September 2016 Snowflaking

Happy September! Here we go!

Navient Minimum Payment & Additional Payment

Mintly Navient Loans

  • $81.13 – minimum payment we sent
    • 73% – amount that went to principal (last month: 72%)
    • 27% – amount that went to interest (last month: 28%)
  • $35 – extra sent to Navient (this is a budgeted amount we send to keep our payment to Navient the same as it was before they lowered my minimum payment)
    • 98% – amount that went to principal*
    • 2% – amount that went to interest
  • $9,127.45 – balance (last month: $9,231.26)

*So, funny story – apparently the minimum payment that Navient is now asking me to pay ($81.13) doesn’t actually cover the entire interest that is due, so even when I make my additional payment of $35, there’s still interest to pay! The other option is that somehow the payment isn’t going through quickly enough and interest has already accrued since the minimum payment. However, in August when I did this same process, I paid additional payment the SAME DAY and was still charged interest (which, honestly, I did not note because it was so weird… but now it’s a thing, apparently).

Citibank Card (no-interest until August 2017)

  • $1,157.75 – payment we sent
  • $5,377.62 – balance (last month: $6,634.37)

Snowflaking/Savings Breakdown: $2,022.68 (half sent to debt, half put into savings)

  • $56 – Swagbucks (<– referral link)
  • $44.41 – money that I was supposed to send to the dentist bill from our sinking fund but I never transferred the money to our checking account… and so it gets to be put into our savings/debt eradication!
  • $50 – American Express Dollars
  • $2,022.68 – money from our paychecks that was budgeted for savings/debt eradication
  • $69 – H’s side hustle
  • $13.30 – Pact app

Current total debt: $14,505.08 (last month: $15,865.63)

  • Citibank (H’s loans): $5,377.62
  • Navient (my loans): $9,127.45


I feel like there are a hella lotta goals in my life (well, my husband’s, daughter’s, and my lives, that is) and I’m getting overwhelmed with trying to achieve all of the goals. How strong is a goal of buying a house this year? How strong is our goal to pay off our debt as soon as possible? Some goals HAVE to take precedence or it takes forever to achieve them (witness our slowly growing savings fund and our slowly diminishing debt). I know we could do one or the other a lot more quickly if we could focus everything on one goal, but it’s difficult when you don’t know when the right house might come on the market. We are definitely in a period of transition, and at some point, either a house will show up and be THE ONE or we will get our debt paid off and also have a good sizable chunk of cash for aiding in a house purchase. It’s just hard to see things moving so slooooowly now. If I recognize that period of transition though, maybe I can be a turtle, if it means we win the race!


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


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


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:


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:


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



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?

July 2016 Snowflaking Report

Welcome to the July 2016 Snowflaking Report!

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 July 2016 Snowflaking Strategy:

As you may remember, we made a huge payment to H’s Navient loans, and we transferred the balance 0% interest credit card. Of course, we also still have my two loans at Navient (which have always been at the low interest rate of 2.88%, so they have never been our primary focus).

So: we have two remaining  chunks of debt to pay off these days.

One is those Navient loans, and the other is the Citibank card, where we transferred H’s loans.

Our original goal was to pay off my Navient loans while the balance sat on the Citibank card, and then snowball the Navient payments to Citibank after those got paid off. However, we have reassessed and H especially feels more comfortable if the “what-looks-like-consumer-debt-but-used-to-be-student-loans” gets paid off first.

I personally waffle back and forth on this, because part of the appeal of turning those Navient loans into credit card debt was to then pay down the interest-accruing debt we have elsewhere. On the other hand, the minimum payment on my loans is so low that if we did get into trouble somehow, we could much more easily pay a $114.01 minimum payment than scramble to get the Citibank paid off before it “comes due.”


We all have to weigh the pros and cons and our own comfort level with debt vs. cash and other financial situations, and I can certainly accommodate H in this instance. I mean, look at how our debt and cash ratio lines up right now (I use (Note: This debt does include our regular credit card debt as well, which is paid off each month since we use CCs to rack up points for planned travel.)

H & I are certainly agreed that for now we are also dividing our “snowflaking” money into two piles – one for actually snowflaking towards debt, and the other for saving.

