Month 26 Update – $30,610.82

 

 

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Broke the $31k barrier. This marks about a third of my original balance which included credit cards and student loans. Hate interest too if you haven’t figured that one out. Over $100 each month of what I pay is taking away from the principal payment…

Wasn’t able to pay as much this month as usual due to a series of different bills. Went to a wedding last month in Tampa. Had an great time staying in St. Petersburg. Great restaurants, perfect weather, hotel was mostly nice. The A/C died the last night we were there and the water pressure in the shower was lacking. Rented a Kia Optima car from Budget. Not a car I would recommend. Throttle very jumpy and handling not very good. It was 109.63 total for 3 days courtesy of my Costco discount and some coupons.  My roundtrip flight and hotel were 667.29 which I incurred in March.

Recently found out that as of August my employer will match my 401k contributions up to 6% of my income. There is some 2% retirement plan investment thing I think I’m enrolled in automatically but haven’t looked at that yet. So I have over $2900 in my 401k and up to $200 in my Roth.

So onto the picture below. Plumbing issues again in the house. The root cause I believe is due to someone flushing down a wipe in the toilet. Last time we had this issue I needed to call a plumber and pay close to $300 for the emergency visit. I hate spending money for no reason so I looked up a video on YouTube how to do it and drove down to my nearby Home Depot. The guy there was very helpful in explaining how to use the machine. After a few mosquito bites and lots of sweat in 90° F weather everything was done. Water flowing, toilet draining and only $50 out of pocket.

 

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After looking at some homes (just past the 2 year anniversary in ours), we decided not to pursue further. Seems like a whole lot of work for a place we aren’t super passionate about moving. Higher taxes, more commute time, less sq footage, difficulties in parking, having to cancel contracts and all that jazz.

Going on a cruise soon, my very first one. Looking forward to the experience. I need a vacation from my vacations. It’s usually been going somewhere for someone else (weddings, family, etc), but less so for us as a couple.

Month 24 Update – $32,140.58

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So here we are…April 5, 2014. Listening to some Fantasia and Aretha Franklin tunes on my Audio-Technica headphones while bf watches Scrubs and our siamese cat sits curled up a foot away completely unphased by both the noise of my typing and the television. I feel beat down by an irregular sleeping schedule, where I passed out around 10:30PM and woke up at 4:45AM. I was going to go the ambitious route and go to the gym / catch up on some reading. Instead I wormed around in bed for an hour before falling asleep again. Then I see the sun rise, check my phone and it’s 7:22. Oh crap, I’m late for work. So I go through the usual shower / iron routine, telling my bf to walk the dog and delaying breakfast until I get to the work cafeteria.

I hit an important milestone, on Month 24 of making straight payments to Sallie Mae. This shit is neither fun nor easy. I certainly see how some people can go for ten years of payments and still not have their loans paid off. Life can certainly get in the way of your plans to become debt-free. I have had some increased anxiety as of late with them. Going to Florida next month for a wedding. Bf reimbursed me most of the none I put down for that trip. $600 and change with airfare / hotel factored in. Then today he’s like you should really go visit your parents. Sure that would be nice but with what money, I have about $350 to my name right now. I currently have I hold myself to higher standards that I can get this paid off as quickly as possible while still enjoying life. Debt to me is slavery. I can’t turn back the hands of time but I can focus on my abilities in the pleasant to create a better life.

Another friend bought us tickets to the NCAA Championship games in Dallas next week. I don’t know any of the teams really, but it should be exciting. Never went to a basketball game before. Don’t lecture me, just because I lived an hour from Madison  Square Garden doesn’t mean I went. Same with the Statue of Liberty… or the World Trade Center back in the day.

I was thinking today maybe sell the car and drive around in an absolute piece of crap car until I am debt-free. Of course maintenance is an issue there and I’d always wondered how many years I could get out of a perfectly reliably running car of which I have full knowledge of all its maintenance records and overall treatment. Then I think about the $3k I put in the audio system that would not be appreciated by a 2nd owner or by the dealer / used car sales guy making me an offer. Last but not least I thought about how people get royally screwed over when trading in a car. Do I really want to put myself through all that again for a shiny piece of equipment that gets me from point A to point B. Even if it’s a hybrid or an electric car that will cut my fuel costs by half or a 3/4. I don’t want to be on the treadmill forever. I want to lose the weight and keep it off. My freedom, my sanity is worth more than material objects.

Also listened through the whole Millionaire Next Door Audiobook and stared going through Secrets of A Millionaire Mind. My goal is to shift my mindset to thinking more in terms of opportunities that exist instead of limiting thoughts in my head to generate wealth. Over the the years I’ve encountered systems of get rich schemes that sound good on the surface but upon closer inspection have either large inconsistencies or have so many negative things written about them why would I want to go down that path. MLM comes to mind, if people are going to buy something from me I want to believe 100% in the product / service and it must genuinely fill some kind of need or want in their lives.

