Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Back to Business

The real reason why I brought back this blog, is that I paid off another student loan earlier this month and I wanted to celebrate it.  However, it didn't feel right celebrating this momentous occasion without celebrating the last momentous occasion.

Which makes them feel not very momentous at all...


But really, it's pretty awesome and totally worth the 3 am blog post.  Yay!

Anyway, before I head back to bed, here is a current snapshot of what's going on.

 My last payment consisted of:      $675.11 Base Payment
                                                     $7319.16 Snowball Payment
                                                     $7994.27 Total Payment

That is literally almost a year's worth of payments in one shot.  Amazing.  Again, I couldn't have done it without the bonus I received from my employer.  It makes all those extra hours a little more worth it.

My next goal is to pay off Private Loan #6 by the end of the year.  Not sure I can do it, with the astronomical costs of daycare, but we're looking to purchase a property in the next year and having fewer lines of debt will help.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A long overdue update and some reflections.

I almost feel like it's time for another obligatory "Hello World" post.  It's just been that long.  Where does the time go?  Now that I've had a baby, oops TWO BABIES, the whole time and money thing have totally gone out the window.

Yep, hello!  From my two favorite little guys...

pretty accurate portrayal of their dispositions

Now that I've painstakingly took the time to resurrect this blog, I'm not sure how much longer I will keep this going.  I've got an itch to write again, but I feel like I have grown a lot since starting this blog and not sure this still feels like home...

Going, Going, Gone!

***More 2015 Catch Up****

Here's a little recap about the recent payoff of my smallest loan. 

For the last few years I have been diligently chipping away at Loan #5.  A little bump, some unemployment, a growing bump, and then surprise! A baby! Who stole my heart and my wallet, and temporarily derailed my payoff plans. 

so much squish!

I eventually climbed out of the new mom, Mombie fog, and realized that I need to get cracking on the loan payoff because my life bills are never going to get smaller.  Infant daycare costs more than the rent of a 2 bedroom apartment in my area. Ouch, Right?

My new budget allows me to put $500 extra a month on my loans.  More if I could carefully track my spending, but not gonna lie, tracking spending has gotten significantly harder now that I am responsible for making sure another human being's needs are met.  My child cries all night and I'm driving him in my car at 4 am.  Drive Thru?  I think yes.  Trip to the pharmacy for a teething baby?  One of everything, please. Oh, and this box of doughnuts for me to drown my sorrows in.  I admit, it's a short coming.   

So I had a really big day. 
I, for the first time ever, got a bonus.  And it was a BIG bonus.  After taxes, and deductions, not quite as big... but still BIG.

I've never had such a large pile of money materialize in my bank account.  Like David after the Dentist, I had to ask myself, "Is this real life?"

It feels like cheating.  Aren't I supposed to fight tooth and nail and scrimp for every payment?  *poof* magic, *poof* gone.

 $5500 of Debt Gone. 

That was easy.  How can I keep making that happen?

So much catch up

*****Originally written in 2015, just never hit publish...*****

March, Hi.  Where did you come from?  And thank you for the respite from the bitter cold. 

January, what happened?
February?  Good Riddance.

It's really hard to believe that a week ago we were having temps below zero and windchills in the -20's. 

Here is what happened in January.  Pretty low key. 
(lost the infographic but paid the Standard $870 base payment)

Here is what happened in February.  Pretty low.. WAIT, WHAT?!

Yep, something magic happened...

I paid off a loan and took a big chunk out of another!

*cue shooting fireworks, the marching band, and streaming banners*


So much happy

More to come in another post...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Carrots

If you're following along you're probably wondering what all this carrot nonsense is about.  Well here it is.


So I went out on a limb and bought some organic carrot slices/chips/whatever.  I try to feed my child better than myself and carrots were the cheapest unadulterated, pesticide free, vegetable I could find.

Then we were gifted a megaton of carrots from a Costco veggie tray. Thanks...

And  right after that we were gifted an overstuffed gallon bag of the most beautiful homegrown carrots I have ever seen.  They were cute, kinda stocky, kinda chubby.  These carrots were just lovely, so ya know, I was kinda starting to feel it.

But folks, come on!  We are NOT carrot people!

Hide yo kids, hide yo wives! They be giftin carrots to e'rybody!  Fo' real.

Anyway, I try not to throw away food, no matter how many times I have to eat it.  I don't want to throw away money or nutrition, but after carrot pudding and carrot souffle I have no idea what else to do with these things.  Haha, I kid.  I haven't gone that far quite yet.

But here are some cheap, easy and delicious uses we have found for them.

Herb Roasted Root Vegetables
Cut up whatever root vegetables you happen to have on hand.
For us that was carrots, sweet potato, carrots and onion.
Drizzle with olive oil
Season to taste with salt, pepper, and any or all of rosemary, thyme, garlic, oregano and parsley.

Stir to coat, spread evenly on a baking sheet
Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway.
Vegetables should be soft with edges browning when done.

