2017 Goal Recap with 2018 Updates

I started out 2017 behind in bills, meaning I didn’t have enough money at the end of the month to pay all the bills that were due the next month.

I’m ending 2017 all caught up and feeling pretty positive about 2018! I came across this article recently.  I had forgotten all about it and was amused as I read over what goals I had planned out for the year.

I thought I’d go over them with you.

Financial

  • Bills caught up approximately by 4/2017
    • Achieved! I’m not sure about the date, but I did eventually become able to pay all of next month’s bills on the last pay day of the previous month.
  • Send extra payment of $175 a month to Navient, focusing on smallest loans first
    • Fail! – I never did end up increasing those payments like I wanted to. I think instead I decided to concentrate on the debt snowball, focusing on one thing at a time rather than spreading all our extra money among many small things. I think that was the right choice! Now I send extra to Navient and I’m finally getting somewhere with this loan.
    • 2018 Goal – Continue to pay $25-$50 a week from side hustle through the year
  • Increase Christmas Club and Vacation Club savings accounts from $5/week to $20/week.
    • Fail! I had a hard time letting go of that money, and now I know that it’s silly to put so much a month in to something that isn’t THAT important. That was an extra $30 a week that went in to savings and eventually to bills and debt instead.
    • 2018 Goal – Continue $5/week automatic transfer to Vacation and Christmas Club savings account. Cash flow any vacations and gifts.
  • Personal Loan sent to 0% interest 18 months balance transfer 4/2017
    • Fail! Do you know I had still not gotten an offer to do that darned balance transfer?! I’m still waiting! At that point it would have cost $101 (3% fee), saved $336.60 in interest, and moved the loan maturation date from 8/2019 to 9/2018.
    • 2018 Goal – Pay off by 3/2018 by paying all extra money at the end of the month to it.
  • CP Visa paid in full 8/2017
    • Fail! We were sending $100/week to this card in an effort to pay it off, but we ended up just swiping away the $100/week again on miscellaneous stuff. We made a change in 2017 and started sending this card $100/month instead and trying to use it less, but it still stays maxed out.
    • 2018 Goal – I haven’t figured the bills out far enough in advance but I know that after the Personal Loan is paid off in March, this CP Visa will be next on the chopping block. I estimate it will be paid off July or August 2018.
  • HHR paid in full by 10/2017
    • Achieved! If I remember correctly we actually paid it off earlier than this.
  • Save $250/mo. for vehicle to replace Equinox lease in 3/2018
    • Fail! – Like with the Christmas and Vacation savings accounts listed above, I decided our money would be better spent tackling high interest debt like the Personal loan and CP Visa.
    • 2018 Goal – Purchase a used car with less than 100,000 miles, 5-8 years old, and preferably around $6,000. We are preapproved for a used auto loan from our credit union of up to $20,000 at 3.49%. I verified that there isn’t a minimum required amount to finance after I was briefly star struck by a $2,995 VW Beetle convertible. 3.49% beats 9.5% (the rate of our CP Visa and Personal Loan) so our money is better spent going toward those debts rather than avoiding financing a used car.

I then went over some ideas what to do next in 2017 as I didn’t have a clear plan. Here they are:

  • Send extra money to mortgage to bring balance below $56,160 and getting rid of PMI payment of $54.54/mo.
    • Fail! I didn’t do anything above sending the regular extra I do every moth.
    • 2018 Goal – This is still an idea I like. I have been toying with the idea of adding it to my debt snowball. At the time of writing this post, I would have to pay $5,499 to do that. Adding this to my debt snowball would be about #3 on the list. I would put it after the Personal Loan and CP Visa, but before my student loans and before any debts with interest rates under 4%.
  • Send extra money to Navient which has interest rates up to 6.55%
    • Achieved! A work in progress.
    • 2018 Goal – Continue working with Shipt and paying $25-50 a week on highest interest, lowest balance accounts first. Start throwing extra money at the end of the month toward these debts after Personal Loan, CP Visa, and maybe the PMI are paid in full.
  • Send extra money to retirement account which would earn 8-10% over next 29+ years
    • Fail! I now know this is a bad idea as long as I have debts that I am paying over 4% interest on. I will focus extra money on those debts first.
  • See a financial planner
    • Fail! I still want to do this!
    • 2018 Goal – Set an appointment with The Financial Gym the next time we go to NYC.

