November 2014 Recap

Copy of  January 2014 Accountability

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The Numbers…. 

I was kind of shocked to discover that we reduced our student loans by only about $250 this month, since we pay $500 monthly to Navient. Which means that only 50% is going to principal, and the other 50% goes right to interest! I guess the true breakdown of our minimum payment wasn’t apparent because we’ve been able to pay a few extra payments here and there over the past couple of months (the $5000 gift from my grandparents [though half of that went to dental bills] and the reimbursement from our escrow fund from the sale of our house).

Admittedly, we are also paying on student loans in the form of our Citibank credit card payment ($450/month), so our total debt reduction was still almost $700. Still, it’s disheartening to see how little change we make on a “normal” Debt Eradication month.

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Additional Money this Month: $210.69

  • $50  – H’s side gig
  • $150 – reimbursement from eye insurance
  • $10.69 –  interest from Money Market account (Money Market account houses our travel fund and house fund)
 Pretty pitiful this month, but at least there was something.

Money Accomplishments This Month:

We sold one of our cars! We used Carmax, because although we wanted to make money, we didn’t want to sell on Craigslist. I know this might not be the answer for everyone, but after weighing the pros and cons, we decided we wanted to sell it quickly and have it done with (without the headache of dealing with people test-driving, etc.). We got much less than the Kelley Blue Book value (of course), and part of it will go to Christmas presents, and the other part will go to Student Loan Debt Eradication, woohoo! (The check hasn’t cleared yet, so it isn’t accounted for in the above spreadsheets.)

We have our other regular car, and then we have the car that my parents are going to sell us for $1 over Christmas when we go up to visit them. It’s an old van with more than 180,000 miles on it, but our other car wasn’t doing us any favors either. My parents had already “given” us the van, and we did NOT need three cars (especially since we have no garage and a driveway that is the width of exactly ONE car). Buying the car from them means we have go to the DMV this month to turn in the license plate of the car we sold so we can get drop the insurance on it as well as change our address and get new licenses, etc., etc. Ugh. Not looking forward to that.

Money Setbacks This Month:

We didn’t get much money from side hustles or any other income. I have money sitting in our consignment account (the store where we consign clothes and other items), but it’s over an hour away and we just haven’t been able to get out there to pick it up.

H had another business-related trip and will perhaps get reimbursed for some of it, though we’re waiting to find out how we must submit his expenses/receipts.

Life Accomplishments this Month:

  • Thanksgiving with family!
  • Planned (and got tickets for) the events that we’re attending in December.
  • Had a great time with my friend who came to visit (though it was expensive, as I knew it would be…).

What I’m Looking Forward to in December:

  • Christmas!
  • Lots of fun holiday events
  • Lack of holiday concerts (which were a requirement for my previous job)!
  • Going home to see my family

Looking Forward to 2015: 

Sharing Monthly Budgets on MintlyBlog: I’m still working out the details, but I think I may be heading towards sharing our budget on the blog in the next year, starting in January. This will make more sense, I think, then just sharing the above images (though I do like those, and I’ll continue with them, as it makes me feel energized to see that we are making progress!).

Student Loan Debt Eradication: H and I discussed how we will set up our budget for the coming year, given that our Travel Fund will soon be funded (one more deposit of $500 in January, and we’ll be up to $5000!). We’ve determined that the Student Loan Debt Eradication should be our highest priority. I’ve created a fund (well, it will actually just be in our Money Market account), and we will devote most of our non-living-expenses cash to that. We’re thinking – 2015 SPOILER ALERT – that we may be able to put away over $700 a month just to this fund (which we will use to send Sallie Mae / Navient a good-sized check every few months to pay down the principal). I’m a little nervous about allocating so much money to debt eradication instead of investing, but I know that it’s the right thing to do. I really don’t want to be carrying student loan debt in my 40s, people.

Re-Evaluation of Sinking Fund: I’ve also revisited our monthly contributions to our Sinking Fund. We plan to move all of the “left-over” money into our emergency fund, which allows me to allocate that $75 a month we were saving for the Emergency Fund (which is already up to over $600 anyway) to my monthly Roth IRA contribution. Now, instead of $30/month, I’m upping it to $100! Woohoo! H’s retirement is worth TWICE what mine is. Together, we have the equivalent of one year’s salary combined, which is technically an “okay” place to be (1x your yearly salary or 1.5x your yearly salary is recommended by age 35, I think I read that somewhere….), but I’m appalled that mine is so much lower than his. Not cool. He puts over $400 in automatically each month, pre-tax, and my automatic contribution is only around $200. (Rather than change it, I’m going to use the missing $100 to fund my Roth IRA and the other $100 for Student Loan Debt Eradication.)

Anyone else have big budget or savings plan changes in the works for 2015?


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6 thoughts on “November 2014 Recap

  1. Interest is so horrible, isn’t it? Ack. I’m with you in prioritizing student loans. It’s such a cloud over our heads as it’s the only debt we’ve both ever had, and we both just want it gone. My fiance is still contributing the minimum to his 401k, and luckily time is still on our side, but I do feel guilty not investing more. I’m hoping we can ramp up earnings and make bigger dents next year.

    Am I going crazy, or is there animated snow falling on the blog? =)

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    • It’s so great that student loan debt is all you and your fiance have had to deal with – awesome planning! And yes, time is a bit more on your side for the retirement planning. I feel like we’re letting time slip away from us and I desperately want to be able to contribute the maximum to my Roth IRA! I think I’m going to split our tax refund 60%, 30%, 10% – 60% student loans, 30% Roth IRA, and 10% fun money… Keeping my fingers crossed that the entire amount is large enough that those amounts will make a difference in those accounts!

      Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….. 😉 Apparently this is a thing that’s an option that WordPress makes available in the winter! I seem to recall I selected it last year and apparently it holds true for this year, too!

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  2. Cannot believe it’s almost 2015. I have some goals in the works – mostly around minimizing debt and saving for retirement. Kind of the same things I’ve had every year since graduation. Haha. 🙂 Do you have travel plans for the holidays? I’m already planning for a spring vacation to ward off the post-holiday doldrums.

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    • We are traveling! We will be driving about 10-11 hours to visit my parents. Time-consuming, but less expensive than flying. It’s smart of you to think ahead to spring – January and February can be rough months. I always think I should have a Winter Blues party where everyone can come and drink and have a potluck! And I’d play blues on the iPod, of course. 🙂 I like your goals for 2015 – can’t beat reducing debt and increasing retirement funds! Good luck – I look forward to watching your progress!

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