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Archive for June, 2013

The Fast Five

June 29th, 2013 at 05:57 am

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!


June 28th, 2013 at 03:55 am

So I just looked into my account (I only do that in the late evenings since I know I have money to cover expenses) and realized that today I have officially received my state refund (which I applied for in April)...


So since I've received a fair amount of funds I'm going to actually boost my savings. So instead of saving monthly for the ones I've prioritize I will actually fund them and free up money for other things.

For some odd reason this feels like a fresh start but I'm enjoying it.

Budget until Promotion/Pay Raises

June 28th, 2013 at 03:49 am

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 27th, 2013 at 01:27 am

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!

Great News for My Budget!

June 25th, 2013 at 12:07 am

I've just received great news from my roommate. She's been staying with me for a while but only paying a couple hundred because I only have one bed. But my great news is this.

My roommate has decided to make it permanent!

This means I'll need to get a 2-bedroom apartment but it also means that I'll pay about $200/month less.

I'm really excited because now I can put more towards savings/debt payoff.


How Should I Invest?

June 23rd, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Today I just remembered something that I've literally forgotten. I have approximately $2,000 coming to me.

While I was overseas I had the option of putting my money into an Savings Deposit Plan (SDP). So for nine months I put in $250/month into this account which stops when you come back from overseas.

As of my last paycheck I have $2,345.34 in this account. So it's earned at approximately $95 in interest at this time.

So at this point I'm not exactly sure what to do with the money. I could put it in a Roth IRA, CDs or just deposit it into my savings account to help boost my emergency fund.

I'm just upset with myself that I actually forgot about that much money. It was coming out of my account automatically so I didn't have to think about it but that's the flip side. You may truly forget about it and not even realize you have it especially if you have beneficiaries.


June 23rd, 2013 at 01:44 am

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.

My Retirement

June 21st, 2013 at 02:04 am

I haven't been saving for retirement like I should have. I'm currently 36 years old and I need to get on the ball.

Well I've looked over my mail and realized that I did have a 401K with my old civilian job that I thought I had rolled it over to an IRA account. But looking at the paperwork I realized that it stated "401K" at the top of it. So I contacted my old job (which happens to have been with a bank) and called Human Resources.

I didn't want to be penalized for having kept it as a 401K plan because I literally went from one job and the next day to the other job (I worked it out that my leave would end the day before I started the military so that there wasn't a lapse in employment).

So after speaking with them I learned that I have three choices:

1. Cash it out
2. Roll it over to an IRA
3. Keep it as an inactive 401K as long as it's at least $1,000

So I chose the third option. This means that I can't contribute to it BUT I can have the dividends re-invested. So it'll eventually grow on it's own. I do need to go through it and re-do the allocations. I just looked at it and realized that leaving it alone for 19 months have left it at a very imbalanced allocation. I currently have 94% in just stock alone. I don't like that so I'll stop contributing so much to stock and re-allocate to the other funds.

But as I was talking to the banker while I was at the bank, she asked me how long I was with the company. I told her that it was almost 10 years and she stated that I would have had a pension started for me on my behalf during the first few years.

So I called human resources again and learned that yes, I do have an inactive pension. I don't need to change it or anything, I can keep it there and it'll grow inactively.

So I opted again to just leave it there. I don't want all my money in one place anyways.

But I'm glad that I've at least started on it and therefore it'll be a good stepping stone. But again I'm glad to add this to my portfolio. I just need to clean it up a bit!

More Financial Involvment

June 20th, 2013 at 04:06 pm

For the past 18 months my parents, mainly my father, has been taking care of my finances. I had joined the military about 19 months ago and have been in training and deployment during that time.

I have become detached from my finances in the meantime.

Shame on me.

So I'm turning to social media. I have to tweeter accounts:

couponing: https://twitter.com/coupon2live

debt reduction: https://twitter.com/siansmoney

At this point I've almost completely put in all my finances into YNAB (You Need a Budget).

I'm hoping that I haven't missed anything but in the long run I'm hoping this will jump start my involvement to debt free.

I know that I've done things here and there to help my budget but it's not really the financial involvement that I believe that I should be doing.

But I'm now looking forward to this because my objective is to make if fun because I like games and numbers. The objective is to have a lot of treasure in the end (my money).

So we'll see how it goes!

Auto Refinancing...

June 19th, 2013 at 02:12 am

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 11:13 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!

Twin Grandchildren Born!

June 12th, 2013 at 04:03 am

My twin grandchildren were born earlier this week!

A boy and a girl! Both weighing in at 5 lbs. 8 oz.

So as of this week I have a total of FOUR grandchildren. Two girls and two boys! YAY ME!

On another note, I'm recuperating from surgery well. Today would have been the first day without pain pills but some women decided to kick my foot while I was sitting in the waiting room. Everyone else went around or stepped over me but she had to kick my foot. HARD! Yes I have on a HUGE brace (from top of the knee to my ankle) and crutches.

Other than that I have been doing my physical therapy at home and the current goal is to bend my knee to 90 degrees (it's still quite swollen).

So all in all this week is a good one for me. Four healthy beautiful grandchildren and finally on my way to recuperation for my knee.


Surgery Update

June 9th, 2013 at 07:34 pm

Last month I informed everyone that I would be getting surgery on my knee due to an injury that I received downrange (Afghanistan). They eventually told me that I had a torn ACL that needed to be repaired (of course after 4 months of my knee not healing I knew that it would need surgery and that it was more than likely a torn ACL).

This past Friday (two day ago) I went into surgery. I came out without any complications. There was also a small meniscus hole about 1 cm that was also fixed.

I'm glad that part is pretty much over with.

Tomorrow I start physical therapy. My parents are helping me out a lot by allowing me to stay with them for about a month. Then I'll go back home and continue therapy there.

I'm excited that I'm not on my way to recovery!