I don’t think I’m a greedy person. I just know where I have fallen short in the past and want to see more of a payoff for my hard work and efforts.  Right now that hasn’t happened yet and it can be frustrating. I see myself farther along than I currently am. I feel beat down, tore down but I can and will get back up and do some amazing things with my life. A positive net worth would be a good first step. Last but not least along with getting more omega-3s, I find keeping a busy schedule is a sure-fire way not to get depressed. Simply put, ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

Was about to hit post, then I looked at Haha Money’s How Rich Are You article. Plugged my number in to a calculator and combined we are in the richest 0.4% of the world’s population and our income is 42 times that of the average person. For just me it’s in the richest 6.1% of the world’s population and income more than 14x the typical person. Kinda boggles the mind how I could be richer than so many people in the world yet feel so financially broke.

If anyone is reading this in their 20s, I have one bit of advice. Well two really. Start planning early and don’t let the time pass you by. I’m not old, but the years have taken a toll on me. Losing my dad and grandmother so young, watching them struggle with health issues for years, a decade of being unable to get traction professionally, racking up student loan debt. The most recent one was a former friend going clinically crazy last month & being checked into a mental health institution for self-destructive behaviors. He is out, but after some of the threats and obsessive behavior I no longer choose to associate with him.

Month 23 Update – $33,018.91

Month 23 Update: i currently owe $33,018.91 on my student loans as of March 4, 2014. Image

Our washing machine needed to be serviced. I looked around on Yelp for the best company in the area. Basically I wanted the job done, didn’t want to wait the entire day for a service technician and obviously didn’t want to get price-gouged. I asked in advance, the owner said the repair typically runs $150. The actual cost was $99 as only labor was involved. If I let the machine go longer making noises I could’ve destroyed the entire thing.

My car is coming up for a service appointment. Spark plugs are rated for 100k miles but the car is also 6 years old. Car has 76k miles. I might be able to put this one off for another year. Still afraid of heaving the plugs seize up in the cylinder head.

Electric bill was $204, I am very eager for warmer weather. The cold makes me less active and has basically doubled our bill. It’s gonna be rough until my next paycheck. Keeping a $1000 emergency fund is harder than I thought. I hit it, then go back under it again.

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My credit card balance is only $100 right now, but have about $250 in pending charges and $907 in cash. Last week I ate out almost every day due to stress / convenience and a need to go out and be more social. Gained 7lbs in a month but this isn’t permanent. Cutting back on carbs /  wheat in my diet and preparing more meals will help. I can’t remember the last day I got a full 8 hrs of undivided sleep.  I need to remember what it means to have fun.

I’ll end this with something a little different… I find the busier I am, the less time I have to be depressed about anything.

Five Steps to Happiness

1 – Stay Off Social Media
2 – Don’t Talk Negatively about Other
3 – Give Gratitude
4 – Make Time For Yourself by Saying No
5 – Say Sorry

🙂 Get Debt-Free and Stay That Way!!

Unexpected Expenses

As much as I want to pay off Sallie Mae it’s time to beef up my emergency fund. For the month of January I’ll pay paying just the minimum $452 for the month. Between bills from the holidays and my pending medical bills it’s spreading me thin.

Today I was wheezing heavily and coughing at work. This has never happened to me before and lasted for a full 45 minutes. Luckily my job has a clinic on-site. I went down there and both people who worked there and those waiting felt really bad for me. So I was seen a full hour before my appointment. Chest x-ray ruled out pneumonia, tested negative for flu and negative for strep. Got a nebulizer treatment for a half hour, blood work drawn and two injections in my backside. I immediately started to feel better. My prescriptions were only $12. Went home and did 0 work afterward.

My current health plan has a $4000 deductible. That is going to $2000 in about two weeks. Still not enough to make a big difference in what I will end up owing. I hope most of the stuff at the clinic is covered by my co-pay but I cannot say so for sure. The x-rays will be a couple hundred dollars I figure.

Currently I have $197 in my bank account so an emergency fund is non-existant. I need to pull back at least for a month to do some damage control. Credit card balance is just under $700, close to $900 after pending transactions hit. That will be paid off in full after my next paycheck. I put the ATT ($87), Verizon ($150) and electricity bill (not yet added but $212) on it.

It’s a wakeup call that health is important and having insurance matters. Coming out of the holidays without super much massive damage (though I spent more than I wanted to) and that makes me happy. That’s all for now.

 

Update: Maybe the X-Rays aren’t as much as I thought. I see an estimated cost online of $32 for the center I went to.

Ground Zero – My Challenge

Wild!

