Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: April 2014 Check-in

It’s time to check in on our debt payments and savings goals again. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can read about our decision to publicly keep track of our debt here.

Pull up those balances!

Logan’s paying off a Citi Card, which currently has an APR of 19.99 percent, and a minimum monthly payment of $47.
March 2014 Balance: $3,075.83
April 2014 Balance: 3,126.77

Says Logan: It’s higher because I am late on my payment, but I get my first paycheck on Friday and then I can pay this and other bills, and all will be fiiiiineee.

I’m paying off a private graduate student loan currently serviced by Discover. The interest rate on this loan is 2 percent, and the minimum monthly payment is $147. The original balance on this loan was $22,377.

March 2014 Balance: $14,126.32
April 2014 Balance: $13,964.85

Vacation Savings
March 2014 Balance: $200
April 2014 Balance: $250

Remember, if you pay off one of your debts or reach a savings goal, email me your address and I’ll mail you a note to congratulate you.

 

See previous months here.

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148 Comments / Post A Comment

andnowlights (#2,902)

YAY! I was so worried! We’re working on husband student loans that were really used for living expenses when we lived in the northeast:

This round (Loan groups A and C), January 2014: $17,000

End of March: $12,327.1

End of April: $10,947.92

Paid off $1379.18 this month. SO CLOSE to getting under $10k!

If we manage to pay off an average $1300 a month, we’ll be done by mid-January. I’m guessing it will be more like the end of February, though, since we have a trip we need to pay for in October. Either way, at that point we will be completely debt free!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@andnowlights Great progress!

nnlsbin (#5,447)

@andnowlights awesome progress! well done

ThatJenn (#916)

@andnowlights oh my gosh, SO close to 4 digits! you guys are inspiring as always.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@ThatJenn @nnlsbin @LookUponMyWorks Thank you! It’s been fun watching the numbers go down!

thegirlieshow (#5,285)

Citi card
Mar. 2014 balance: $85.61
Apr. 2014 balance: $0 (At laaaaaaaaaaaast!)

SallieMae student loan (1 of some unquantifiably large number)
Mar. 2014 balance: $6,810.06
Apr. 2014 balance: $6,730.07

Also, savings account wiped out by deposit & first month’s on new apartment, but choosing not to think about that right now.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@thegirlieshow Congrats on paying off that Citi card!

samburger (#5,489)

@thegirlieshow RIP CITI CARD BALANCE YOU WILL NOT BE MISSED

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@thegirlieshow Good job!!

highjump (#39)

@thegirlieshow Think of how much faster you’ll be able to restore that deposit money now that you’re not paying Citibank interest!

Allison (#4,509)

Student Loans: March $10,088.19, April: $9,925.50 FOUR DIGITS!!!!

Credit Card: March $883.16 April: $1,058.04. Let’s talk about how oweing money on your taxes right after going on a big vacation is terrible timing. This MAY bust my streak of “paying no interest on my CC” which is FINE. It’s pretty normal! but this is one of those things I picked up from my mom and ughhh it burns.

Savings March $5,400.18, April: $5050.42 See above re: vacation, taxes, hatred of interest.

Side savings (vacations, etc) March $207.26 April: $57.37 etc etc

lisaf (#3,089)

@Allison I am so solidly with you and your mom on hating interest. It’s not some weird irrational thing you picked up from your mom, it’s a smart rule! I’d support you dipping into savings to avoid paying interest. Student Loan interest is one thing. Credit card interest is SO MUCH MONEY.

Allison (#4,509)

@lisaf The irrational part of this is also how $5K in my savings account has become my unofficial floor. I don’t want to go below it for…reasons?? I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to pay off last month’s balance before the due date.

Of course, flights home for Christmas will probably go up next week, so let’s not talk about what May’s bill will look like.

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@Allison Congrats on 4 digits!

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Allison @lisaf I have “floors” in my bank accounts, too. Makes me so upset if I have to move money around and it messes them up!

Allison (#4,509)

@andnowlights it’s pretty much my emergency fund, and everything else on top is just more. If I was hanging at a higher level on the reg I’d probably throw it at the student loans. or mortgage (which I should track on here now that I get a monthly statement telling me how verrrrrry slowly that’s getting paid down.)

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Allison I don’t think I’ve seen anyone tracking their mortgage lately! That would be really fun to watch go down!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

Happy to see Logan, even if in sort of a proxy way.

Car: still $1750 left on that sucker
Student loans: $34,666.01

Fitting that part of my student loan amount is also Beelzebub’s number.

highjump (#39)

@LookUponMyWorks I have missed Logan too.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@LookUponMyWorks $1750 is so close to being done! You can do it!

We had either a cc bill or part of the loan that ended in 666 this month. I thought it was super fitting!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@andnowlights Yeah, the amount on the car is currently interest free, so I’m only pay maybe $150 a month on it, and am much more focused on my loans. Even though I’m paying almost triple the minimum on them monthly, the balance hardly changes.

manda (#6,108)

American Express
March 2014 balance: $2905.63
April 2014 balance: $2867.97

April was rough and I didn’t throw as much at this card as I usually do – here’s hoping May is a little easier.

