Over the past couple of weeks I have met many goals on the path to debt repayment. My mortgage is now under $65k and I have 50% equity in my home. My auto loan is now under $10k so I now owe 4 figures rather than 5 figures. My TSP loan is now under $13k. In July I paid off my federal taxes owed. I'm most relieved to have paid off the federal taxes owed. Hopefully, the adjustments that I have made to my exemptions were sufficient for this year.
Viewing the 'Debt diet' Category
This week I sent off the final payment for my federal taxes (including the late fees & penalties). This year I owed over $4k, which is a much larger amount than I've ever owed. Last year was an unusual year with income that I didn't anticipate. This year will be less income, but I still decreased my exemptions to 0 at both jobs. I don't anticipate another 6 figure year for 2018.
I have been working a lot of extra hours at my full-time job, but there is no overtime pay involved. I earn hours to take off later. I don't have strong feelings about not getting overtime, but it would be nice if I did. I've raided what little cash I had to pay off the IRS. However, I will enjoy the extra time off later when we get past our inspection.
No other new news on the personal finance front. Things are the same, but I'm happy to see some bounce-back in the stock market, for however long it holds.
A few weeks ago I wrote a pretty long blog summing up my past few months & it appears it was never posted. Don't you hate when they happens?
My last entry was in February & since then the following things have happened:
Took a trip to Greece & New York in March. It was a wonderful experience, perfect weather in Greece. I got to experience my first St. Patrick's Dqy parade in New York & take in some great Broadway shows including the preview shows of Mean Girls & My Fair Lady. Also saw, Chicago which never gets old.
I filed my taxes and owed over $4k. Ouch. I'm on a 120 day payment plan & have to pay it off by the end of July. I knew I would owe, but wasn't planning on paying nearly that much.
April was fairly quiet. Last month I had two deaths in the family, one expected as my grandmother was in the final stages of dementia, and the other unexpected as my younger cousin died suddenly. It was a rough couple of weeks there.
I'm hoping that June will be better.I am not planning on taking any trips this summer. I am preparing for my biannual lab inspection & planning some fun in between working my two jobs.
I have a couple of trips planned for the fall, to Seattle & Vancouver, and possibly a winter trip to NYC.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! My year has been full of blessings and I have much to be thankful for this year. We had our usual small Thanksgiving with just me & my parents. I invited a co-worker over, but he didn't come. Lunch was delicious as always.
Now that I have contributed in excess of the $18k limit for my retirement plan, I have contacted Vanguard to get a distribution of funds. Despite what they implied at the beginning on the year, it seems they are willing to give me the distribution now rather than waiting until I receive my W-2. That would be much easier & give me some extra money for debt repayment.
There's less than 2 weeks until I turn 40 & I am making plans. I am taking the day off as usual. I have booked some time at the spa for a stone massage, facial, & pedicure. This will be my first massage. I'm looking forward to it.
I am also planning on having dinner at a French restaurant that I've always wanted to try. They have a 4 course early bird special which will make it a little less pricey. I'm not having a big party as that not me. There are plenty of holiday parties going on as well. I have always said that it's nice having a birthday in December as it's such a festive month that you feel you get to celebrate all month long with everyone without having to be the center of attention.
For now Congress has decided to leave the 401k limits alone. Next year the limit will increase $500 as planned. And as I have since 2008, I plan to meet the maximum allowable contribution amount. This will be roughly $712 a paycheck, though I usually round up to a higher amount for my deduction & have a larger paycheck on the 26th paycheck.
I mentioned a while back that I am expecting a settlement from a class action lawsuit that I wasn't even aware of. It looks like it is going forward. They plan to have an even distributing the checks next month. If I am able to make the drive that day I will. I'd rather have a check that large in hand, rather than mailed to me. I am still planning to pay down credit card debt with the check.
Sunday I had a not so pleasant day that ended with a flat tire after working a 12 hour shift. When I was driving home after having my flat changed most of my warning lights lit up. Darn...I was sure that I was about to be out of a whole lot of money.
So early Monday morning I got to the dealership before it opened & before my appointment. I took the shuttle to work thinking that there might be a serious (and expensive) issue with my car. A couple of hours later I got a call from the dealership that they repaired my tire & all my warning lights were off! I didn't even have to pay the $68 diagnostic fee. When I picked up my car after work they charged me $33, but that was refunded because I bought the tire care package. I've never paid for a tire since I bought my car, but I thought maybe this time I had to pay because the tire was completely flat. As I was getting in the car the service tech asked to look at my paperwork & he realized that I had paid in error. So yay, other than tipping the tech that changed my flat tire $20, all my troubles cost me nothing!
