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Budget for the Year-ish

January 7th, 2017 at 09:43 am

Getting my budget together. I think this is the first time I've put this on here. LOL. My bar is updated with all my debts that I pay on. My parents do pay on several and I've decided that in the meantime, I will let them keep up with the amounts.

Apartment reno: $10
Timeshare: $85.07
Rewards Card: $160
Navient: $240.73
Car Loan: $360
Nelnet: $102.16

Rent: $931
Water: $61 - Apt utilities
Sewer: $11 - Apt utilities
Trash: $10 - Apt utilities
Common Area Electric: $4 - Apt utilities
Service Fee: $4.68 - Apt utilities
Electricity: $85 (average)
Renters Insurance: $11.41
Motorcycle Insurance: $28.36
Car Insurance: $213.38
Petrol: $180
Groceries: $200
Cellular: $150 (multiple phone lines)
Hulu: $7.99
NetFlix: $15.98
Internet/Cable: $60.00
F.I.T. Radio: $3.99
Entertainment: $50 (consists of movies and books)
Restaurant: $50

Adds up to $3,145.07 for expenses.

My take home is approximately $3,400.00.

I need to get my expenses down to less than $2,000 hopefully by early next year. Those expenses will not count rent, apartment utilities, and electricity.

Now with the 2.6% raise the military received, I should be able to pay down debt with almost an extra $300. But I'm still spending too much on restaurants. I need to get that portion of spending under control. I'm already at my limit for the month on restaurants and it's only the 7th... SMDH...

I've updated my debts and put them from lowest to highest amount left. I'm going to snowball them that way. Although I'm still not paying off the apartment reno because there isn't any interest on it.

My plan when I get my tax refund, is to pay off one of the lower amounts which will be my timeshare. Then I can pay off the maintenance fees (which I'm trying to find out what it is but I'll say it's approximately $1,000) that went with it and sell it off. I doubt I will get any money back on it. But I'll be rid of it once and for all. YAY!

Never will I ever get another timeshare....

I will get the interest rate down on my car loan. I have to wait 6 months at least. But I'll keep working on it until I can get it back down to as close as what I had on the previous vehicle which was 4.5%.

I do know that my budget will be impacted by two things this month. I will be cooking food for a friend because she will be having surgery and I want to make sure that she's good to go. Also I will be going on a field training exercise this month so therefore, the food I buy for the meals should be a wash.

My ultimate goal is to get divorced which will be sometime next year. I need to make sure that I have enough money to pay my bills and expenses when that happens. I want to be able to move forward with my life.

SNAFU: New Vehicle

December 31st, 2016 at 10:25 am

This is a bit winded.

So on Monday, I bought my new to me vehicle. I absolutely love it! I went from a 2004 Kia Sorento to 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium. This SUV is sweeeeeet! Although anything would be an upgrade.

So this is how everything got messed up......... And why it's taken me several days to write about this because I have been upset but I'm doing a little bit better now. So I'll start at the beginning.

While I was in Korea for a year, I gave my parents some money to get some things and the A/C fixed in my Kia. That cost me about $1k. I got back and noticed that I was still having some issues with it, so I took it to a mechanic for a diagnosis. Clutch, oil valves, and carrier bearing all needed to be replaced, approximately $3k. At this point I only owed $1,200 on the vehicle. I had it for 4.5 years, but only have driven it for 2.5 years. So at that point, I decided that it was time for a new vehicle. Used of course.

So the search began. I got a pre-approval through my bank which was contingent on my trading in my Kia and I found a 2011 Chevy Equinox for $13,600 with 127k miles with a lot of bells and whistles. I had to get it shipped through CarMax and it arrived in early November. I was elated, but the paperwork was not acceptable for my state and it took until Dec 22 for it to come through. While waiting, I had to do another pre-approval because it ran out so another credit hit and the interest possibilities increased.

Well I did test drive it but it needed a new battery and I wanted to test drive it again. Well on the 23rd the vehicle wouldn't start. So I started looking for another vehicle. I found a 2011 and a 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium. I tried to test drive the 2011 but it wouldn't start. So I left to test drive the 2012 at the other dealership.

I ended up liking the 2012 and signed the paperwork for the buy. They didn't take trades (I bought the Caddy through a broker) and sold my vehicle separately. Well by doing that, my bank wouldn't honor the pre-approval check. So I had to do another loan, but this time for the actual amount because now I had the vehicle. Another hit to my credit.

My interest rate ended up being 16.94%! I had no clue as to why it was high. I hadn't opened or closed any accounts. Only the credit inquiries for the past several months were hitting my credit. As far as I knew, my credit was in the 680s!

So I pulled my credit report that night. It dropped from 680 to 617! Why?! Because two of my student loans were bought out by Navient (Sallie Mae). So it shows as a negative on my account now. Two of my oldest accounts is now in the negative section because of HOW the creditor closed it...

I immediately went to another bank and did another auto loan and got it down to 13.8%. Not good but not as bad as 17%...

So now my credit has dropped and hasn't been this low since 2010.

I WILL refinance in a year, but now I need to play clean up with my credit...

I can afford it, but now my plans have changed a bit and I will be reworking my budget. Goals have been delayed but not stopped.

