeans and I showed up in work-casual. I was to be taken seriously! I had written down a list of everything I wanted and knew I kind of had the upper hand, as he really wanted me back as an employee. I felt prepared to negotiate LIKE A BOSS, as Mr. Bacon not only subjects me to all kinds of HGTV shows, but I also have to watch Pawn Stars.

One of his concerns was that I wouldn’t stay long-term, as my job history has been a bit all over the place (he knew my background and understood why, but still). Which was when I pulled out the BAM! “if you pay off my student loans over 5 years, I’m willing to sign a contract for that term.” We went back and forth a bit on salary, as DC rates are much higher, and in the end I got basically the same base salary (after taxes), a percentage of profit-sharing in the company, AND we agreed to $10k per year of student loan repayment over the next 5 years.

$10k per year isn’t all of the debt, but I figured I would still pay the minimums so that I could lock down the -0.25% in interest rate, and after about 5 years of me paying the minimums and the company paying $10k, I’d be close to being completely done! So that’d be me paying off $20k-ish, and the other $50k being paid by…NOT me!

I was really happy with the outcome, as I feel the cost of living in Delaware will already be $15k less. With that in mind, the additional $10k of student loan repayment, and then the profit sharing, I think I’ll be making out with essentially a $30k raise, minimum. WHOA! Turns out that last weekend Mr. Bacon bumped into my new/old boss again when he was back in the area job-hunting, and apparently I was making him sweat and stutter over the breakfast negotiation. 😉

This was my first time I felt I had the experience to back up a negotiation like this, as previously I would just accept whatever number was given to me. So…yeah! Yay! Suck that, student loans! 😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR (in review)! 2014 = 25% down!

quarter down

Happy new year! WOOHOO, 2015! What’s that picture? It’s a quarter on the floor. It’s ONE QUARTER DOWN! Get it? I have paid down 25.07% of my original amount of student loans since the birth of this blog. When I hit 50%, I can post up a picture of TWO QUARTERS! 😀

So I haven’t done my December 2014 review yet, but in the spirit of the new year, I was already jonesin’ to do a “year in review”. Can I combine them? Is that allowed? Basically, I kept to my modified plan of just paying the minimum on the student loans while stockpiling some extra money if the bonus didn’t come through. (Which it still didn’t. There may be hope to see it in mid-January, but I won’t hold my breath and that way I’ll be pee-in-the-pants excited IF it does actually come through.) So my debt only went down by $329.34 in December, and $227.80 went to interest.

My new grand total, however, is $71,203.19, which is $15,577.70 LESS than what it was at the beginning of 2014 ($86,780.89). YAY! $71k is so much less than almost $87k! More importantly, it’s 25.07% down from the original amount of $95,026.87. YAY! And 25% is much more than the 8.7% from a year ago. YAY!

Now, reviewing my goals from my “2013 in review”, how did I do?

  • blog here 4x/month or 1x/week
    • PASS! 48 total (published) entries for 2014.
  • get under $60,000 in student loan debt by January 1, 2015 (pay off $27k)
    • FAIL! and…ha! Really? I missed it by $11k. 😦
  • set up a wedding fund together with Mr. Bacon and save $5k
    • PASS-ish… Set up the account and only $1200 is in it.
  • get a raise, or get the bosses to pay for some of the student loans
    • PASS! 10% raise in February that was retroactive to the beginning of the year
  • set up triathlon and travel budgets and stick to them!
    • NOPE… It didn’t get too out of control, but I definitely did more racing than I had originally planned.

Major milestones in 2014…

Financial setbacks in 2014:

  • HUGE UGLY TAXES…
  • Moving expenses (security deposit, cancelling gym memberships and the Dish Network…)
  • New car

Financial Amazeballs in 2014:

  • Getting a raise (despite the frustrations of the new position, it’s still more money)
  • Moving to a cheaper place (saving over $300/month in parking!)
  • A gigantic mid-year bonus in September!

So overall, despite only making minimum student loan payments for three of the 12 months, I still managed to pay off an average of almost $1,300 per month ($1,298.14). If you take out those 3 small months, though, my average jumps all the way up to $1,656.24. HOLY CRAP!

Ok then…so now that only leaves us with 2015 FINANCIAL GOALS:

  • Save up $5,000 for the wedding, have a successful wedding for not much more than that!
  • Pay off the remaining $2,100 for the new bike
  • Stay credit card debt-free (still accrue airline miles on the CC, but pay off the balance each month)
  • Keep blogging 4x per month!
  • Save up $15,000 in the house fund! ($1,500/month)
  • Move towards a better work situation (whether it’s stress, finances, and/or location)
  • Get the loans under $65k (still pay the minimum, and then some)

Happy new year everybody! I am enjoying reading everybody’s yearly round-ups, and wishing you all a prosperous 2015. 🙂