Honey Rosemary Carrots (from allrecipes)
4 large carrots peeled and sliced fancy
1/4 C water
2T butter
a good squeeze from the honey bear (1/4 C.  Pretty sure I used less.)
Rosemary fairy dust until it looks pretty (1 sprig or to taste)

Bring carrots, water and butter to boil in a small saucepan.  It doesn't seem like enough water, but alas, it is.   Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the honey and rosemary and continue simmer until carrots are tender, about 5 more minutes.

Potato Soup (adapted from Ree Drummond)
6+ Strips of Bacon chopped
3 large carrots diced, or like 6 if you're in my position
3 stalks of celery diced
6 "medium" potatoes cubed.
4 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of cream, or 1 cup of milk with 1-2 T of flour whisked in.
Seasonings to taste, salt, pepper, savory blends, cajun blends, etc.

Brown bacon in a pot, then remove bacon pieces and drain off most of the excess grease.  Add carrots, celery and onion to the pot.  Cook on medium-high for two minutes and then add in the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for another five minutes.  Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil.  Cook until potatoes begin to get tender.  About 10 minutes.  At this point you can stir in milk and flour mixture and continue boiling a few minutes or stir in the cream and reduce the heat.

Remove about half the soup to blend.  Allow it at least 5 minutes to cool before blending until smooth.  Otherwise you risk an explosion of very hot liquids from your blender.  Add the soup back to the pot and stir to combine.  If you have an immersion blender it does the job in a few seconds.


I predict by Sunday, that everyone in my family will have 20/20 vision.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Budget Smudget

I’m feeling a little lost in Blogland these days.  I want to keep posting, but I’m just not sure of the direction I want to go in.  There’s certainly no shortage of personal finance and student loan material… but beyond that it’s a little hazy. I just don’t think my cleaning goals are the most exciting thing to read about.

Unless you reaaaaaally want to know.  Here's a little update.

Last week:
Living room clutter pile - *poof* gone
Dining room clutter pile - *poof* fail
Donate 3 items/day from my closet - win!
Annihilate the carrots - NEARLY THERE!
New Goals:
Dining room clutter pile - *poof* now a thrift store pile
Finish off 2013 X-mas Gift - done!
Read ½ of Lean In - no comment...
Stop eating 2 meals a day at work - win!
Track spending - so far so good!

Anyway, as lost as I feel about my blog, I admittedly feel the same way about my finances currently.  It’s like I am almost back at square one.  I have very good ideas, but not exact ideas..., where my money goes each month.  I certainly live within my means, but I know I am not spending and saving as I should be.  That’s why I’m starting the year with a financial reset and tracking every single purchase I make until things start to get a little bit clearer. 

If you don’t know where your spending is start tracking Every. Single. Expense.  Today!  Right Now!  It will really be eye opening when it’s laid out in front of you. 

You don’t have to be fancy, you can do it with a little notebook or even an old check register (does anyone even know what those things are any more???)

Since I’m a bit of an enginerd I’ve set my family up with a Google Sheet that I can access by my smart phone.  We track the Date, Who Spent, Where, How Much, For What Category, For Whom Category,  and any notes, (like Finally canceled that online subscription I never use).

I also use Mint, which is totally automated once you set it up.  It’s perfect if you’re an arm-chair finance person, but it’s not always clear what the purchases are for.

Once I get a handle on where things are going I’ll need to swallow the reality of getting back on a budget.

 It’s not like I've been to the Grocery store 3 times in the last week and currently might be out of eggs or anything…  *cough*

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Spreadsheet! Yay!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all a year of peace, love, happiness, motivation, momentum, encouragement, frugality and some MASSIVE DEBT CRUSHING ABILITY!

I had a fabulous time welcoming the New Year.  Life has been so hectic, I would have been happy with a quiet night at home.  Instead, we ended up going out for dinner, and then on to a party where we caught up with friends and had the best time playing some very ridiculous board games.  I think I spent a majority of the night in tears from laughing so hard.  A night surrounded by friends, food, love and laughter.  I couldn't have imagined a better end to 2014.

Since I had today off of work I knew I wanted to start the New Year out right.  I tackled a huge list of home projects, snuggled my babe, squeezed in a blog, created new financial spreadsheets, and spent some time reflecting on this crazy ride that is my life.  Two years ago, if I had known what was coming, I probably would have FLED!  Uhhh... wife?  mom?  jobsplosion?  uhhh...  RUN! But now that I am here, there is just SO MUCH happiness.  Literally, at times, I feel like I am going to burst.  I never could have expected this and I wouldn't change it for the world.  I can't help but wonder what else life has in store.

Ok, hoppin' off the sap train.

I'm not really big on New Year's resolutions, but after seeing them posted everywhere it has me  formulating concrete ideas around the things I'm personally striving for.  And I just have to say that while goals, and resolutions, and REAL solutions are awesome, it's good to remember that every day comes with a new beginning and a chance to begin again.