Still Trying to Buy a New Vehicle

December 25th, 2016 at 10:44 am

So for the past few months I've been trying to purchase a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ fully loaded except for the rear DVD entertainment for $13,600. There were issues with the paperwork. The DMV wouldn't take the title from the form DMV because their titling laws were different and it took another month to get it fixed. So I've been waiting on this particular vehicle since October.

Well the paperwork came through on Thursday. I had already test driven the vehicle prior but I knew that it needed a new battery. Well when the paperwork came through they replaced the battery that day, and on Friday... it was dead.

So now there may be electrical issues or an alternator wrong with it.

Well at this point I'm no longer wanting to deal with them and I don't really want the vehicle anymore so I started looking again (although I was looking the whole time).

So at this point I have found two vehicles that I like. a 2011 and a 2012 Cadillac SRX Premium Collection. The 2011 is at $16,240 but the internet sale price is $15,741. The 2012 was at $21,998 and now at $17,998.

I can afford these but I do want to negotiate for lower. I know I suck at negotiating but I think that I have time on my side. Meaning it's the last week of the year and the dealers want these cars off their lots so they don't have to pay taxes on them.

Does anyone have any advice for me in the meantime? I am already financed and will be going on Monday to the two different dealerships.

Downsizing My Paycheck

November 23rd, 2016 at 10:59 pm

I will be downsizing my paycheck in about a years time. My paycheck will be going down to half of what it is when then. So I'm working on getting my complete budget under that amount. What I was counting on was the car loan being paid off and not having a car payment for two years. Unfortunately I have to purchase a new vehicle because the current one needs $2,800 of repairs and I've already put in $1,000.

So the current payment is $200 on the current vehicle. It will go up to about $220, but I plan on making payments of $250. So I need to get rid of approximately $2000. Approximately $1,020 is the rent and water (it may be a bit more than that), electricity is approximately $100, and my parents are paying off two of the bills. So I just need to get rid of $120 more and I can be good to go on living on less.

Good News, Bad News...

May 21st, 2015 at 02:02 pm

Bad News first... One of my credit cards has started an annual fee which is $25. This does NOT make my rate better.... It was just added...

Good news! This same card? My rate DID decrease to 6%. Why? you ask? Because three years ago I submitted paperwork to get my rate lowered (I'm military), and they refused. I last submitted paperwork over a year ago. It's been a three year battle and I had actually given up. They kept telling me one thing they needed then another. So about two months ago, out of the blue, my rate drops....

I was paying $51/monthly on it and now the minimum due has dropped to $25! So I'm not changing my amount that I'm paying them and it'll be paid of at a maximum of three years. But I'm snowballing payments so it'll be paid off sooner than that!


I also closed my Rooms-to-Go account because I haven't used it in a long time and I'm going overseas again so there isn't a point in me keeping it. It was about to close anyways due to inactivity so I just went on ahead and closed it myself.

So this means that all of my accounts that I had before I joined the military are now 6% or less, or paid off and closed! WHOOHOO!!!

Future Plans!

January 4th, 2015 at 02:26 pm

Well as of the first of this month I am getting ready for the future. I will moving not too long from now and I am in the process of getting the rest of my finances and belongings in order. There will probably be several yard sales and craiglist/ebay listings. And I want to be able to payoff three (3) accounts before I leave so my finances are on "lockdown" lol.

YAY me. :P

Paid Off Another Card!

November 16th, 2014 at 09:57 pm

I paid off of my Rooms to Go card! WHOOHOO!!! I'm keeping it open because it gives me credit. They say I have to buy something annually at least that's no problem. $25 lamp here I come! LOL!

I only have two cards left to pay off now. I'm glad about that. I thought I had less on one but I can't them to take off the charges... Frown

I have to re-order the list of debt that I have so that I'm paying it off by which ones are paid off the soonest but I'm still snowballing.

A slow but financially sound progress!

My Student Loans

July 3rd, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Student loans are loathed and not just by me. I have a lot of student loan debt but I am also using the tuition assistance as well in order to offset the usage of more student loans.

But the past damage is done. So I have to pay it off. I won't start paying it off until I pay off my other debt first.

But after looking at the debt and the fact that the other debt will be paid off, I'm looking at about three years of being able to pay it off!

A total of 7 years until I am completely debt free! And that's the MAXIMUM amount of time it would take.

I'm so excited!

The Fast Five

June 28th, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I have an app on my phone that lists my debts that are in order from how I entered them to highest interest rate to lowest balance, etc.

It also lists at the top how much I am putting total towards my debt. I have so much debt that if everything that I owed was due this month I wouldn't have enough to cover the minimums...

But fortunately for me most of my debt are student loans.

So I've decided to put in only five accounts. These are the five that I'm currently paying on (basically everything except for the majority of my student loans).

So the five that I have in the list are:

car loan
WF student loan
apartment collections
medical collections
Sallie Mae

This app also compares all the different ways I could pay it off and gives me both the amount of total interest that I would pay and the month/year that it would be paid off at.

For instance, if I chose just the minimums then I'd pay $5,143.23 in interest and paid off by Nov 2047. Whereas if I chose highest interest rate first I'd pay $3,786.28 total interest but paid off by Apr 2018.