Stina (#686)

@manda It still went down though. So that’s great.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@manda April was rough for SO many people (including myself), and May is going to pricey for us too! Hoping for a kind June, ha ha.

samburger (#5,489)

I am saving money with my wife! We moved in March and flatlined our savings rate. Despite some big expenses this month, we’re back to making good progress.

March – $20,546
April – $23,756

Also excellent money news: We have been expecting to spend almost $30,000 for my wife to go back to school, but through some extremely wise school choices and excellent luck, she got it down to about $9,000. RELIEF JOY ETC

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

@samburger That is FANTASTIC!

Stina (#686)

@samburger That’s great news. VERY happy for you.

Marissa (#467)

Travel Fund:
March 2014 – $13,076.76
April 2014 – $13,084.63

Nothing new aside from interest. I thought I would put in even more than usual because April was a three paycheck month, but instead I decided to bite the bullet and pay off the remainder of my final student loan.

ACS Student Loan:
March 2014 – $1,541.06
April 2014 – $0!

No debt while I’m traveling! So at least I won’t owe anything when I come home broke ;)

Allison (#4,509)

@Marissa well done! And that’s probably a good plan.

When are you thinking you’ll hit the road?

samburger (#5,489)

@Marissa ahh how cool! Congrats!

Marissa (#467)

@Allison Either the last week of August or first week of September. I have to stick around for my cousin’s wedding in August which is actually going to be super fun because a) it’s at a winery and b) my family is hilarious.

Allison (#4,509)

@Marissa I love winery weddings. Especially when you pregame at others in the area ahead of time.

nnlsbin (#5,447)

@Marissa congratulations on paying off your studen loan!

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Marissa Congrats on paying off the student loan! May is a 3 paycheck month for me and we’re putting that extra paycheck toward the student loan too. We’ll be glad later on!

lisaf (#3,089)

Hey Mike, do you think we could do one thread of paying off loans and another for saving up?

Allison (#4,509)

@lisaf I find myself really anti this idea. Debt and savings don’t exist independent of each other! In this thread you already have people saying “I couldn’t save as much this month because I wanted to pay off more debt” and “oh I couldn’t pay off my card as much this month because I have to save up for a security deposit”.

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@lisaf I agree with Allison. When I started doing the check in, I was deep in debt and the transition into debt free and saving more was a lot easier because everyone here is together, cheering each other. Money is money, no matter where it’s going.

samburger (#5,489)

@lisaf From a net worth perspective, they’re the same thing: paying off a liability is the same as saving since they both bring your net worth up, whether it’s up toward $0 or up toward $300,000. We’re all ultimately trying to increase wealth.

lisaf (#3,089)

@Allison If other people like it, I’m happy to have it stay! Especially when people have both debt and savings. I was more thinking about the times where I was putting a few hundred against a 5-digit loan and feeling like the people who have 5-digits savings with no debt… like thats just talking about different things!

tw0lle (#4,354)

Last month I had $518 in my savings account. Now I have $681.52 (I had been putting $150/month in there, plus I have a “Keep the Change” account at Bank of America with matching).

I did get a promotion and am making about $300 more/month, so I’m trying to decide how much more I should put into savings. $50? $100? I was so worried about having enough for groceries etc before that I don’t want to go crazy, but I also would like to stop worrying so much about not having an emergency fund.

Allison (#4,509)

@tw0lle Maybe throw a $100-$150 in a month until it gets up to a level you feel more comfortable with and then see about dropping down some?

samburger (#5,489)

@tw0lle Save as much of that raise as you can until you meet your savings goal. If you were having trouble paying for groceries, give yourself enough of the raise to correct that (& feed yourself well!), then stash the rest away.

Congrats on the promotion!

nell (#4,295)

@tw0lle Agree with Allison who said just slowly increase it until it’s at a place you’re comfortable with–I would say sock it away aggressively until you have an emergency fund you’re comfortable with, then find a percentage you’re comfortable with and stick with it. I get a small scheduled raise each year and I always bump up my auto-payment to my savings account and IRA in line with my raise…even if I’m making only 2% more money I’m always putting the same percentage into savings. It feels a little silly to change your autodraft from $100 to $112 or whatever but I like sticking to a plan!

scn231 (#1,705)

Oooh I have been so excited for this checkin, because I had a good/frugal month with some reimbursements and refunds SO: goal for circus school is $3,000 by the end of May, and I have $2,200 in the savings account now (up from $800 last month). Since I’m not sure I’ll make it, I’m planning to couchsurf with friends while I train, rather than subletting, so that’ll help make it up. For my second goal, paying down my bar loan, I actually made an extra payment, so in March, it was $10,442, interest 9%, now $10,178. So I think I’ll have it down under 10K, the original balance, next month yayyy.

highjump (#39)

@scn231 Having loans under their original balance is a great but not great milestone.

scn231 (#1,705)

@highjump Right?! I’m in a public interest repayment situation where my school gives me the money for payments for ten years and then the government is supposed to forgive the remaining amount. It lulled me into a sense of complacency until I realized the repayment was so slow the debt is not decreasing – so now I’m actually putting some of my own money toward it, which sort of feels like a waste, but makes me feel better about the larger debt picture. So yeah, great, but also not great is exactly the situation.

