August 2016 Wrap Up

Welcome!

Each month I review how we did on our budget, whether we made our snowflaking goal, and how much we brought in consigning. That debt is going DOWN.

August 2016 Budget Recap – How We Did

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The Debt Eradication line looks like nothing happened there, but that’s just because halfway through the month, I decided that I’d just do one big payment to the Citi card, as there’s no reason to pay a minimum payment and then do a big payment after the minimum payment is processed (we do that when our balance is getting hit with interest). This meant that there was no separate $128 payment. Clearly we went over budget anyway, even with that buffer there. Sigh.

Groceries were extra crazy this month because we got Blue Apron and then also did Home Chef (I had promotions for both) but then I didn’t get the Home Chef one canceled as quickly as I needed to (they charged me a week before delivery! ack!) and it was “too late” to cancel the delivery. We also threw a baby shower and I bought the cake and some other items, so that ate into our grocery budget (hardy har har – pun!)

Month-to-Month Progress:

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I just checked our starting debt from December 2013: $80,713.00. We still have more than $15,000 to go – and that just goes to show how much interest can be generated in three years. Ugh.

How far we have come:

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August 2016 Snowflaking

As a reminder, our goal for each month is to snowflake at least $239 to pay off H’s student loans by February 2017. (For more on our goals, see this.)

We snowflaked an extra student loan payment of $3,414.97  (including a budgeted amount of $2,459.17) in August. Read more in the snowflaking post I did for August.

August 2016 Consignment

  • $0 (August)
  • $43.10 (July)
  • $0 (June)
  • $0 (May)
  • $0 (April)
  • $51.98 (March)
  • $6.96 (February)
  • $64.66 (January)

We dropped off some other items for consignment this month, and we have about $10 sitting in the account there, but I chose not to bother getting it because we were short on time. I’m planning another trip soon because I have two more bigger-ticket items to take and then I’ll hopefully have even more there waiting for me!

Other Money Details

  • I got some info on a possible side hustle – I’ve let the client know that I’m interested in working on the project, but I haven’t heard back yet. If I land it, it could be $500 (before taxes), which would be pretty sweet! Plus, it can’t hurt to have something like this on my resume….
  • I was asked to do a project that will land me $150 (no taxes taken out!) and that will be pretty awesome – it can be a lot of hours, but it looks good on my resume and it’s still going to be $150. So, woohoo!

We are keeping our eyes open for a house in our target area – we can afford to be picky as staying in a rental for only $800 a month is pretty great and allows us to pay down our debt faster. It’s still disheartening to see our big pile of money each month get split between savings and debt eradication (especially as my student loans aren’t getting paid down much beyond the minimum payment, and they are accruing interest), but our net worth continues to climb because we are spending less than we make and we are prioritizing savings and debt reduction over other things.

Like clothes. Man, I could really use another pair of jeans (I have one that I will wear all weekend once it gets a bit cooler). I’m beginning to daydream about the pieces I could buy to expand my closet a bit (or to replace the pieces that are getting worn out). One more pair of jeans. A heavier cardigan I can leave at work to layer with when I’m the only one who is cold in the office. Some pairs of tights that don’t fall down. A pair of gray pants.

I gotta snap out of it! I can keep going with what I have for the time being. Gotta keep my eye on the prize!

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Catching Up: July 2016 Wrap-Up & August 2016 Snowflaking

Welcome!

Each month I review how we did on our budget, whether we made our snowflaking goal, and how much we brought in consigning. That debt is going DOWN.


Late again!

Really late.

Excuses include: …

This month was crap.

Yep, good enough.

I’m gonna roll the wrap-up for July and the snowflaking for August into one post – neither is that great so I might as well get them over with, eh?

July 2017 Budget Recap – How We Did

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Yeah. We had some friends stay with us for a few days, and I have made it a conscious priority to try to let go of my money anxiety enough to feel good about putting them up. They are financially conscious, too, but with the scheduling and the other obligations we had going on during the time they were here, we were short on time and wanted to spend as much time socializing (and not so much time cooking). Result: eating out (and a liquor store run before they arrived!).

We also spent a week away with family, and while my parents spent money on us to eat out, sometimes we bought our own food or helped out (in a small way, comparatively). So, that added on to our expenses.I really could have budgeted better for those things, as I knew they were coming. I just decided to bury my head in the sand and hope the math would work out somehow. This seems to be a theme with me. Ugh. If I know it’s wrong but keep doing it, that’s just stupid. Working on this.

Month-to-Month Progress:

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Our sinking fund decreased by so much because we paid for L’s activities for the coming semester ($470!), including the Nutcracker performance she’ll be participating in (and she has an additional class for once a week through the fall term).

How far we have come:

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July 2016 Snowflaking: $403.82

As a reminder, our goal for each month is to snowflake at least $239 to pay off H’s student loans by February 2017. (For more on our goals, see this.)

We snowflaked an extra student loan payment of $403.82 (with $400 set aside for savings). Read more in the snowflaking post I did for July, but the reason this number is so low is because we’re keeping some cash aside (about half of whatever we have to snowflake) just in case the right house for us comes on the market.

July 2016 Consignment

  • $43.10 (July)
  • $0 (June)
  • $0 (May)
  • $0 (April)
  • $51.98 (March)
  • $6.96 (February)
  • $64.66 (January)

Woohoo! Finally got some $ picked up and dropped off another box of items. Yay!