Right now I'm wanting to do a 5 year debt plan so this latter would actually fit better.

My minimum payments for these debts are $664 and I'm able to put as little as an extra $100 towards them for now and as much as $400.

This isn't including pay raises/promotions or even when I stop paying alimony. I'll adjust it accordingly but those adjustments won't just go directly to my debt payoff plan. They'll also go into my other savings category because I don't want to feel restricted with what I can and cannot do with my money.

My main objective is to pay off my debt within 5 years but to do it so that it's a workable plan. My first promotion will be sometime between August and November so I don't mind the restrictions that I currently have for two to five months. I still have "some" pocket money but I won't be really doing anything for a while.

Right now even looking at my budget, it has several wants that I'm glad that I can budget for such as Christmas and Birthday presents. In the past it's been about a $5 dollar budget for each person (twelve people). I'm ecstatic that I can increase it. Although it'll never go beyond $25 per person (I normally give the couples a gift card so that way they can put it towards whatever they want).

My plan states to pay it off in this order:

car loan
Sallie Mae
WF student loan
apartment collections
medical collections

I won't start this until July because I'm still recovering and I just want to set everything up this month. And plus I'm still waiting for the timeshare people to lower my interest rate from 17% to 6%. They have my paperwork but I'm just waiting for it to be applied to my account.

My plan is to put almost $800/month towards debt (including minimums). Which means I'm NOT doing any other money challenges right now. That'll have to come next year at the earliest.

Keep in mind that my goal isn't to pay off the collections. They are at 0% interest and I don't mind giving them a few dollars for the rest of my life which goes directly towards principle.

My idea is that when I've paid off the non-collections, to start chipping away at the rest of my student loans. Maybe I can be completely debt free in four (4) years! Although my goal would be sooner than that!

Budget until Promotion/Pay Raises

June 27th, 2013 at 08:49 pm

After inputting things into YNAB this is my budget for next month, although my rent will be a little off because of moving from one apartment to the other. So for now I'll keep that as the original amount:

car loan: $194.31 (I plan to at least put an extra $100 towards this debt to pay it off first)
timeshare: $132.80
WF student loan: $108.52
medical collections: $20
apartment: $10

newspaper: $13.95
cell: $143.58 (parents pay $40 for their portion)
cell insurance: $7.49
Netflix: $10.47
auto insurance: $132.29
rent: $779.00 (roommate pay $200 for her portion)
renter's insurance: $19.83
civilian clothing: $10
groceries: $50
health & beauty: $5
household goods: $10
fuel: $225
military clothing: $10
restaurants: $10
salon & spa: $40
spending money: $10
emergency fund: $73
vehicle maintenance: $10
home maintenance: $10
birthdays: $9
Xmas: $40
timeshare fees: $27
property taxes: $10
electronics/games: $5
genealogy: $5

Although now that I look this over some things will change. I'll be changing things during the next month anyways to flow with how I pay things.

Actually I'll be re-doing my YNAB because it's not setup like I want it so my official starting month will be July. I want to be sure that I'll get off to a new start.

I have several money challenges that I want to start participating in so that I can save money and start really putting money in my retirement. But that won't start until next year (although I'll begin participating in my retirement again this year).

Umm... Another Refi?

June 26th, 2013 at 06:27 pm

So I went to a different bank today in order to open a CD with a good APY. So I went to them in person but I need to open a checking account in order to open a CD. After talking to the representative she asked if I had a car loan. I told her that I JUST refinanced with my current bank and got 7.1%.

So I said sure I'll put in a loan application for a auto loan, what can it hurt and it could be to my benefit.

Well as she put that in the system I signed up for my checking account and low and behold I learn that they are doing referrals and I end up getting $25 in my account and one of my friends accounts. YES! Free money, LOVE IT!

So she comes back and gives me a high five (I just rolled with it), I got refinanced for 4.49%!


She also informs that since I refinanced I get a $250 to my checking account!

That is now $275 of FREE MONEY!

So from my original loan I have now cut my interest more than half the amount and I'm also now paying abut $20 LESS than I use to!

I'm stoked for the rest of the year! HAHAHA!


June 22nd, 2013 at 06:44 pm

I've finally input everything into YNAB except I need verify three account balances, but I won't be able to do that until Monday. Goodness me, it's so disheartening to actually see the amount that I still owe. But I have to keep in mind how much I've paid off even though my net worth is in the negatives.

Of course everyone's goal is to have a net worth that is in the black! But for those that haven't achieved that, some people are closer than others, not even I.

I literally have VERY close to $50K in debt. I have VERY few assets. But this just wants makes me want to be debt free all the more. It's really the student loans that are killing me. I'm hoping that I can make a large dent in the before I get my degree.

Overall I do like the look and feel of YNAB. Although I wouldn't mind a few changes to the app. Such as being able to change the budget directly from the app. But the app is FREE so that's a nice change!.

But it'll just take discipline and hard work. I'll get there, especially with the support of friends, family and the people here on SavingAdvice.com.

Auto Refinancing...