Allison (#4,509)

@scn231 Please write us a two thousand word report about circus school.

highjump (#39)

@scn231 Ah yes, beautiful PSLF. Alas, I do not qualify. Many of my friends’ future solvency depends on this program.

scn231 (#1,705)

@Allison Yes indeed! I am so so so excited.

squashblossom (#6,560)

@scn231 I was considering a slight career change to have the public service forgiveness, but I wasn’t sure if it made financial sense to pay minimum but not have it go anywhere for 10 years, or just save to pay off the loans. What was your reasoning behind going one way or the other?

scn231 (#1,705)

@squashblossom My decision was forced – my law school required me to sign up for the federal program (which they can do, because they’re making the payments for me). One of my present financial goals is to make enough money to disqualify myself for it and get back on a faster payment plan – it’s a weird situation, and I recognize a lucky one compared to being completely responsible for my loans, but I still don’t like it. Watching those loan balances hold steady month after month is really frustrating, so I have a hard time recommending it whole heartedly, although in theory, it would save you a lot of money, so I feel like I should say do it.

scn231 (#1,705)

@squashblossom Oh one other thought – maybe it’s possible to split the baby – i.e. sign up for the program, then either put savings in an account in case it goes badly, or make higher payments on the debt when you’re able to, throughout the next ten years. (I’m presently making slightly higher payments just for ease of mind). That’s a self-discipline oriented approach though, and if you bail on the program a few years in, or the federal government isn’t there for you in 10 years (which sounds paranoid, but they’re already getting mushy on this commitment, and c’mon, they shut down for no reason last year, so), you’ve got interest built up on the loans in the meantime. Good luck!!

highjump (#39)

Fear Fund
Goal by July: $7,000
February: $3,479
April: $5,133

Kind of closeish! But I fear I will not make my goal because I have to buy three plane tickets soon. I need to stop doing things or having friends or needing to ingest food.

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@highjump I was wondering where the Fear Fund was last month. You’ll get fired! Be Afraid! (Hopefully that gives you motivation to ignore the hunger pangs?)

highjump (#39)

@DebtOrAlive I was actually on a work assignment in the field when that was posted and didn’t see it until days later. Must. Not. Give in to the many temptations to spend! Must develop frugal habits for my future unemployment.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@highjump I like the name “fear fund.” Mostly because that’s what an emergency fund really is, kinda, for those of us with anxiety especially. I like the way you think!

saretonin (#4,351)

Student Loan 1 (5.75%):
March:$9,917.79
April: $9,916.25

Student Loan 2 (6.8%)
March:3,565.84
April: $3,436.49

Trying to hold one steady while I chip away at the other. Sadly just had to take out another $3,000 to cover the last bit of my tuition for the year at a higher interest rate (7.5%), so starting next month I’ll be focusing mainly on rolling that one down.

msworst (#2,640)

Hip Hip Hooray! I’m working on two debts.

My last remaining credit card debt
March 2014 Balance: $2393
April 2014 Balance: $1994
I made my goal of under $2k by May. Hip Hip…Hooray?

And my second (of three) student loans:
March 2014 Balance: $2480
April 2014 Balance: $2285

Onward and downward.

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@msworst That’s a hooray for sure!!

nnlsbin (#5,447)

Mortgage
March – $264551.46
April – $263104.11

Holiday savings-hasnt changed as i took out the $500 I would have put into the account to flights and accommodation in Lombok! yay for holidays
March – $6104.66
April – $6104.66

Rainy day savings
March -$16400.04
April – $16641.54

Car Savings
March -$2000
April – $2793.77

rhinoceranita (#5,858)

I’m going to start keeping track of my student loans. The number is going to scare everyone. /currently compiling numbers into spreadsheet

highjump (#39)

@rhinoceranita I would actually welcome some big numbers here. It would make me feel better about the $48k that is still outstanding on mine. I’m tackling them one at a time because otherwise it is overwhelming.

siouxtse (#4,718)

@highjump Don’t worry! It’s a process–I was at $57K in Sept. 2012 and I’m almost down to $30K now. I’ve been knocking them out one at a time as well and using the snowball method to keep my payments level even after one of the loans drops off my kill list, ha. You’ll get there!

andnowlights (#2,902)

@rhinoceranita We’re here to cheer you on!

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@rhinoceranita You can do it!

rhinoceranita (#5,858)

@rhinoceranita

March 2014 All Private Loans (n = 5):
$64,785.44

April 2014:
$64,485.29

Perkins Loans
March 2014:
$14,502.79

April
$14,397.00

A lot of the money is going to fees on my private loans while on one, I’m attacking the principal on it.

I am on IBR for my federal loans but I don’t think I qualify anymore so that will expire soon.

My minimum payments on these loans are: $808.69.