And then...I got an email saying that I got a settlement as part of a class action suit. I almost didn't check my award amount thinking that I wouldn't get much of anything, if I even qualified for a settlement. But I'm nosy so I did...and it was over $10k! A little over $6k after taxes, but oh my gosh! What a total & completely unexpected blessing! I plan on putting the entire amount towards credit card debt. I'm so very thankful.
I have increased payments for my auto & TSP loans, as well as my mortgage. Those few dollars won't be missed, but over time they will really add up towards paying down my debt sooner. I am now very close to breaking even on my principal vs. interest amounts. Very soon I will be paying more on principal that interest. And I have more than 50% equity in my home. I wish that I had increased payments sooner, but better late than never.
I am going to enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday I got up early to take my car in for service. I purchased the tire care package when I bought my car & I have made good use of it. I think this is the second tire that I have had replaced already. They found a small hole that couldn't be patched.
Then I came home & napped, which I have needed. Last weekend I worked 24 hours while fighting a cold. Then yesterday evening I dropped by my co-workers' son's 16th birthday to give him a card and some cash for his gift. They had a ton of food. I ate some there & they send me home with a plate of shrimp, my favorite.
Today I am just being lazy until it's time for church this evening. I will eventually do some much needed cleaning. The gym is not closed tomorrow for the holiday so I won't get out of my run.
At home I have several ceiling repairs to be done due to roof leaks & a tub leak from my second floor bathroom. The plumbing repairs of nearly $700 I had to pay for, but the damages will be covered by insurance. It's so hard to find contractors at this time.
Oh, updates on my other passion besides personal finance...travel! I am going to New York & DC over 4th of July. Taking a short cruise this autumn, traveling to England & Scotland after Christmas, and Greece in the spring. I'm turning 40 in December & celebrating all year!
As of today I owe $230 to Navient. With next month's payment I will be free of student loan debt, yay!!! I've updated my financial goals as I'm marking this goal completed.
Next on the agenda is to pay off credit cards. I'm throwing everything from my second job at my credit card debt. I love the idea of debt snowballs. Once you pay off a debt you can put that amount towards another debt.
I have increased payments for my car loan & TSP loan as well.
Vanguard sent me a check for over $7k for the excess contributions from last year & a little income for this year. Of course, I'll have to pay both the state & federal about $1700 combined for the payment. Next year I will have to go through the process again as they won't send me back the payments for this year. Yes, I could adjust my contributions, but I'd rather get the money dedcuted from the Vanguard account as I explained in my last post. This year's contributions are only a little over $2500. I tried to get them to not deposit the last transfer when I realized the tax issue, but they released it anyway.
I'll use the amount left over after paying my taxes for debt repayment. I don't plan on sending in my taxes until April for the federal & May for the state. Might as well hold on to that money for as long as I can. It would have been nice to have the $2500 returned to me as well so I could also pay down some debt, but at least I'll see more in my paycheck now that I've stopped the 75% contributions to the 401k.
Two months into my new second job & I feel more squeezed than ever. Maybe having a second job gives a false sense of wealth. I have somewhat over-extended myself with my increased savings.
I am contributing 50% to the 401(k) & $500 to my Roth IRA every paycheck. I had not contributed anything to my Roth IRA since last year. If I contribute $500 for the last 11 pay periods of this year & the first 11 pay periods of next year, I'll have met my maximum contributions for this year & next year. Then I'll have $500 more every pay check.
I'm excited that I'll be able to max out 3 retirement plans next year: my Roth IRA, my TSP, & my 401(k). I am making a lot of hours, but I don't want to complain as I have been searching for another job for some time. This job is a blessing & I see how my retirement savings have grown these past 2 months. Now to decrease the debt.
I can't believe that it is almost September & this is my first blog of the year. My last blog was over a year ago about an interview for a job that I didn't ultimately get. But today, I'm writing to say that a month ago & finally started a second job. This job means so many opportunities for me. The opportunity to max out another retirement plan, to pay off debt, and maybe down the road, to buy some income properties. Unfortunately, a natural disaster curtailed my work hours as the hospital closed due to flooding. But more importantly, I was spared any flooding. I'm feeling so blessed lately!
Yes, finally. Finally, my promotion is on record. My last paycheck was supposed to my first for my increased pay, but that wasn't done in time. So this week's paycheck will have a double increase. I've stepped up my credit card payments & have applied for PRN jobs to provide additional income to get my debt paid off for good.