June 18th, 2013 at 07:12 pm

Today I did something to that I've been wanting to do for at LEAST 6 months.

I went to my bank to see if I could refinance my vehicle...

My loan info:

current balance: $8,461.02
interest rate: 11.5%
months financed for: 63

My goals:

1. lower rate
2. lower payment
3. get parents removed as co-signers

So I went with both my parents because:

1. I can't drive since I've just had surgery
2. I may have to have them co-sign on my loan again if I can refinance.

So in we walked and I met up with one of the bankers. He asked me if I knew my credit score an I stated about 660-ish (I know that it's come up a lot in the past 10 months).

So he stated off-hand that if that's what the credit report pulled then I'm looking at a 9.5% interest rate. Well that's a LOT better than what I had so I went ahead with it.

He pulls my report and it says 675!

So he starts writing up the paperwork as I'm watching the computer screen.

He says my interest rate is 7.1%! WHOOHOO goal 1 accomplished!

He says my payment is down to $202.91! WHOOHOO goal 2 accomplished!

Then I sign all the paperwork and he says that's it... I asked "My parents don't need to co-sign?" "Nope", he says.


So these are the great points I accomplished with the refinance:

I refinanced for 48 months. I had 50 months left on my original loan so no matter what I'll be paying off this loan 2 months earlier than planned.

I've already paid approximately $1,100 in interest so far but with the refinancing I will pay approximately $1,200 in interest over the life of the new loan.

I had gap insurance before which I decline to get this time around. I didn't know that when I did this, I get a pro-rated amount back which they'll deposit automatically in my savings account for me.

So all in all I'll be saving approximately $2,100 over the life of this loan compared to the original loan! And the only thing I did was just refinance...

So this time next year I'll be back in there again when my credit is even better and I can get an even lower rate then as well.

I'm so ecstatic! Even my parents are happy! Although they weren't worried about co-signing it because they know that I pay my bills, but is was just one less thing that I wanted them off of. Hopefully this means that I'll never have to have them co-sign on anything else again!



June 14th, 2013 at 04:13 pm

So I did it, I bought a motorcycle!

I paid for it fully up front so the only thing I'll have to pay is maintenance and insurance. Of course I need to pay for the initial registration/titling but that's to be expected.

I currently have it in storage. FOR FREE. A friend of mine is storing it in his garage for me as long as I let him use it for the motorcycle safety course that, as military, we are REQUIRED to take.

I don't need to purchase a helmet since the person I purchase the bike from included that. I do need to purchase safety gear which would only be a motorcycle jacket, which can cost me as little as $60 but as much as $300 but I technically have everything else. As long as it has armor and keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter, I'll go for the $60. (as long as it's NOT pink...)

I did find out that the motorcycle safety course is free for me so I'm even golden there.

The bike gets about 50 miles to the gallon and it only costs $12 to fill up the tank. So I can actually visit my brother for less than $24 a trip! $24 would only fill up about half my tank in the SUV...

I also do need to purchase a motorcycle permit which will later turn into a motorcycle endorsement on my license. But again that was expected.

My residential state doesn't have vehicle state inspections so that's not an expense that I have either.

I do need new tires but I knew that when I looked at the bike.

Also my auto insurance had gone down earlier about $30/month. With the motorcycle it went back up $30/month. So that is a wash.

But overall I'm happy! I'll save money overall on gas going to and from work and sometimes it will save me some cash on trips to certain places also!

Interest Rates Part 2

April 26th, 2013 at 04:45 pm

As of the end of this month, all my interest rates in all but the loan will be a maximum of 6&! YAY ME!

This means that my interest rates went from 17% for the timeshare to 6%! That's a HUGE savings for me. I'm glad that it's now down.

I will also guarantee that the ex's student loan is down to a 6% maximum because I'm in the military. Since we're still "married" then I can use the Service Members Act for that as well. It is currently already at 6% but this will stay that way.

Also the credit card interest rate will be down as well.

I will cancel the Capital One eventually. I need to check my credit report before I do that though. I know that cancel has adverse effects but this card has an annual fee and the adverse effects are worth it.

Good Things for April

April 21st, 2013 at 06:25 pm

Two good things happened this month:

1. Paid off the Emblem credit card. YAY!!

2. Auto insurance decreased by about $20.

So now I have to readjust the budget. I haven't set anything in stone yet and wasn't coming out with an actual budget until May.

I've also submitted the paperwork for all but one company to get all of my interest rates down which happens to be the credit card I just paid off. I'm going to start calling them this week to verify if I'm unable to verify it online.

But so far this is a good month. Looking forward to how things will go next month. I'll put up a budget later and see if I come close to that for debt repayments.

Interest Rates

April 5th, 2013 at 11:44 am

I have several accounts where the interest rates are on the high side. So I contacted one of the student loans and they stated all I need to do is submit paperwork that I'm active duty and they'll lower the interest rate. Even though the actually have a copy of my orders stating that I was in Afghanistan they actually need another set. Go figure...

I am unable to get the car loan lowered but hopefully that'll change later on.

I haven't contacted the Emblem card people yet but they are next on my list.

The one that I was most surprised about was the timeshare people. All I have to do is submit paperwork then I can get the account interest rate lowered. THANK GOODNESS!