:( :( :( :( :( :( :(

Katie (#4,504)

@rhinoceranita I don’t know the exact number, but when I graduated from law school my student loan totals were between $180 and $190k (most from law school, but about $30k from undergrad). I am confident that you can pay those down.

highjump (#39)

@rhinoceranita That’s almost the same as the minimums on my loans! I think mine are $796? Does your Perkins loan bill quarterly? Mine does and I HATE it. If I pass probation I’m using my fear fund money to pay it off.

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

I managed to get an autodeduction to my Roth IRA set up! Every $33 every two weeks on the Monday after I get paid, hooray me! And I also managed to get a card and PIN number to my credit union account and deposit something there too.

Look, this is small but I am a chaotic monster and this is a good step. Unfortunately, I also owed state and federal taxes.

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@Aunt Scar That’s awesome! I really need to set up my Roth IRA soon.

kentuckienne (#4,294)

Changing direction again! Fiance and I have decided we’re almost certainly going to rent for another year, so I’m splitting goals between paying off my smallest school loan and saving for an eventual down payment. Balances below!

Eventual Home Fund:
February – $4,492
March – $5,594
April – $7,098

Student Loan:
February – $3,148
April – $2,534

andnowlights (#2,902)

@kentuckienne We’re putting off saving for a house until we’re done with student loans, too. We also don’t know where we’re going to be living in a year and a half and we could end up international (where we probably won’t want to buy because it’ll be only a few years there) so we’re focusing on what we CAN do.

travlinggirl (#4,335)

I’m so excited for this check-in!! I had a really good month in money world. Except for my emergency fund, which went down. But I mean that’s what emergency funds are for right? When your puppy gets sick and the vet is like GIVE ME ALL THE MONEY. Anyways, numbers.

E-fund
March 2014 $1012
April 2014 $770

Travel Fund
March 2014 $750
April 2014 $400 [went down due to travel-related purchases for my upcoming trip]

Citi Card
March 2014 $900
April 2014 $0!

Woo!

Allison (#4,509)

@travlinggirl citi cards are being kicked to the curb this month!

honey cowl (#1,510)

DEBT FREE Y’ALL!

#micdrop

highjump (#39)

@honey cowl What WHAT?! Congrats!

nnlsbin (#5,447)

@honey cowl Congratulations!

Stina (#686)

@nnlsbin Holy crap! But details person! Details!

andnowlights (#2,902)

@honey cowl YAY! Congrats! I agree we need details/a story.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@honey cowl WHAT!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!

honey cowl (#1,510)

Thank you errbody! I am paranoid & avoid putting details of my bank accounts on the internets, so there are no details to be hand, I’m sorry!!!

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

So.

Debt: Private Student Loan
APR: 6%
March 2014: 2,887.79
April 2014: 0

That was not a planned pay-off, and I’d intended to use the money for other purposes, but hey when you find out that your One and Only Private Lender has absolutely %^@$%ed your credit score by making an error on their part after you followed all of their instructions, you pay whatever you need to to make the problem go away Right. Now. And you get it in writing.

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

So. Moving right along.

DebtOrAlive Takes A Really Long Walk Fund
Goal: $5,000
April 2014: $67

highjump (#39)

@DebtOrAlive Was it Sallie Mae? It was probably Sallie Mae, right? So glad you had the money to make the problem go away (did it go away? will your credit be restored?) in the true spirit of Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems.

ThatJenn (#916)

@DebtOrAlive I’m so happy for you that it’s gone, but I hope you can cut your way through the bureaucracy to erase the credit problem quickly too!

I hope you’ll share a few details of your planned Really Long Walk, too.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@DebtOrAlive Ugh, so proud of you for paying it off but credit score stuff is not something I like to mess around with, so I’m hoping you can get it taken off!

DebtOrAlive (#5,233)

@highjump It actually wasn’t Sallie Mae. It was a credit union, as I figured them to be the lease evil of the private lender options. And per my May reports, and it looks like Throwing (More Than) Some Money made My Problem go away. Credit unions least evil! Credit score un^#@%ed!

@ThatJenn Three Words: Pee See Tee.

siouxtse (#4,718)

I’m paying off all my student loans with the goal of finishing in June 2015. I’m tackling the highest interest loans one by one.

Total at 9/2012 (when I decided these loans needed to GO): $57,089.01
Mar. 2014 total: $32,554.57
Apr. 2014 total: $30,406.14

Current loan on the chopping block: Discover @ 2%
Mar. 2014 balance: $5,213.12
Apr. 2014 balance: $3,265.37

Next month the total will be under $30K, yippee!

Stina (#686)

@siouxtse “Total at 9/2012 (when I decided these loans needed to GO): $57,089.01 Next month the total will be under $30K”
WOW That is amazing. Go you!

rhinoceranita (#5,858)

@siouxtse how do u
i want to
how
what
share with me your secrets.

squashblossom (#6,560)

@siouxtse That’s amazing, almost $28k in 2 years!??? Wow!

siouxtse (#4,718)

@rhinoceranita etc. Um, work 65+ hours a week so that you have no chance/time to spend any of the money you’re earning? Or see your husband or friends or family at all or… :/

No, to be honest, I just hit a wall back in 2012 and I was f*cking sick of looking at those balances all the time. I have somehow tricked my brain into not seeing any of this money I’m throwing at the loans as actual money that I could actually do fun things with–it is just a means to an end to get rid of the loans.

