PinchingPennies

Saving money to pay off student loans and consumer debt

2008 Roundup – The Good, The Bad, The Paid Off

Last year was a little crazy and here are the highlights:

The Good – After being laid off, husband found full time employment in his field. The salary is high enough for us to live and continue paying off debt although not as high as my position. Yes, I make more money than my husband. Or at least I did. His new job comes with awesome health insurance to replace the crappy self-insured plan.

The Bad – On October 1, I was laid off from my sweet, sweet job. Since then I have been looking for another high paid, telecommuting, flex hours position but surprise! there aren’t any.

The Paid Off – In 2008, I paid off $10,155.87 of debt. One full credit card, a bunch of student loan payments and almost 1/2 a car loan. Now that husband is employed and not in school fulltime, we need to pay husband’s student loans. There are 3 of them and total about $450. They should die quickly and painlessly.

My hope for 2009? Less drama-rific than 2008.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Debt | , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Gee, that is a toss up. Tomorrow is my last day at work and I almost have everything wrapped up. I put together a kick ass resume and sent it out to all my contacts. I joined LinkedIn, Monster and Dice.com hoping something would pan out there.

For those that don’t know, I was laid off a week ago as of the end of the month. It was a surprise to my boss as well as to me and I don’t really wanna go. The status quo was nice. I am good at my job and the benes were great. *sigh*

On the financial front, due to a quirk in my employment status, I cannot receive unemployment. I have have about 2 months in savings at our previous spending rate. We have cut out everything non-essential and I have a couple good leads on jobs. If nothing else, I’ll go to Starbucks until I can find something more lucrative.

My debt snowballing will have to stop until I have found employment. I have reduced automatic payments to the minimum for the time being. Tomorrow I have to call about 1 student loan but it looks like I have paid almost $9000 in debt since January. *woo hoo*

In related news, the stock market fell 777 points today after the House of Representatives rejected the bailout bill.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Debt, Debt Snowball, Fixed Expenses | , , | Leave a comment

Save Money or Pay Off Debt?

We have a larger emergency fund then Dave Ramsey recommends and we still have debt. We go back and forth about whether we should have less in savings and pay off more debt or keep our savings.

Dave Ramsey recommends: $1000
We have: $9000

There are a few reasons for having a larger emergency fund.

Pros:
Husband is in grad school and if I lost my job I could hold out before putting kid in daycare fulltime.
Husband finishes in 1 year and we have some foreseen expenses for him to get a job (travel, postage for 100 applications, moving out of state expenses).
When husband gets job, we could pay off all of our debt in 6 months.

Cons:
We could pay off entire car loan.

I think we should keep the savings because our financial outlook will be drastically different in a year. We also need cash for those things that are going to be coming up.

It is just hard to sit on the money and not send it to Capital One.

July 5, 2008 Posted by | Car Loan, Debt Snowball | , | 2 Comments

My Debt Hit List – The Car Loan

Husband’s car loan is on the chopping block to be paid off. I sent in $1000 from our stimulus check and husband added the amount we were sending to American Express ($100) to the minimum payment as part of our debt snowball.

FTR, we are starting with $8090 to be paid on the car loan. When we get our next statement I expect the balance to dip below $7000. Yesterday I was playing around with debt payment calculators and according to them, paying the minimum plus $100 will take us over 2 years to pay off that sucker. lol Yeah, right. Like I will allow it to take that long. I still have $2000 for the car loan from our tax return and as soon as I see that Capital One credited our account properly for the $1000, I will send that in.

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Car Loan, Debt, Debt Snowball | , | Leave a comment

Stimulus Check is Here

Our stimulus check finally arrived. A friend of mine didn’t receive hers, something about a screw up that will be fixed in July. Too bad since she needed to buy a new washing machine unexpectedly. Ours arrived last week and it was for the expected amount too!

I expected to put all of it toward our debt but I think I will take a little bit out for a couple of things. Err, I mean to stimulate the economy. I bought some shelves for the kid’s room because her toys swallowed the floor and I thought she might sleep better if her room wasn’t so chaotic. lol That implies she sleeps in her room which just is not the case. I’m hoping to transition her to her room though and in my mind shelves will help. The other thing I want to buy her is a bike. Used of course. She won’t care though, she is 3.

The rest of the money will go toward our debt. Since I like crossing off lines in my spreadsheet, I am planning off husband’s smallest student loan ($98). I will probably put a couple of hundred toward one of my student loans so that it goes to the next lowest thousand mark. The rest will go to the car loan.

June 9, 2008 Posted by | Car Loan, Debt Snowball, Earn Money, Splurges, Student Loans | , , , | Leave a comment

June Goal Update

Two goals attained! I just called and paid in full one student loan and added $21 to my debt snowball.

In the mail today I got a statement for the car loan. Apparently husband owes $8090.33 to the car that I hate. Oh well. I will attack it soon.

Also in the mail today I got a letter from the government saying my stimulus check is in the mail.
With all the people paying off debt I am not too sure how stimulating this plan is.

June 2, 2008 Posted by | Car Loan, Debt Snowball, Student Loans | , , | 1 Comment

$4924.11 Paid To Date

Since I started this blog, I have paid off $4924.11 not counting husband’s car loan. I have completely paid off one credit card and have most of the money for the other one in savings. Next week I will pay off more and try and get details out of husband about his car loan. Also next week I will pay off one of my student loans and at least one of the husbands. I am so excited I can barely contain myself.

According to my trusty spreadsheet, we still owe: $30,943.42 – mostly to student loan companies.

Link to the the details.

May 31, 2008 Posted by | Credit Cards, Debt, Student Loans | , , | 3 Comments

Recalculating My Student Loan Payments

Two letters arrived from my student loan company today. The first one said the company recalculated my loan payments on 6 of my 8 loans and the minimum amount each month raised a little. Using the handy calc program on my computer I found the minimum payment went up about $4 a month to $329.86. I have been paying $330 a month on the loans hitting the principle a little but now I know I am only contributing an extra $0.14 a month toward the balance of my loans.

Gotta hurry up and pay off those credit cards which are first in my debt snowball.

March 15, 2008 Posted by | Fixed Expenses, Student Loans | , , | Leave a comment

Cutting Down on Lattes

My Kona coffee insider just sent me two bags of coffee, gratis. I should really use this as a reason to cut down on my daily latte which costs me almost $5 a day. If I cut down to 3 times a week, I save $85 a month which I can use for my debt snowball. This week I will cut out 2 lattes and put that $10 in an envelope to pay down debt.

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Debt, Splurges | , , | Leave a comment

Paying My Debt Snowball

I’m making a list and checking it twice…

Putting together a list of all my debts is more of a PITA than I thought it would be. Not all of my debts are online so I have to call a few places on Monday to get balances. Husband is the only one with access to the AMEX bill and getting him to part with information is tough. I do know we are paying $100 a month as a minimum payment to AMEX. That is something, right?

Anyway, I put my aproximated debts into a <a href=”http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx”>debt snowball calculator</a> and if I pay $1200 per month on my debts (including minimums), we will be debt-free in 46 months.

That sounds like a challenge to me!

March 9, 2008 Posted by | Debt | | 1 Comment