I am currently looking for a copy of my original orders (I'm unable to bring it up on my computer...) and then I will be faxing like a speed demon today!

I'm just ecstatic that the interest rate will be lowered from 17% to at LEAST 6% interest rate on the timeshare. That will help out immensely. Then I can actually go about really getting down that debt.

I'll do the credit card company as soon as possible so that they too can be lowered. I'm going to end up keeping that one and getting rid of the Capital One card because of the annual fee.

Well off to find my orders and to the office for faxing! YAY ME!!! =D

Unloading the Timeshare

March 30th, 2013 at 06:05 pm

I've recently looked into unloading my timeshare that I have. Unfortunately, even for me to donate it I need to pay it off first. So it looks like I'll be keeping it for a while longer... It has one of the higher interests rates to begin with as well. UGH!!!


March 5th, 2013 at 01:56 pm

Well I'm finally home from Afghanistan! YAY ME!

First thing I did when I arrived at my brother/sister-in-law's place was eat some chinese takeout! =P

I have also installed YNAB (www.youneedabudget.com) onto my computer and have started inputing my budget. I've gone over certain things with my parents and I'll probably be doing this over a month but next month all the bills should be settled as to what I'll be paying.

Good news:

My parents told me that ALL of my medical collections have been paid off except for one which happens to be the biggest one. I also have leftover fees to pay to an apartment that I'm no longer at.

Bad news:

That's an extra $30/month that goes towards debt repayment.

Good news:

The WF student loan that my ex has that I'm currently paying on went from $110/mo to $106.82/mo.

I'll pay the minimum because of the snowball debt repayment plan that I'm incorporating this month. I'll need to re-calculate some information because the original plan was to have the car loan, timeshare, Sallie Mae paid off by September 2017. Now I will recalculate both the old apartment and medical collections into it to see what the NEW pay off date is. My ideal plan would be to have all of those paid off in five years. I would throw any extra money that I had at it as well but wouldn't be able to count that as a gaurantee since it's just extra money.

I'll put up later what my actual budget is. YNAB should be able to actually list directly what I'm doing and need to do.

But I'm glad that I am home. I'm really looking foward to not having to have a battle buddy EVERYWHERE I go...

I'm finally home and I'm loving every minute of it! =D


My Current "Consumer" Debt

February 20th, 2013 at 12:53 am

I have what I consider consumer and student loan debt. My student loan debt is A LOT but I more than likely won't be able to pay it off for a while. Unfortunately I didn't take the Military loan re-payment offer so I'm stuck with it... UGH!!

So currently this is my consumer debt as of 19 Feb:

Emblem credit card - $1,647.60 - 18.99% - $36.23/mo
Car Loan - $9,036.84 - 11.5% - $213.55 (bi-weekly)
Timeshare - $7,235.38 - 17% - $132.80/mo
Wells Fargo student loan - $5,922.01 - 6% - $110.00/mo
Sallie Mae - $9,657.02 - 6% - $0 (til Nov 2013) then $190.01

This amount adds up to $492.58/mo until Nov 2013 then it's $682.59/mo when I start paying on the Sallie Mae loan.

I have a total of about $705/mo to put towards my debt repayment plan. According to an app that I have, it'll take until Sept 2017 for me to pay it off. That's 55 months which is about five (5) months shy of five (5) years.

So my goal would be to pay it off earlier. So I'll try for Sept 2016. Which for me is VERY likely because I actually stop paying alimony by Apr 2016. So that would be an extra $600/mo going directly into my debt re-payment plan.

But since I can't add future payments to the app, I can only go on what it shows me.

So Upset with Myself...

February 19th, 2013 at 08:57 pm

I can't believe it...!

I made a few calls last night because I wanted to get some information about some of my debt. I wanted to know why my student loans were still more than 6% because they're currently deferred due to my military deployment (but I'm also in school as well).

They stated that I needed to submit paperwork specific to that in order to get the rate down... whatever.. at least they'll back-date it to when I joined the military full-time....

I also called the timeshare people. I wanted to know the balance and interest rate. I found out that I have to pay maintenance fees yearly which is currently $312.50. That comes out to about $24/month which I can budget for next year. It's due July 1st so it'll get paid. Good thing I have the funds for that!

But this is what I'm really upset about...

I knew that it was gonna be about $7,000 and I figured that the interest would be about 12%. Bad but I could deal with that..

The balance of the mortgage is $7,235.38 so I wasn't too far off. No big deal b/c I'm thinking I can pay that off with monthly minimums, which are $132.80, in about 10 years maximum because I'm going to pay this off last. I'm going to try to get rid of it.

But the interest rate is 17%! I can't believe it! That's horrendous! I can't believe that I signed on for that... Now that I know what the interest rate is I'm at a crossroads to either pay it off NOW or what...

I have five things that I consider consumer debt right now. My ex's Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo student loans, the car loan, the timeshare and my last credit card. After that it's just student loans.

I can have those five things paid off by August 2017 if I snowball them. But If I don't pay off the timeshare then I won't be rid of it til about 2020...

If I end up keeping it, I DO have access to the facility year round because it's a year round resort...