Why save more? Mostly because we’re going to stay on the lookout for a home and if we have a bit more in the bank for closing costs, etc., we’ll be better off. We’re actively looking, but we don’t feel pressured to move. After looking around some in the area and keeping our eyes peeled, we’ve learned that the market here is a tough one – to find the kind of house we can afford in an area we’d like to live in, we will have to be ready to jump on one as soon as it becomes available. This is something we’re willing to do, as long as we’re financially prepared.

If this does occur, though, it is true that our goals to pay off the debt by the end of February 2016 will not be realized. I’ve pretty much come to the decision that I can let that goal go if we are able to get into a reasonably-nice house (not asking for the moon, here, people) that’s in a great location.

Alternately, if we get to February and are thisclose to having our debt paid off and we just need a bit more, then we very likely could take that saved-up money and pay off the rest of our debt.

Indeed, knowing that our snowflaking money will be split up for a while is kind of inspiring me to look for more and more ways to make money (and I’ve been swagging* more than ever these days!).

* If you have the ability to use Swagbucks, I highly recommend it! I’m now working to make $5 a day, 5 days a week – yes, not much, but a big help if it means over $100 a month or more in extra cash that can go directly do debt/savings!

July 2016 Minimum Payment

Mintly Navient Loans

  • $114.01 – minimum payment we sent
  • $91.80 (81%) – amount that went to principal (last month: 93%)
  • $22.21 (19%) – amount that went to interest (last month: 7%)
  • $9,315.21 – balance (last month: $9,418.18)

Citibank Card (no-interest until August 2017)

  • $128 – minimum payment we sent


July 2016 Snowflaking to Citibank:

  • $403.82 – amount we sent to Citibank
  • $8,018.17 – balance (last month: $8,549.99)



Current total debt: $17,333.38 (last month: $17,957.80)

  • Citibank (H’s loans): $8,018.17
  • Navient (my loans): $9,315.21


July 2016 Snowflaking Breakdown: $403.82 (with $400 set aside for savings)

  • $150 – Swagbucks (<– referral link)
  • $25.86 – Pact (via Paypal)
  • $10 – from Mom
  • $17 – consigning books
  • $26.10 – consigning clothes/toys
  • $27 – H’s side hustle
  • $322 – budgeted for debt eradication


I’m realizing that it isn’t motivation that is lacking in our household. We all want that debt gone! Even our daughter understands that we are working on paying down those student loans and they are a priority to us. However, our problem is that we often feel defeated.

It’s easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves: it will still be a while before that debt is really gone, and then when it is, it will take a while to build up the kind of savings we want to buy a house or to save for retirement, etc. At some point, we will need to replace one of our vehicles and if we don’t have the money saved up, we’ll need a loan. My goal is to truly never have consumer debt again (except for a mortgage).

And to clarify our desires for homeownership – we are not looking at a house as an investment, at least not monetarily. We’re looking at buying a house where we will be able to live for a really, really long time. We may even stay in the house through retirement, and through the time that my parents may need to move in with us in their later years. We want a house where our daughter can grow up happily playing outside (safely) and we can put up our own artwork on the walls and make a house feel like our home. I’m willing to pay quite a bit for that luxury – it doesn’t have to be beautiful (we can do some – limited – work on it) but it does have to be ours.

It’s a different world than the one my parents grew up in. They were working for a public university (so were state employees with great benefits that don’t exist for us where we live, though we are also state employees), and bought a house for $80,000 (one that we would honestly be super happy with if it were in our area because it ticks all the boxes we need!). That house, incidentally, is probably going to sell for $150,000 where they live, and would cost about $275,000 or more where we live. (Ridiculous.)

But. But. I know how fortunate we are. We are nearly to our debt-free goal. We have a wonderful, happy, healthy family, and we are both gainfully employed and live in a beautiful area. There is so much to be thankful for. So, every day, I log into Mint and look at our decrease in debt over the last few years, and that’s what helps me feel a bit better about being 36 and still owing student loans!

Well, that turned out to be long-winded. I know that very few folks ready this blog (hi, there!), but it’s really been a huge help to me to keep me honest and help me focus on goals and reflect on our progress and strategies. So, if you are reading, I just want to say, “Thanks!”