That’s it for Financial Goals for 2017. It’s amazing how my mindset changed over the year, and how much I learned listening to personal finance podcasts and reading personal finance books all year.

Now let’s see what 2017 Me had to say about other areas of my life.

Home Goals

  • Install new interior doors upstairs 4/2017
    • Achieved! We did install new interior doors, we just haven’t sanded and painted them.
    • 2018 Goal – Sand and paint the doors.
  • Purchase high efficiency furnace and central AC with 0% 24 month special financing through Home Depot
    • Achieved! Kind of. We only did the furnace, which allowed us to install a Wi-Fi thermostat which is really fun to set schedules and turn down when we are away from home. However we haven’t been saving any money on our gas bill at all so that’s disappointing.
    • 2018 Goal – Purchase high efficiency central AC with 0% 24 month special financing through Home Depot. I KNOW this one will save us money because our AC died a couple years ago. One of my coworkers happened to have a motor that fit my fan blade even though it ran at a higher horse power than our old motor. We used it last year and our electricity bills were ungodly.

That’s the end of the 2017 Goals Review!

Let’s go over all the 2018 Goals so they will be easy to review next December.

Financial

  • Pay $25-50 a week to Navient earned from Shipt working in this order:
    1. Navient #9
    2. Navient #1
    3. Navient #2
  • Cash flow any vacations and gifts
  • Send end of the month money to Personal Loan beginning 1/2018. Pay in full in or around 3/2018
  • Send end of the month money to CP Visa beginning on or around 4/2018. Pay in full in or around 7/2018
  • Send end of the month money to mortgage to get rid of PMI payment of $54.54/month beginning in or around 8/2018.
    • Will continue to send the same mortgage payment, so additional $54.54/month will go toward principal. This will drastically reduce the term of our mortgage.
  • Send end of the month money to Navient concentrating on highest interest rates and lowest balances beginning in or around 8/2018.
  • Turn in Equinox 3/2018 and purchase used car
    • 2008 – 2012 manufacture year
    • Less than 100,000 miles
    • Between $6,000 – $8,000

 

Home

  • Purchase high efficiency central AC in or around 4/2018 using Home Depot 0% 24 month special financing
  • Small scale kitchen remodel with tax refund money
    • Garbage Disposal
    • Flooring
    • Dishwasher

>1 Year Goals

  • Eliminate any debt with interest rates higher than 4%
  • Minimum payments on any debt with interest rates lower than 4%
  • End of month money divided in half and sent to individual Vanguard Target Date Retirement Funds

I feel really good about these 2018 and further goals! I had a lot of fun reviewing the goals I made just 2 months after I started my debt free journey.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn as I continue to educate myself through reading personal finance books, listening to personal finance and personal development podcasts, and sharing my journey with the debt free community on Instagram.

Thanks for reading and following my journey! You can follow me on Instagram @networthnegative where I share inspirational quotes from the personal finance books that I read and post daily updates on debt elimination and more. I hope to see you there!

Thanks for reading!

XOXO,
Dolores

December 2017 Navient Review

The assault continues on Navient #9!

The wonky billing cycle from Navient breaking all of my loans up continues on this bill cycle. For the January update we should be back to a full one month cycle.

This billing also reflects my first increased payment of $217.47 that was paid 12/1/2017. Thanks to the larger payment, many of my individual loan accounts decreased.  In addition to my minimum payment, I was able to pay extra each week to Navient #9 thanks to my side hustle, Shipt!

December 2017 Breakdown

This is an extra special update because I am finally done paying the accrued interest on this loan!

The Story of Navient #9

I was awarded Navient #9 on 10/3/2012. It is an unsubsidized loan, which means it has a higher interest rate, and it also accrued interest while I was attending school and any of the time that I was in deferment or forbearance. This was awarded the same semester as Navient #8 which was subsidized so that one has a much lower interest rate and did not accrue interest while in forbearance and deferment.

This was my last semester before graduation. It looks as though I was trying to be smarter about taking out subsidized loans and minimizing the unsubsidized amount.  I think at that point I had seen what trouble my student loans could become so I took out only what I needed: $939.