But oh when these babies are gone I’m gonna try to pretend they’re still there so I keep throwing $2K+ a month into savings instead, and then I will magically (eventually) have a down payment for a house. More mind trickery!

lane (#6,554)

My first time doing this!

Citizens Bank card (some stupid high interest rate, probably 35%, because late payments):
March 2014: $491
April 2014: $361 (will be $261 when the next payment goes through)

I’ve been paying the minimum on this and charging it back up to the limit every month for like a year, but this month I noticed the stupid amount of interest I’m paying and decided to get rid of it. It helps that my hours just got doubled at work.

Barclaycard (0% interest until 2016):
March 2014: $700
April 2014: $680

Goals for May: a lot. Pay off the Citizens card, make the quarterly payment on my smaller student loan ($130), save at least $300 more for deposit and first month on an apartment, and save $100-$200 for birthday festivities in June. I also wanted to pay off the Barclaycard, but I probably won’t be able to do more than $300 if I’m moving June 1st. We’ll see.

Allison (#4,509)

@lane cutting it in half is a good start! Moving is the worst and such a money pit.

Chel (#2,960)

Firestone Credit Card (0% interest until September)
3/31 balance: $875
4/30 balance: $700
I decided to pay this down over a few months since I have zero interest. I had been paying $175 a month for my three interest-charging cards and am putting that towards this one now because…

Other Credit Cards (lots of interest)
3/31 balance: $2500
4/30 balance: $0!!!
Thanks to a raise, a bigger than expected tax refund, and a well-timed bonus I was able to pay off all three of my interest-charging credit cards. There will probably be some residual interest on next month’s statements but I plan to call and ask them to waive it.

Savings goal
3/31 balance: $0
4/30 balance: $0
My main focus money-wise was the credit cards this month (and a little bit of spending). The vacation I was planning to go on in May didn’t work out and then I was invited on a trip to Panama in June but couldn’t get the time off approved since my coworker is getting married the same week. I figure maybe this is not the time to try to plan a trip but I still haven’t really looked at my budget since I got my raise to figure out how much should go into savings. This weekend I am going to spend some quality time with Excel and figure that out. I can decide what I am saving for later.

Stina (#686)

@Chel Congrats on paying off your other credit cards!

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@Chel Yay for paying those credit cards! Also, Panama is awesome (it’s my motherland) and not very expensive. You should go!

jennonthego (#5,366)

Looks like I missed March, which is probably just as well, since I had to go to the East Coast for a wedding, so here’s April:

Mastercard (9.99 APR)
February Balance: $2481.83
April Balance: $2092.71
Not a whole lot of progress, but since I’m not planning on taking a vacay this summer, I’m hoping I can throw every last dime at this one.

Vacation Savings:
February Balance – $217.00
April Balance – $433.00
Adding this one to track as I’m hoping to head to Australia next year.

Allison (#4,509)

@jennonthego Australia is totally worth saving up for a year!

lemonhead3159 (#6,051)

I received an offer today for a new, awesome job and with it comes a large salary increase! My mom told me I should buy a new wardrobe because I’ve been “looking a little drab and tattered these past few years” (?!?), but I’m going to keep automatically dumping money into my savings and student loans and pretend like a raise never happened (and maybe buy a nice dress in a few months, okay mom?!).

Consolidated Federal Student Loan Debt (interest rate = 6.88%):
September 2012: $33,126
March 2014: $23,992
April 2014: $23,355

2014 Emergency Savings
March 2014: $2,867
April 2014: $3,359

samburger (#5,489)

@lemonhead3159 Congrats on the new job! Ignoring big raises are the most magical financial strategy in existence, and it’s not often you get to use it. Enjoy!

andnowlights (#2,902)

@lemonhead3159 Congrats on the job offer! That’s such an awesome feeling!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@lemonhead3159 Congrats!

calamity (#2,577)

@lemonhead3159 Haha, moms. That sounds like something mine would say. Congrats on the new job, though!

erinep (#4,236)

@lemonhead3159 congratulations!

helloleigh (#6,303)

I’m paying off an onerous student loan that was refinanced last month. I had planned to pay it off by the end of the year, but I think I should push that back a few months so that I don’t sideline my contributions to my emergency fund too much.

March 1, 2014: $5,250.00
March 2014: $4,618.76
April 2014: $4,362.54

Emergency fund:
March 2014: $5,913.13
April 2014: $6,116.01

EmilyAnomaly (#4,238)

Consolidated Federal Student Loan Debt (AES):
Interest Rate: 2.625%
March 31st balance: $13,141.97
April 30th balance: $13,046.26
Very slowly chipping away. I’m almost at the point where I could pay it off with savings and I fantasize about doing that. But I know it’s not a good idea.