So now the question is AFTER I pay it off do I keep it or get rid of it because it still has maintenance fees. If I don't get a renter for that week that I have (I can't remember at this time which week it is but I believe it's in October) then there isn't a way to even recoup those fees.

To keep or not to keep? That is the question. I no longer believe there is a question of paying it off anymore. But at least I'll no longer be beholden to the monthly payment...

Good News for Me! YAY!

February 12th, 2013 at 09:46 am

Last night I learned some good news for me personally.

When I received my leases the manager had stated that the first lease will end July 31st because all the leases in the community do. When it renews it will renew at the lower rate for the next term. So I was expecting $809 for five (5) months and then $779 for the subsequent months. It's only a $30/month difference but that's an extra $30 that I can put elsewhere. I've decided that I will be splitting it between my Wallet Fun Money and Debt repayment. The majority going towards debt repayment. (I put this in detail in my previous posting).

So imagine my surprise when I received both leases stating that my rent amount would be $779!! This amount was handwritten on both leases so I knew it couldn't have been a mistake. I'm really excited because now I can put that amount immediately towards my debt instead of waiting five (5) months to do it! YAY ME!

This could be the difference of paying off Sallie Mae in three (3) years instead of four (4) years. I'm planning to write down what I currently owe and seeing how long it'll take me to pay it all off completely. My plan is five (5) years but we'll see.

I'll do whatever I can to make it five (5) years instead of more. For some odd reason I'm thinking that I can have everything paid off in seven (7) years. I'm not sure why that number keeps popping into my head. I haven't even done any of the math yet. But we'll see!


Expected Expenses

February 11th, 2013 at 08:02 am

When I get back I know pretty much what my expenses are going to be but I'm not sure if they'll change...:

Ex's Student Loan 1: $110
Insurance: about $150
Netflix: 8.55
Time share: 132.80
Car Loan: 213.55
Cell w/insurance: 82.49
Food/Gas: 400
Coupon Inserts: 55
Rent: 809 (this includes water/trash/sewer/electricity/high speed internet/furniture) - upon renewal lease will decrease to $779 (technically this is more than the original place that I looked at ($705) but that didn't include water/electricity)

(I do have a credit card but I will pay that off when I get back with my savings)

The other student loans are on deferrment/forebearance:

Sallie Mae: 190.01 - forebearance til Nov 2013
Direct Loans: deferred til Sep 2013
ACS: 75.96 - deferred til July 2013

I'm not worried about the Direct or ACS loans because as long as I'm in school I can defer them. But that stupid Sallie Mae loan is what I really hate.

My net will be about $2,305.77 (according to calculations)
Bills: -$1962.82
Which equals $342.95 left until Aug which will then be $372.95 left. Then in Nov because I'll have to start paying the Sallie Mae again. Then that'll leave only $182.94.

I'll contribute the leftover as such at first:

Roth IRA: $25
DebtL 230 (and whatever else comes my way)
Wallet: 50 (fun money to do with whatever I want with)
Savings: 50

in Aug it'll change to:

Roth IRA: $25
Debt: $250
Wallet: $50
Savings: $50

in Nov it'll change to:

Roth IRA: $25
Debt: $60
Wallet: $50
Savings: $50

Now the thing is this. I can pay something down about $2,400 before Nov but I won't be paying anything off with it. So I've decided to actually start my debt repayment by paying off the Sallie Mae loan. That way I can continuously pay $250/mo to it. I know that it only has 6% interest and my car loan has 11.5% interest.

So it would seem to make sense to pay off the higher interest loan first but after Nov I would only be able to contribute $60/mo to it. But I think it makes more sense to keeping paying on the Sallie Mae and that way it'll only take me about three (3) years to pay it off

Your opinions and suggestions are appreciated if you have any.

Military Pay Increase?!

January 3rd, 2013 at 04:06 am

Well another day another dollar. But in my case it's an extra $175.03 per month gross.

I've been looking at the military pay raise charts. I knew about the 1.7% pay raise to the basic pay but found out less than a week ago about the raises that would affect Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

This is great! This means that I can possibly either put more towards debt, savings or whatnot! I'm not sure how much this equals to after taxes but this is way better than any employer that I've worked for.

I have received two raises in the past year and I haven't even been promoted yet! (currently an E-3). Now I have to really look at things and figure out how to work it into my budget.

In the past my very small raises went into my pocket and seemed to have never existed. Now I want to respond appropriately. This will take some time for me to decide. What I really want to do is start contributing to my retirement. I already know that I want to put it in a Roth IRA although I'm not sure if I want it to be a TSP Roth IRA or one held with a bank.

There are also other things that I want to do such as participate in the 70.3 Half IronMan in 2014 (I need to purchase a bicycle for this because I no longer have one), go to the 2016 Olympics, do the Kona IronMan in 2015 or 2016 and purchase or build a home.

I could start my savings plans now for all of that as well as the things that are on my 2013 goals list (I'm thinking of adding these to my 2013 lists so that they can start getting funded). Or start contributing to my retirement earlier instead of waiting til I get home or both...

I will more than likely wait til I get back home to actually contribute to my IRA.

What Do You Think?