The things that I usually shop for I've been abstaining from. It feels good. I've made a few clothing purchases (caught an 80% off end of season sale) to supplement my work wardrobe. I plan on advancing my career every chance that I get. I'm taking all the classes I can & networking every chance I get. I've never been more motivated. This promotion has been a very good thing & I'm so grateful.
As we head into fall, I was thinking about reaching this year's goals & looking ahead to next year's goals. This year my main goals are retirement & debt repayment, as they are every year. I always meet my retirement goal, as I will this year. In January I funded my Roth IRA with the maximum $5,500. I don't know if I'll be able to do that this January. I may have to fund it throughout the year, since my savings have been somewhat depleted to pay down debt. I will continue to fund my retirement account at work with my maximum contribution. I have not read if they're anticipating another increase in limits next year, though. A $500 increase would only mean an extra $20 biweekly though.
Last year I transferred the majority of my credit card debt to a card with 0% interest for 18 months. I started out paying $200 weekly, but now pay $100 weekly since I have one job. I still plan to have that paid off before the 18 months of no interest.
On a lighter note, I am going to enjoy this 3 day weekend by taking some time to cook, relax, and visit with family & friends.
The student loan repayment program at my facility underwent an audit. I've been having problems getting them to pay my student loan going on a couple of years now, so this was welcomed news. Well they still seem to be having problems figuring things out since they sent me a letter stating that they would pay me for an award that has already been paid, plus they extended my service obligation date. *sigh* At least it's something, not everything that they owe me, but I will happily take this lump payment that they're promising to send to Sallie Mae. I can't wait to divorce that lady - again!
The stock market has had some record setting highs this year. More than any other year I believe I read. I'm always happy to see my investments increase.
I'm managing on one job just fine & enjoying all the free time. I've started working out 5 days a week & started back training by jogging. I can't wait to see my progress. One thing about running, you can really see the improvements early on & they keep on coming.
My employer is officially no longer paying on my student loan. I believe the money was misappropriated/lost. I've always made the payments & will continue to do so. This repayment plan was just extra. I'm sorry to no longer have it, but prepared to pay it myself regardless.
Some changes I made thus far this year:
1. Started off the year with a spiritual Daniel Fast & it made all the difference. Also, it forced me to stop eating out & enjoy cooking healthy, whole foods at home.
I went into 2013 with a renewed sense of hope & the fast just really opened my heart to what God has in store for me in every area of my life.
2. Transferred my credit card debt at Capital One to Pentagon Federal @ 0% interest for 18 months.
3. Attended the inauguration & visited with family. I had a wonderful time.
4. My second job that I have held for 4 years will end in April due to the hospital closing. I have worked at this hospital in some capacity since 2000. I'm just waiting & praying to see what I should do on that.
I've been wanting to start a small business for some time now. I am excited to see what the future holds on that.
I'm anticipating that I will get some extra income in the next month from working during the hurricane. This will help fund my vacation & the hours I will miss working at my second job while on my vacation. I will save the rest in my savings. I plan to fully fund my Roth IRA in January with cash in savings.
I've been a busy bee traveling here & there. I have a few more trips planned, but will settle down next year. Traveling isn't free unfortunately. I want to get back to blogging, but not much is happening with me. I'm in a steady state of paying off debt & saving. Same strategy as always.
I will probably lose my second job soon so I'm looking for a replacement. Last month I paid off my car so that's $327 less in monthly loan payments for me. Yay!!!
New limit of $17,000 to TSP ($16,500 to TSP in 2011)
$5,000 to Roth (EFT completed today for market open on Tuesday, have always maxed out my IRA)
Pay off credit card debt completely (this is the big one, and I'm determined to see this one completed by the end of the year)
Pay off car (on track to have my car paid off long before the end of the year, can use the money to help pay off other debt)
Continue to pay off grad school loans with the help of my employer's student loan repayment plan.
I'm not too worried about paying additional on mortgage until I complete the previous goals.
It's May, already! Time flies the older you get. I understand that all too well now. Well, I'm on my same course with my finance with some minor changes. I decreased the amount going to savings to increase credit card payments. I think it's a good move.
I am also back to working my regular schedule at my second job. The hours were never cut short fully as people have been needing time off for maternity leave and what not. So I have all the hours I'm used to having plus some more as things pop up. I am grateful to have not just one, but two jobs in this economy.
I have had a great birthday and the Saints won!
I am updating my progress on my 2010 goals, which remain unchanged or 2011.
I completed goal #1 in January 2010.
I will complete goal #2 with my last two paychecks this month.