Trip Savings (FKA Emergency Savings):
March 31st balance: $2,630.64
April 30th balance: $1,500.00
I bought plane tickets for a trip in June

Emergency/Long Term Savings (Discover Savings, .85%):
March 31st balance: $11,123.86
April 30th balance: $11,131.63

Not really a $ goal but a % goal this month was to increase my retirement savings from 6% to 10%. My employer match is up to 6% of my pre-tax pay. I’m now putting 4% of my pre-tax pay into a 401k and 6% into a Roth 401k. Current retirement savings is about $35k. I’d like to get to $55k in 5 years (lofty? Not aggressive enough?) I really don’t have much faith in the stock market. I lost a nice chunk of my meager retirement savings in 2008(?). I worry another crash will hit and I will wish that I would have spent that money on trips and nice dinners.

samburger (#5,489)

@EmilyAnomaly Not aggressive enough. I’m totally with you on being scared of the stock market, but 95% of that fear goes away with some research. Did you leave your retirement savings in the market through the ’08 crash? Those who did had a much larger portfolio in ’09 than they did in ’07–the comeback was huge. It always is!

Jim Collins has a great, easy-to-digest series on the stock market that made me feel SO much better. It’s mutual-fund centric, but you should be in those anyway: http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/

EmilyAnomaly (#4,238)

@samburger I did leave my retirement in place, mainly because I was 24 and didn’t know what I was doing. Luckily most of what I lost was my company match anyway and I made most of it back in/by 2010 anyway, like you said. Thanks for the link! I will check that out.

ThatJenn (#916)

Citi card (0% apr until February 2015):
3/31 balance: $2,410.18
5/1 balance: $2,017.45 (So I didn’t quite make my goal of being under $2,000 by this check-in, which I didn’t think I’d manage. Meh. I guess under $2k while making progress on my other cards will be my goal for next month.)

Other cards: $953.84+$156.13+$96.56, basically all from the last month and a week. It’s been a stupid expensive month. BUT see below about debt payoff funds becoming more available now! I have high hopes that this will be gone by, say, the end of June.

Car loan (some awesome low apr):
3/31 balance: $14,145.18
5/1 balance: $13,809.86 (This includes my May 1 payment, so likely no change next month if this post comes any earlier. I’ve paid down $8,181.68 plus interest since June 2012, and am on track to pay it off October 2017, a little earlier than the December 2017 date originally planned.)

Savings goal of $10,000 emergency fund:
3/31 balance: $9,064.48
5/1 balance: $10,502.64!!! I’ve met my goal! Which means everything in excess of $10,000 in this account can be considered a debt payoff and major bill fund (priorities, in order: paying down credit card debt, then paying my property taxes/husband’s life insurance when they come due once a year, then paying off my car.) My full goal is actually to have $10k in the emergency fund, $10k in each of my two retirement accounts, and zero credit card debt by my 30th birthday in September, and I’m so close I can taste it with $11k in my Roth IRA and $9,950 in my state-sponsored retirement plan.

So now I have a debt-payoff/major bill fund to track:
5/1 balance: $502.64 and adding $470/pay period. I’m guessing this won’t really go up next month because I’ll liquidate it to pay off some of the interest-bearing credit cards above, but still.

ThatJenn (#916)

@ThatJenn Aaaaand I just scheduled payments for today/tomorrow to pay off the two smallest credit cards, so that’s good. I’m looking at my debt payoff fund and its rate of growth and I should be able to pay off the third-biggest before the due date to avoid interest charges, so that’s pretty great too. It’s kind of awesome to be done with the first aggressive savings goal so I can focus instead on aggressively paying off debt now without worrying I’ll be totally screwed in an emergency.

Stina (#686)

@ThatJenn Yay you! I’m not sure I could keep track of so many goals much less accomplish them all.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@ThatJenn Congrats!!

andnowlights (#2,902)

@ThatJenn YAY! This is all so awesome. I’m so proud of you (and your spreadsheets)! As far as being under 2k by this check-in, dude, you’re $17.45 away. That’s close enough to count, in my book. Transfer that from your checking if you can and TA-DA!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@ThatJenn Go Jenn! Over 10K in a savings account, whooop whooop!

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@ThatJenn This is amazing! So inspiring. Go Jenn!

Stina (#686)

Late to the party but March of 2014 on $ that needs to be paid back to emergency fund: $12,040
April 2014: $10,964

Hope to have it under $10,000 by next month.

terrific (#1,532)

This was, as my boyfriend and I both agreed, a difficult month filled with too much alcohol. Plus, we used money from our savings fund to pay for a scouting trip there.

Student loan (mostly at 4.25%, some at 6.55%)
March ’14: $6,559.10
April ’14: $6,485.22

I feel like this will never get paid off.

Savings for future move. Goal: $10,000.
March ’14: $2,521
April ’14: $2,571

That’s after we paid back all the money we took out, so it’s actually probably a +$250 increase (but an almost equivalent decrease).

Stina (#686)

@terrific “Student loan March ’14: $6,559.10
April ’14: $6,485.22

I feel like this will never get paid off.”
But look! It IS getting paid off.