December 15th, 2012 at 01:30 am

I have made a tentative budget of $200/mo for groceries. This not only includes food but also hygiene products, cleaning supplies and whatnot. I didn't think that I would be able to do this but I've reminded myself that I've done this before on less with coupons.

I've been thinking about something though. What if at the end of the month that I've spent less than $200 for all my groceries. Should I:

1. Roll over the difference for the next month
2. Use the difference to pay towards debt
3. One month rollover, then the next month put towards debt.
4. After 3 months rollover to savings.

I'm leaning towards number "3".

What do you suggest?

Expected but Unexpected Debt

December 13th, 2012 at 12:27 am

I need to give you a little history...

Back in 2000/2001 my ex-husband (i call him ex even though we're only legally separated) he took out two loans in order to get microsoft certified or something like that. It was one of those ITT schools. I credit was NOT good but mine was the better of the two. In order for him to attend he needed to take out two loans. I think they both totalled $25,000.

Well I took one out for him with Sallie Mae for $15,950. This means that the loan was in my name but he is listed as the student because the loan is for him but I'M the one responsible for it. The other loan HE took out but my parents co-signed on it (which I didn't know about til 3 years ago).

We made payments to the Sallie Mae loan but if you're familiar with private loans you know how this goes. We made payments but didn't know they only went to interest although now it goes towards principal. So after 11 years I still have about $10,000 left to pay. The Sallie Mae loan is what I've been paying ever since we've been separated. I knew about that so I pay it diligently. It will be one of the first things I pay off in the next few years because I don't want to be responsible for loans that weren't for me anymore.

Now the other loan... I didn't realize that he had stopped paying on it when we separated. So of course they went after my parents. They've been paying it ever since. Fortunately it's only $110/mo and currently there is about $6,500 left to pay on it at 6%.

I wanted to take up the payments then but I simply couldn't afford it but my parents could. I had alimony, rent, utilities, car repair (95 altima), gas and bills. I pretty much had about $50/mo extra at first. I would do side jobs but it wasn't guaranteed monies so I wouldn't count that into my monthly income.

When I joined the military after the first two months in I realized that I could handle those payments especially with my parents handling my bills (they're like debt payor gurus or something. plus since they have learned from past mistakes they apply their knowledge to my finances so i don't suffer as they once did).

After talking to them when I was in AIT (job training school) I told him to add the other loan to my finances. I didn't want them to pay for my past. Plus both of my parents are retired so this frees up more of their finances which is what I really want also.

So I spoke with them the other day (i love skype) and we spoke about my finances. I told them that I wanted to pay extra towards my car loan because when I refi, it'll be for a lower debt and the payments will be lower. They told me that if I do that then it'll only save me about $11/mo in payments. It would be better to save. So I said that I would think about it.

But then I mentioned paying Sallie Mae with it because it'll get paid off sooner. And they mentioned the other loan which was $110/mo that my ex has that THEY ARE STILL PAYING. I was shocked!! I told them that I thought that they had added that to my bills but they told me I didn't. UGH!! So I told my dad to add it to my bills please so that they aren't paying for it.

So as of this month I will be paying another debt because of my ex. But it was a debt I was already expecting but unexpected because I thought I was already paying it.

So I had worked out an extra $275/mo when I got back home. Now that has dwindled to an extra $165/mo when I get back home...

$110/mo less makes a big difference. Not sure how to handle it at this moment in time but I'll figure it out. I'm a bit OCD-ish so I know that it'll get figured out.

Net Worth and Debt Free Projection

December 8th, 2012 at 06:41 pm

I had decided to look at all the stuff that I have and see what my net worth is currently.

-$30,000 approximately

Pretty sad I'd say...

My current debts equal $50,000 and my assets equal $18,000 approximately.

What I want is to be debt free by May 2018. It seems impossible right now, but I know that I'll at least be able to pay approximately $30,000 towards debt by then. That means that there is a difference of about $20,000. I'd have to make up about $4,000/yr to be able to payoff everything by that timeline. So hopefully I'll get promoted in a timely manner, or get a really good bonus when i re-enlist.

But that is my projected goal of debt free.

May 2018 here I come!

Selling My Timeshare?

December 8th, 2012 at 08:40 am

So I have a timeshare that I don't want. I have approximately $7,000 left to pay on it and I would love to sell it.

It is a 1 bdrm/ 1 bthrm Woodstone at Casa de Campo at Massanutten Resort that's for week 40-something (sometime in October) and I believe that I have a floating week with it also. Here's the link:


It's a mountain resort in and of itself that can be used year 'round. From horseback riding to skiing (even has a ski school). (I'm a gold card member also)

I believe that I can pay it off in a little over a year if I truly needed to. I can't remember a lot of stuff about it since for the pass year I haven't even been home except for about a total of a month.

If I sell it I gather that I have several choices. I could sell it through a real estate agent, ebay, craigslist or word of mouth when I get back. I'm not looking to make a profit, but paying for the amount I have left on the loan would be great. But if I had to go a little lower than the lown that would be fine since I have the money for it.

I would really like to sell it so that I don't have to pay for the rest of it.

Does anyone have any other ideas for getting rid of a timeshare?