1095 days. 45,159.35 remaining.

I graduated from St. Joseph’s College of New York with an MBA at the age of 24 and 42k of debt in 2008.  This debt is the aggregate total of my loans from 2001 – 2008, including Community College and Undergraduate Education.  I am 28 now, pushing ever closer to 30 and realized I need to do something with my debt before it gets completely out of control.

While my story isn’t as exciting as Mr. No More Harvard Debt, it is my own and no one else’s.  Everyone has to start off from somewhere.  Today April 7, 2012 I owe $45159.35 in debt to various entities.  This number is the culmination of student loans and credit cards.

The breakdown is as follows:
41,971.74 to Sallie Mae at 4.25%, currently on Income-Based Repayment Plan.  Still unsure if my interest will be covered at all.
3187.61o on a Chase Slate Card at 0%, which I believe is good until the end of the year.
47.70 to Citibank.

In 2011 I earned ~14000, working for effectively half the year up until we moved.
2010 I earned ~$13000.  Also essentially working half of the year, since I spent a couple months doing per diem executive assistant type work.  Long story which I prefer to skip right now.
2009 $~25000.  This was the most money I made in a single year.  I also worked in an  environment of mind numbing repetition and dreaded coming in each day after months worth of drama.  I quit to explore my options and my finances tanked as a result.

I will not divulge my income or that of my partner (yeah I’m gay) in this blog, for obvious reasons but he makes considerably more than I do.  I plan to get this debt paid off in the next 36 months.  That’s April 7, 2015 y’all.  It’s doable.  I plan to automate as much as I can and get a raise / promotion in the next 12-16 months.

I’ve been hit with a wave of adversity the past 9 months since moving to Dallas from New York.  I don’t want to dwell on it, but sharing it will provide some background as to my thought processes.

  • Got laid off after working for a company 6 weeks after being out of work for 6 months.  This company also bounced my last paycheck and owed me money for the days accrued between my last check and the day they closed up.  It appears they have violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifcation (WARN) Act by filing for bankruptcy and not giving any employees adequate notice.  I have filed a claim and would really like to get my money.
  • I was on unemployment for 4 weeks while I went on a massive networking campaign and collected about $1000.
  • Got a ticket for $178 from a cop on my way to a job interview I was already 45 minutes to.  I couldn’t find the building and decided to circle around the neighborhood.  Needless to say a cop was hiding and clocked me for 49 in a 30.  Settled, paid the fine and it is off my record.
  • Got $500 from my folks to help with my bills after my layoffs.  I didn’t ask for it, but definitely benefitted from it.
  • Prior to finding the job at that company, I applied to over 120 positions and went on about 10 different interviews including one at a company offering to pay me $30/hr.  After my third interview with no clear answer as to when they could hire me, I made the decision to try something else.

My 2008 Nissan Altima is paid off and I expect to get at least another 4 good years out of it.  I could sell it today and get ~$15k .  I put about 4k into it between upgrading the sound system, installing dynomat and hushmat in key places, along with a strut bar / sway bar, tinted windows, rims / tires etc. and my warranty is good till 2015 so no new car for me.  Some might call it foolish, but I enjoy these things everyday and it isn’t breaking the bank right now.

I just started a new job March 2011 at a company I feel is financially stable and has a great team of smart people working there.  This is my first time working in this industry, so my experience can’t yet command a higher salary.  I’d like to be making $50k by the time I’m 32.  My credit score is presently a 781.

Breakdown of my expenses are as follows:

$101 – Cell Phone (AT&T Wireless on iPhone 4)
$145 – U-Verse (Triple package with 18Mbps internet)
$150 – Gas (commute to work is only 10mi roundtrip)
$34 – Life Insurance
$30 – Haircut
$80 – Car Insurance
$30 – Car Washes
$125 – Entertainment
$200 – Food
$32 – Gas Bill
$15 – Rdio Music Subscription
$50 – Random Miscellaneous
$35 – Washer / Dryer Rental
$800 – Toward Townhouse downpayment, Need 1500-2000 by June 10th.

1827 in monthly expenses short-term, according to my best estimate.  My partner has been paying the rent since we moved here and I’ve been helping out as much as I can with expenses outside of that.

I am paying this debt off as much on my own without help from any outside sources.  I am continuing to research ways of making money on the side and continually develop my skills to start marketable in this fast changing economy.  I get paid semi-monthly, so my updates will be targeted around that timeframe unless I feel a reason to post otherwise.

We are also saving for a downpayment on a townhouse we’re closing on in June ideally.  It’s an FHA loan, so 3.5% down instead of the typical 20, but PMI applies.  Our combined income could pay for off in 2 years, but that is not the goal.  I will go into more detail on that in my next post.