But what was it about April and expenses? I know it’s taxes for a lot of y’all but we paid ours back in February and yet April was still a killer.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

Student loans: $40,200 last month, $39,800 this month. I put in a bit less than normal, because a bunch of big expenses (necessary and unnecessary) have been coming up lately. I bumped my input back up by $150 for May, and it’ll go up another $150-200 in June. Did the math, and I have paid off 25% of my students loans (plus a VERY large amount of interest). I also just applied for a SoFi variable rate refinance — that I plan to pay off in 5 years or fewer — so we’ll see how that goes.

Vacation fund: $2300 last month, $2700 now. I travel in July, and after a long discussion of finances with the friend I am visiting, my goal is to save $3500 in this fund (so +$400 this month and next month and then I stop for a few months), which is about $1500 over what she suggested I bring — anything left over in this fund will knock out any remaining credit card debt, then go straight into my regular savings. Basically, everything financial is on hold until I get back, because I want to have as much in cash as I can in case something goes wrong.

Other savings: In addition to some non-goal related savings, I started a savings account for really minor things that I am adding $5 from every paycheck plus interest on my other savings accounts to. It currently has $13.10. Woo, big money. (Will up that to $50 after my July/August trip.) This is just “why don’t I have some more cash earning interest?” money.

Credit cards: $2300 last month, $2500 right now (but I have a $600 payment pending, so we’ll call this $1900). I’m paying it down slowly until August, and then I will just clear what’s left out.

Ugh. Things could move faster.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Caitlin with a C I think you’re doing a great job. Don’t get discouraged! You have a lot of different goals going on at once and you’re doing a great job.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@andnowlights I did just get a raise/bump my retirement savings back up to 10% (plus 5% matching), and my retirement account balance is now SUPER CLOSE to almost being higher than my student loan balance, which is a milestone I am very excited about. Maybe that’ll help tide me over until I can do some more intense debt-busting?

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@Caitlin with a C what Lights said; you’re juggling a lot of saving/paying down goals and doing an admirable job of it.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@LookUponMyWorks @andnowlights Thanks! You’re the best.

annpan (#3,219)

Student Loan March(5.4% interest): $4,372
Student Loan April: $3,792

Savings March: $2,700
Savings April: $2,800

In other financial news, I’m on track to achieve a positive net worth (for the first time in my adult life) this month – yippee!

allreb (#502)

@annpan That’s so cool, congrats!!

calamity (#2,577)

Savings as of last check-in: $2,608.29
Right now: $3,228.31

I had to withdraw $80 a few weeks ago, and I forgot about that annoying thing called “utilities” when I transferred this money yesterday so I’ll probably have to pull out ~$50 again in a week or two. Barring sudden unexpected riches, this is definitely the highest it’s going to be for a while – In March most of the money I was planning on putting into savings went to taxes instead, and I also have to pay for an upcoming two week vacation in California. It’s preceded by a weeklong work conference, so my flights are paid for and I’ll get a week of generous per diems when I get back, but my June credit card bill is definitely going to be the highest it’s ever been!

I also wanted to get an iPad this summer, but instead I’m getting addicted to watching the numbers creep up. It’s been less than a year since I was able to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck-with-a-couple-hundred-dollar-buffer, so I’m enjoying doing the Mr. Burns hands whenever I think about my bank account, haha.

Stina (#686)

@calamity “so I’m enjoying doing the Mr. Burns hands whenever I think about my bank account, haha.”
Hee! And congrats.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@calamity Go you!

PS not as cool as an iPad, but I have a Kindle Fire HDX. It’s fantastic!!! I use it to read, browse the interwebs, watch Netflix, etc, and it’s about $100 cheaper than an iPad.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@calamity Go you!

PS not as cool as an iPad, but I have a Kindle Fire HDX. It’s fantastic!!! I use it to read, browse the interwebs, watch Netflix, etc, and it’s about $100 cheaper than an iPad.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@calamity Go you!

PS not as cool as an iPad, but I have a Kindle Fire HDX. It’s fantastic!!! I use it to read, browse the interwebs, watch Netflix, etc, and it’s about $100 cheaper than an iPad.

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@LookUponMyWorks Woah. Sorry, all. Not sure why that showed up 3 times. I’ll show myself out.

RachelG8489 (#1,297)

@calamity I am a ridiculous fan of “set a saving goal way above the cost of a thing, then buy the thing.” So I saved $1000 in five months or so, and then I spend $600 on my iPad and I love that thing so much.

cawcawphony (#2,990)

Forgot a couple months, but here’s the update.

I’m tracking my deferred comp contributions, upping it a bit every couple months.
January 2014 $340/mo, $3,604.95 total
February 2014 $400/mo., $3,913.00 total
May 2014 $460/mo.(11% of gross pay, 20% of net), $5102 total

Nice to see that number go up!

Emergency savings goal: $7500
May 2014: $2705

Credit Union Line of Credit- March 2014- $95.28 April 2014- $0!!!
I’m so stoked to have one of my monthly payments completely eradicated. Now on to paying off my Visa card (then my Discover, then finally my Mastercard)

travlinggirl (#4,335)

@Kimberly Wilke@facebook Congrats!