Other Money Details

  • The Check for H’s award finally came! It was about $700+ after taxes, and we snowflaked part of it to debt (as you’ll see below).

August 2016 Snowflaking

Okay, so my records on this month are a little confusing, so I’m not sure how exactly this all broken down, but I think what I am putting below is as close as I can get to reality.

August 2016 Minimum Payment

Mintly Navient Loans

  • $81.13 – minimum payment we sent (this one has gone down because Navient wants to keep making money out of us and make us take longer to pay it off, I guess? I got a notice this month that our monthly payment was being lowered, and lo and behold…. there it is!)
  • $58.41 (72%) – amount that went to principal (last month: 81%)
  • $22.72 (28%) – amount that went to interest (last month: 19%)
  • $35 – extra sent to Navient (we had already budgeted for $114 to send to Navient, so I went ahead and did an extra payment)
  • $9,231.26 – balance (last month: $9,315.21)
    • You see how they got us to pay more? My minimum payment now only went to 72% principal because they kept the interest payment the same (around $22) but lowered the amount of money that goes to the principal! Grrrr.

Citibank Card (no-interest until August 2017)

  • $1,383.80 – payment we sent
  • $6,634.37 – balance (last month: $8,018.17)

August 2016 Snowflaking/Savings Breakdown: $3,414.97 (half sent to debt, half put into savings)

  • $102 – Swagbucks (<– referral link)
  • $700 – award check from H’s work
  • $153.80 – left in checking account at the end of July
  • $2,459.17 – budgeted money from the month of August after budgeting for other necessities

Current total debt: $15,865.63 (last month: $17,333.38)

  • Citibank (H’s loans): $6,634.37
  • Navient (my loans): $9,231.26

 

Reflection:

We did well overall in debt repayment/savings in August but it is a challenge for me to accept that we are paying down our debt now two times as slowly since we are dividing our money between savings and debt eradication. There is nearly no way to get our debt paid down by my goal of February 2017 at this rate, but I am holding out hope that we can get it paid off by the end of the academic year (June 2017). That would be a nice resolution, if not my first goal. It would also be nice to buy a house by the end of the academic year, too!

I’m not sure what things will be like in September (in terms of snowflaking and throwing extra funds at savings and debt eradication) but it will likely be quite a bit less than last month! I’m looking forward to H’s raise (it will be small, but, as you know, every little bit helps!) coming into play.

Anyone else feeling some bumps on the road to debt freedom these past couple of months?

May 2016 Snowflaking Recap

 

Welcome to the May 2016 Snowflaking Report!

As a reminder, I’m doing this once a month for the following reasons:

  1. We pay our minimum payment automatically around the 13th of every month, and I send our extra payment as soon as the payment posts to improve the likelihood that our Snowflaking payment will go entirely to the principal and not to interest.
  2. My monthly recaps are kind of long, so I’d like to take out some of the details to streamline them.
  3. Snowflaking will make or break the achievement of our 2016 Mintly Goal(s)!

What is Snowflaking?

“Snowflaking” can be defined as putting all of your extra income (often in small amounts) to your debt. For instance, if you do an odd job or have a side hustle, that money would go to your debt. If your mom sends you money for your birthday, you can send that money to your debt. If you get a refund on an item, that money can go to your debt. For more, see this.

Mintly Snowflaking 2016 by the numbers:

  • $239 – amount needed per month to pay off all of H’s loans by our target of February 2017 (for more information on our debt, including the amount, please see this)
  • $1091 – amount needed per month to pay off all four of our loans by our target of February 2017 (definitely our “stretch” goal!)

May 2016 Minimum Payment

I include this information because our snowflaking will continue to decrease the amount of interest we pay every time we make a payment, and tracking that decrease helps me see that we’re making a difference, even when it seems like we’re barely making a dent each month!

  • $391.83 – minimum payment we sent
  • $367.91 (94%) – amount that went to principal (last month: 69%)
  • $23.92 (6%) – amount that went to interest (last month: 31%)

May 2016 Snowflaking:

  • $2341.46 – total amount we sent (including $1492.86 that was budgeted)
  • $2341.46 (100%) – amount that went to principal
  • $0 (0%) – amount that went to interest

Current total student loan debt: $30,683.99 (including Navient and the Citibank card where we transferred about $9,000 of H’s loans)

May 2016 Snowflaking Breakdown:

  • $1492.86 (budgeted – it was supposed to be $1500 but we had to squeak out a few more dollars for some other budget items this month)
  • $100 –  Swagbucks (<– referral link)
  • $16.14 – Ebates (<– referral link)
  • $28.46 – Chase Rewards for Mary Kay card (does not go to Ultimate Travel rewards so I cashed it in!)
  • $575 – Citibank Thank You Points!

Reflection:

The amount of money that went to principal vs. interest this month on our minimum payment was way lower! Things are looking up! I have to say that I don’t love looking at a credit card balance of about $9,000 (and I’ll like it even less when our cash to credit debt ratio is worse after we send another big chunk of cash to Navient), but it’s worth it for now because we’re saving on interest. We don’t plan to make any big purchases where companies will be pulling our credit reports, so I’m willing to take the hit on my credit for the time being.

And… no. Still no contract. I might go crazy. H is supposed to talk to HR today. We’ll see what happens… but I have learned not to get my hopes up!