If I don't get rid of it then I'll end up keeping it.. oh well...

Deciding the Next Step...

December 6th, 2012 at 06:24 am

I've been trying to decided what my next move should be and I had posted my position in the forum and received some suggestions already.

These are my current bills:

auto insurance: 129.92
netflix: 7.99
credit card: 36.24
sallie mae: 0 (deferred until Nov 2013 then will probably be at 190.01)
timeshare: 132.80
student loans: 0 (deferred til July 2013 & Sept 2013) (although they'll be deferred til i finish school)
car loan: 213.55 (i actually pay this every two weeks (113.55 & 100)
miscellaneous charges: $13.96 (trying to get these cancelled)
alimony: 600
dental: 11
life insurance: 27
AFRH: 0.50
spouse life insurance: 13

Totalling: $1,185.96

That's until I get back from deployment. Once i'm back home these bills will be added:

rent: 600
water: 10
renters insurance: 15
cell: 75
fuel: 200 (guesstimate)
food: 200 (guesstimate)

Totalling: $1,185.96 + 1,100 = $2,285.96

When i get back my paycheck should be $2,564/mo

Which leaves $275 to play with.

My debt is:

credit card: $1,681.60 @ 19.99%
car Loan: $9357.19 @ 11.5%
timeshare: $7,503 @ 12.087%
sallie mae: $9,543.16 @ 6%
student loans: $37,164.06

My emergency fund amount is already at $9,500 approximately. It'll go down to about $5,500 because I'm going to use some of it to pay off my medical collections.

I'm going to use my tax refund to pay off the credit card so I'm ok with paying just the minimums until I get my refund. I'm also going to get my car loan re-financed for a lower interest rate but I'm using it to help re-build my credit so my plans are to just pay it monthly but to keep the loan equal to if not below the value.

If I could get rid of the timeshare I would. I don't want it and I didn't take it to get anything money-wise out of it. If someone would buy it off me for the amount of my loan, I would sell it to them right now but at this time no one will purchase it.

I don't use my credit cards (haven't for a year now) so there won't be any new charges on them. I'm going to get a credit card with my credit union and have them set a low credit limit (500 - 1000) which is only to be used in emergencies and close the other accounts.

I don't qualify for the college loan repayment program because I have the MGIB and you can only have one or the other.

In 3.5 years I will no longer be paying alimony and will be able to pay off/save money quicker.

The 6% interest rate is only available for certain things for deployed service members.

So these were the suggestions that I had received:

I'd say to dump the timeshare. You will never get your money out of it. If you can find someone to take it off your hands at any price, even $1, do it and get it off your balance sheet.

*i'm not going to sell the timeshare for $1 but i'll sell for what is left on the timeshare loan. i'm not looking to recoup any money from it.

Start applying that toward your highest interest debt - either the timeshare until you are able to sell it or the car loan until you refi.

*working out the math

I would suggest the bulk to be put towards debt. You should start making a habit of saving. Save a portion in the TSP or in a Roth IRA.

*i haven't decided WHEN i'll contribute towards the TSP, Roth TSP or Roth IRA yet. although i will because i would like to have money when retire even if i am going into real estate when i do.

All good suggestions that I've taken into consideration.

Basically my two options were to put it towards the timeshare or the car loan. Since I'm unable to get in touch with the timeshare people and I can actually make an extra payment to the car loan with a click of the button (since it IS with my credit union) it came down to convenience.

Car loan it is!!

So I'll make an extra payment of $275/mo maximum on the car loan. I'll still pay off the credit card when I get my tax refund.

Now there where two things that I hadn't mentioned:

1. $275/mo is only for eight (8) months. Because after that I will be putting it towards the Sallie Mae loan (making a total payment of $200 - $500/mo)

2. For the next several months I will be able to make an extra payment of $385/mo towards anything. Again, this is only for several months.

What I've decided to do was to put this towards whatever I will be making extra payments towards when I get back home. Basically I'm adding $385/mo for several months to the car loan then $275/mo for eight months. I'm hoping this will allow for me to refinance for a lower interest rate for less. Allowing me to make more of a payment towards the principal.

Thank goodness I don't plan on getting a car loan again for a LONG time. I'm thinking the SUV will last me another ten years if I take really good car of it. I truly like my car and it fits me (SUV) and it's a color I like!

A Credit Card Surprise for Me!

November 28th, 2012 at 06:46 pm

I have only 1 credit card left to pay off which I had believed was at 18.99% APR. I made a payment of $36.46, which I thought would get me from $1,698.82 to $1,689.24. Well I signed onto my account, and low and behold the balance was $1,662.36! This was WAY below what I thought it would be.

So I did some math (using the tools here on savingadvice.com) and I discovered that my current APR for this credit is 0%!! OMG! I had NO idea that I had a 0% APR! The last time I checked it was over a year ago (basic training and now deployed). I have no access to the statements (they don't put them online) and it doesn't tell you what the APR is on the website, only the current amount due, past due, minimum payment and the ability to make a payment. It's a very basic site.

My plan will still have me paying off the card by March 2013 but that was with an 18.99% APR projection. Now that I know it is a 0% APR I'll won't have to pay any interest fees! YAY ME!!

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