Dancercise (#94)

Car loan
January: $9,258
February: $9,085
March: $8,910
April: $8,734

Savings
January: $10,042
February: $10,071
March: $3,074
April: $2,341
My paycheck for April got delayed, so I had to pull some money from savings to cover rent. Whee…

allreb (#502)

I’m paying of my student loans (2.1% interest rate). My minimum payment is $120, I’ve been paying at $200/month for a couple years now and last month upped it to $300.

Start of April: $8,119.11
Currently: $7,833.19

ThatsMyOtter (#4,514)

April savings: 17,862.30
March savings: 16,962.16; goal: 40,000
February savings: 14,235.67

Husband and I are saving for a down payment on a house. We’re trying to decide what to do (that’s free or inexpensive) when we get halfway to our goal, which should be this summer.

facepalm (#4,409)

@ThatsMyOtter nicely done! Maybe take a staycation. Or a closeby-cation? Take advantage of the great outdoors and nice weather this summer.

ThatsMyOtter (#4,514)

@facepalm Thanks! I’ve kind of forgotten about the outdoors and nice weather thanks to (what feels like) going straight from the polar vortex to nothing but rain. Will definitely do something outdoors to celebrate if we ever see the sun again.

squashblossom (#6,560)

First post! I just dropped $3998.24 into a federal unsubsidized student loan issued in 2009, clearing out the balance that was there at 6.55% interest. Only $3208.71 to go at 4.25% interest.

Asking for advice – better to pay off loans in lump sums (as in, ‘oooh I have $500 from savings I feel comfortable throwing at it now) or as soon as possible, even if in small increments (regular $51 minimum payment and adjust my auto-payments to $151/month)? The difference in interest is pretty marginal, but I guess it’s a different psychological approach?

As a former lurker, you guys are inspiring! :)

ThatsMyOtter (#4,514)

@squashblossom Way to go! Mathematically you’ll be better off paying as much as you can as soon as possible–assuming that any extra payments are applied directly to the principal.

It sounds like from a psychological standpoint paying off a big chunk all at once works for you–I’m guessing because it’s satisfying to see a lot of progress immediately, rather than moderate progress regularly. If you aren’t tempted to spend what accumulates on travel, concert tickets, etc., then by all means go with lump sums.

However, if you don’t already have an emergency fund (or parents/grandparents/etc. who have offered to be your emergency fund), I’d set aside at least two months’ worth of expenses before paying more than the minimum on your remaining loan.

Keep us posted!

squashblossom (#6,560)

@ThatsMyOtter Thanks for weighing in! I have about 2 months of living expenses in savings as emergency, but I’d like to have about 6 months on hand. The desire to throw it at the student loan is intense, and I do think if something catastrophic happened I could live with very lean expenses and some friend/parent support.

Bonus, Mint tells me I underspent $130 on eating out this month (a short-term goal once I saw all the beer that slowly added up), so I will add that to the payment next week.

It is so damn satisfying to get rid of that monkey on my back!!

March student loan balance: -$63,812.96
April student loan balance: -$57,022.03

May goal: pay off group G (6.55%, -$5,433.68)

halloliebchen (#5,373)

May 1st is a holiday here in Germany so I totally missed this! Ahhh! Well better late than never, right? For accountability’s sake.

Credit card 1 (29.99% APR)

March: 2,367.80
April: 3,495.26

After making so much progress on this one I had to buy a plane ticket :( But I will still be able to pay it off by September, and my mom offered to put some money towards the ticket, so hopefully I’ll be back down under 3,000 in May.

Credit card 2 (22.9% APR)

March: 940.47
April: 911.43

Credit card 3 (18.9% APR)

March: 400.21
April: 356.37

Student loan 1 (5.625% interest)

March: 31,058.59
April: 30,986.65

Student loan 2 (6.25% interest)

March: 10,719.88
April: 10,681.76

Student loan 3 (3.75%)

March: 1,998.50
April: 1,945.30

Taylor (#1,339)

I’m starting a new loan this month, since I finished paying off my smallest one! A Mike Dang card request is pending :)

NEW BIGGER LOAN: was initially around $44k- I’ve been paying the minimum for the last year and a half while paying off the smaller loan. It has a 7.4% interest rate and a minimum payment of $404.53.

March statement: $40,518.10
April statement: $39,559.22

Woooo!

(Meanwhile, I’m just about treading water on savings- have right at $1,000 right now.)

oh boy. (#6,790)

Yeesh! First-timer! Here we go!

I have struggled with CC debt since I stupidly opened my first 2 cards my freshman year of college without any clue of how to manage money. I’m really trying to pay down my debt now by working a ton, but I haven’t improved my spending habits much. I’m really trying to focus on spending less on dumb stuff, since that’s what got me into this mess.

March 2014:
Lending Club loan: $2988.28 (fixed monthly payment through April 2015)
Discover Card: $1369.78
Citicard 1: $4670.07 (0% interest though April 2015)
Citicard 2: $5746.68 (0% interest through July 2015)
Chase card: $3020.58

Gross! Finances make me really anxious because I’m so embarrassed of my debt. Let’s kick it!

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