The February Report

Survival of Valentine’s Day is notable. Repaying loans is impressive. Resisting purchase of low cost flights is prize-worthy.

Month 4 – $111,034

Scoreboard

Original and current payoff totals and interest rates. Listed in order of repay.

Graduate Plus – 8.25% – $35,407.95 –> $28,203.62

Stafford – 6.55% – $80,356.09 –> $80,831.50

Perkins – 5% – $2,133.10 –> $ 1,998.87

 

Small Victories

I paid a total of $2525.06 towards my loans in February. Not the highest total yet, BUT – I’m so close to getting my loan under 6-digits, I can taste it!! Just a few more months… For now, let us celebrate that my Perkins loan is under $2,000 and my Graduate Plus loans are under $30,000. We won’t talk about the Stafford Loans. Those are gradually increasing. But don’t worry – I called my loan servicer on a random Tuesday to talk about whether my method of paying off the highest one was the most cost-effective. I also called my loan servicer today to ask about an email I received. It appears as though they have not yet processed my updated documentation for my income-based repay, so the email was technically erroneous. Erroneous! And I – me! – knew that something was off about it. This is a huge improvement upon past years. Not only did I open the email without hesitation, but I understood the communication and immediately called up the folks in Minnesota just to make sure everything was as it should be. These people are great. They are friendly. They are helpful. They are not scary – my biggest challenge now will be to avoid calling them when I just want to ponder life’s meaning. That’s probably beyond their scope.

Forward March!

I’ve been filling my weekends with babysitting and am hoping to have a sizeable tax return come through this month. Listening to Suze Orman the other day, I realized that waiting until tax season to get a handsome return may not be the best method moving forward. I’ve been pleased with myself for pulling enough taxes throughout the year to secure a return, but I may have gone a bit overboard. Suze suggests trying to find a balance, where the year-end numbers are closer to zero. This way, the money I should be getting from my return will actually be in my account as is should be throughout the year, and I can put it towards my payments – maximizing my repay and minimizing the accruing interest. I am looking forward to meeting with my tax gal Patty next week to ask her about the best plan for approaching my employer about this. And may I say – I love Patty. *Unpaid endorsement* She hails from HR Block and she is like an angel from above, sent to Earth to satisfy my personal financial needs. She has kindly managed my “past-self” taxes (ie: financially-unaware-self) and guided me towards where I am today. She expresses non-judgmental direction and tips and avails herself above and beyond. I am way too excited to update her on my recent “responsible” behaviors. She is going to be so proud.

And Dude! Guess What!!?!

Last month, I lamented semi-briefly about the difficulties of having no travel to look forward to. However, at the end of this month I get to travel to Chicago for a work conference. I could not be more excited to go on this trip! Not only will I get to geek out on endless topics related to my industry, but I will also get to dine out and explore the city – all expenses paid. But wait! There’s more! Knowing that I would be in Chicago, I have been trying to think of friends in the area I could sneak in a visit with and had been feeling like I would have to pass on the opportunity – until I realized an extended layover in Kentucky is the same cost as a direct flight to LA from Chicago. My boss approved the layover – and I get to spend the weekend my dear friend in Indiana and her new baby!! Kentucky/Indiana is one of my favorite places to visit. I am so excited to add to the memories and spend time with my girl! It’s really the best of both worlds – I get to honor my promise to myself for no travel (except holidays and weddings) and also get to explore new places and reunite with old friends – all the while, enjoying a departure from city life.

So, I will lose profit from potential babysitting the weekend I am in Kentucky, but have a feeling that won’t even be a thought on my mind while there. We will make the most of free fun! Maybe I can squeeze in a couple extra weekday shifts in the meantime. Also of note, is that I would have before this challenge, been inclined to hit up Ann Taylor LOFT to adorn myself for each day of the Chicago conference. But nope – I will not. I will dig into my existing arsenal and wham-bam myself into a fashionable professional. Besides, I can rely on my go-to pieces and none of those strangers will be any-the-wiser that I wear them every other Tuesday.

But does that even matter? …a conversation for another day…

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