I am working on goal #3, but it's hard to pin down my monthly expenses. I am tracking on Mint.com, but my expenses seem to vary widely from month to month depending on what's going on. So I'm just averaging those expenses. I think $20,000 would be reasonable start to rebuild my emergency fund to, and I'm not far from that.
Goal #4 has not been completed at any time this year. Maybe next year.
I am working on goal #5 and with my employer's help, the graduate school loans will be paid off quicker.
No, this isn't about me paying off credit card debt, which is still a major challenge and obstacle for me at the moment. It's about my credit union phasing out their Visa credit cards for American Express. I don't know why they're doing this. I just received an Amex card in the mail for the same limit as my Visa card. I activated it, which I shouldn't have, and they closed out my Visa card. On my credit card report it says account closed at customer request. The heck it was! I started too see very soon that many businesses do not deal with Amex. It's a real pain. Everyone takes Visa, not so with Amex.
It's strange how out of nowhere I get an email regarding a blog that I posted a reply on years ago. Don't know what triggers that.
Took two trips in May which I thoroughly enjoyed. One to Virginia to visit my sister's new baby and one to visit to the Twin Cities to my friend.
I'm getting anxious about my credit card debt. I really need to get that debt down. I'm not used to carrying credit card debt and it makes me uncomfortable. I am really going to focus on paying it off in these coming months.
I've been stressing about my debt a lot - but doing very little to alleviate it. This month I bought plane tickets for 2 separate trips next month. I also need to book a hotel for the second trip. Thank goodness I can get very nice hotels for very low prices at Hotwire.com. I love that website. I've had much better experiences with that website than with Priceline.com.
I'm going to have to curb my spending after these trips in order to pay down my debt like I'd like to. It's not a lot, but I have far less worries when I'm debt free.
My parents welcomed their first grandchild March 21st. My niece Laura Elizabeth is just precious and I can't wait to meet her next month.
My mom and I attended the strawberry festival last Saturday and I really enjoyed it. I need to take advantage of all the great festivals in this area. South Louisiana in particular has the best food festivals. We missed the oyster festival last month - hate oysters - but will go next spring. My sister sent me an e-mail about the crawfish festival. That should be fun.
I was just doing some financial homework online and realized how very long it has been since I posted a blog here.
I am doing well, both personally and financially, though I wish that I could be more focused and disciplined when it comes to my credit cards. I think that will be my big challenge in 2010.
Things going on with me:
I am still working my second job and enjoying that additional income. I've been thinking about adding another income source. I think it's good to have several sources of income. It provides security, as long as you aren't dependent on all those different sources of income. I would sell Avon, but worried that I would spend it my income buying Avon for myself, family, and friends!
I have been attending a church that I really enjoy. I am becoming more involved there. I have enjoyed my spiritual growth in recent months. I definitely feel more at peace.
I have lost 13 pounds since joining the YMCA in September. I hope to lose at least 13 more by the end of summer and even more beyond that. I am a slow loser because I do enjoy my food! Obviously.
I am expecting my first niece in 9 days. I'm so excited and I love her already! We went to Virginia a couple of weeks ago to participate in a surprise baby shower. We had so much fun.
August 1st Sallie Mae was once again in my life. Yep, back to paying student loans. I finished graduate school in December so the grace period has ended. On the bright side, the sooner I'm paying the sooner I get her back out of my life!
Funny how that works right? I'm finding that what I didn't want to happen is happening. The more money I bring in from working PRN, the more money goes out. Granted, it's going towards paying off debt, but I hope that I can return to living on a lot less if or when I return to just working my one job.
I'm always looking ahead as well!
My 2009 goals remain the same as my 2008 goals. Contribute 20% to TSP, build savings to 6 months' of income (I think I currently have about 4 months' income), pay off credit cards, and pay down my car and graduate school loans. I need to do better on paying off the credit cards, otherwise I'm doing pretty well on accomplishing my goals for 2008 and beyond.
So how are you coming along on your new goals for 2008? I'm doing well so far. I updated my Roth contributions and the first increased contribution went out on the 15th. My 457 contributions have remained steady until I hopefully get a new job, and a raise. I opened a CD on the 5th as part of my emergency fund. I haven't received any tax forms yet. I'm waiting on receiving my tax refund to pay off my credit cards. So far, so good.
So my final payment to Sallie Mae was finally processed after 4 days. Unfortunately, they also processed my regular automatic payment. So I have a credit sitting in my account that they refuse to return to me until they finish "processing" my loan. In 30-45 days! Never again.
As well, they always credited my extra payments that I sent through the mail to interest as well as principal. Now I'll pay the principal online and save myself the postage. My graduate school loans aren't to be in repayment until six months after I graduate at the end of 2008.
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