For my new beginning I hope to...
1.) Set weekly goals, because I know I will totally biff it on monthly and yearly goals.

2.) Pay off at least $15,000 of principal on my student loans.

3.) Get my Patent Agent's License

4.) Get a work promotion and pay raise! (Cha-ching!)

So here's where I'm beginning.  These are my first week's goals (Jan. 1 - 4)
  • Remove the clutter pile from the living room.
  • Remove the clutter pile from my dining room
  • Each day remove 3 things from my wardrobe.
  • Annihilate the carrots.  
So far so good.  Living room and dining room are almost done.  I've filled a bag of items to donate and look forward to freeing up closet and fridge space.

Crush it.
Love, Snowball

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Debt, so refreshing!

It's a beautiful morning! and -13 with the windchill.  Brrrrr.

Last month I was just remarking to a friend about how I dipped a few dollars below $100k of debt.  Now after this month's payments that 6th significant figure is gone for L-I-F-E!

This just feels like such a major achievement. Woooooo! (Suck it, interest!) 

Today $100,000+ of debt feels almost incomprehensible. Huh? Why? How? Wait...What? I did that?  Yep, and now I'm back to DESTROYING it.  :)

Strangely, it feels so refreshing to only owe $99k+ of debt.  It makes me feel a lot savvier than those people who owe over $100k of debt. I mean, $100,000 of student loans? How can anyone be that dumb?  Ohh... wait...

At the very least I am glad my degree is in engineering and not something  like underwater basket weaving.

Ok, here are the numbers for December!

          Total Payments $1,579.12  ($879.12 Base and $700 Snowball)
          Total Principal  $1,514.20  (73% of Payments)
          Total Interest    $   425.70  (27% of Payments)

I think I spoke a little too soon for my debt pay off goals for 2015.  I mentioned that I hoped to pay off $21,316 worth of student loans, but I forgot to factor in how interest digs it's little claws in.  So the revised goal is roughly to pay $21,000 total towards student loans and by doing that eliminate about $15,000 of principal.  Interest, you are my B...!  I can't wait to see those numbers start to collapse in the New Year.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Back from the dead... of winter!


Hello 12” of snow. Hello Winter.
I’ve already lost one of my new gloves, so I think that makes it pretty official. (Great, how much is that going to cost? Jk)
It has been so long since I’ve written here and so much has happened! The last time I wrote things were in a pretty tumultuous place, but life always seems to have a way of working itself out. Unfortunately my student loans are all still kicking around, but I’m back on an accelerated pay-off plan and look forward to watching that balance continue to slide on down.

I have definitely spent a majority of the last year figuring out the ins and outs of parenthood. I’m not sure I will ever be on top of it, because it’s always changing. Though I will say it is the best job. My life has never been filled with so much love, joy or purpose. Another challenge has been learning how to manage a dual income household. Because, guess who’s married? This girl! Woohoo! Things can get a little touchy when it comes to budgeting yours, mine and ours. Especially when one party has debt and the other doesn’t… or when one party has wildly fluctuating income.

I will definitely have to write on how we budget for our life and our little one, but for now here is a monumental catchup on my student loan statistics…

Gah, that's a bit of a painful perspective.  It's hard to believe there's been so little movement over 2 YEARS.  *sigh* This is what happens when you pay the minimum on your student loans.

Interest, you are one SOB.

It is incredibly hard to see those numbers, but this is great motivation to get back at it.   The highlighted row is the loan I am working to pay off first.  This seems a little outrageous, but I am hoping to pay of $21,316 in 2015 (Loans #3,4, & 5 or Loans #2 & 5).  I am counting on a bonus, a raise and whole lot of thriftyness to get me there.  Wish me luck! Destroy Debt!

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Very Humbling Experience

I couldn't decide if I should even post this... but here it is anyway.

After I spent the last of all the money in my name on this month's COBRA (health insurance) payment I decided I needed to do something.  Just anything from going completely under.  I feel like I am currently headed for disaster with no job or relief in sight.  I've been applying to several jobs, which has resulted in a few interviews that went well, and even a couple of second interviews that went really well.  Then each time I have gotten a call saying we have had a <catastrophe> and this will delay our decision <some number of> weeks.  AUGH.  So close... yet so far...

Since finding an engineering job hasn't been going exactly as planned, I registered with some temp agencies that I used to work for when I was in college.  The interview went great and they immediately booked an assignment for me.  Then today I found out through some mixups that the week long assignment starting Monday was given to someone else.

The news was devastating.  I was already counting on that paycheck to help me keep my head above water just a little longer...

Talk about feeling worthless.  The only thing I have left in my name is debt.  :(

With no income in sight and a baby on the way, I started to look into our state healthcare options.  I found out that because I have been without any income for so long that I don't actually qualify for anything besides medical assistance.  I've never used any kind of public assistance and have always taken pride my ability to weather any situation with enough hard work.

*sigh* now I just need to find that work.  I never imagined using this blog to chronicle a backwards descent.