I then let that loan sit for almost 5 years while I hid my head in the sand and ignored all of my loans. In that time of inaction, I allowed this account to grow from $939 to $1,264.77.

 

Weekly Breakdown

11/17/2017

  • $122.32 Paycheck
  • $36.70 Saved for Taxes
  • $30 Gas
  • $50.00 Sent to Navient!

11/22/2017

  • $160.78 Paycheck
  • $48.23 Saved for Taxes
  • $20 Gas
  • $100.00 Sent to Navient!

This pay came a little early thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was also a HUGE pay check due to Shipt offering incentives for orders that no shoppers have claimed yet, also known as promos. Some of these promos can be $20 on top of the regular pay and tip. The downside to that is if too many orders are going unclaimed it triggers a hiring wave in our area, which means less orders for all of us.

I picked up a couple $20 promo offers this week.

12/1/2017

  • $38.46 Paycheck
  • $11.54 Saved for Taxes
  • $25.00 Gas

This pay was super short. Shipt was offering a holiday bonus for members that could shop a certain threshold of orders in 3 days. They may have been trying to avoid the promo snafu that happened the week before.

Since there was no way I could meet the threshold in 3 days with my one order a night rule, I stayed off the schedule to support the other shoppers who did have a chance.

After taxes and gas, I didn’t have anything extra to give to Navient.

Recap

For the billing cycle 11/14/2017 – 12/7/2017 I was able to pay a total of $150 extra to Navient, but according to the Breakdown above, Navient #9 reduced a total of $200. I am obviously still having a little trouble making the amounts match up.

In the November 2017 Navient update, my breakdown was off $25. I think that maybe my last payment of $50 on 11/9/2017 perhaps didn’t post until this month’s cycle. I will figure this out eventually! Sorry for the confusion.

As of 12/7/2017, my Navient #9 is $940.04. Every payment I make from here on out to this loan will be applied to principal.

November 2017 Navient Review

I’m still struggling with a clear and concise way to relay my journey to paying off my student loans to my readers. I think my last attempt at an excel spreadsheet showed too much information so things became unclear.

While I would love to display all the details of each individual loan: The award date, the accrued interest, the interest that’s added each month minus the minimum payments and the extra payments, all of that information muddies the heart of the matter and I think it’s only valuable information at the beginning and the end of each individual loans pay off.

I’m going to attempt to update once a month the overall progress and then go deeper in to each week of that month

*EDIT* 12/9/2017 –  The balances reflected in this billing cycle include the minimum payment of $90.61 which was paid 11/1/2017.

November 2017 Navient Breakdown

This billing cycle was a bit wonky because my Navient customer service rep offered to break my loans up for me so I could pay one loan individually online instead of calling in and waiting on hold each week to make the payment to a specific loan. Calling in and saying out loud that I wanted to pay X amount to my loan was kind of rewarding and I miss that. I knew my coworkers could hear me say it out loud, and the rep taking the call was my witness as well.

Breaking up the loans sounded like a good idea at the time, but what I didn’t realize is that once a month I would get 11 individual emails, and my bank would have one page of transactions all from Navient for each minimum payment being made on those 11 accounts.

Now it appears that the act of breaking up those bills tweaked my billing cycle.

Getting all of my student loan balances now is a process. Since each loan is individual, they each have their own bill so I have to open 11 different PDFs, and only 10 are visible on the first page. I have to click “view more” to get my last student loan balance.

Soon I will have all the PDFs on one page! It’s the small things.

I’m currently working on my lowest balance and highest interest student loan, Navient #9. My income based repayment plan is automatically drafted from my checking account on the first of each month so I can take advantage of the 0.25% interest rate deduction.

On top of that, I put all the earnings that I can from my side hustle, Shipt. Read more about my experience with Shipt here.

Every week on Friday, my Shipt paycheck is direct deposited in to my account. Since I’m a 1099 employee, I tuck 30% of the earnings in a savings account specifically for taxes. I then fill my gas tank.

The gas I get each Friday not only gets me to the grocery store and to my customers but I also go to my full time job and take my daughter to and from school on the same tank of gas. After these two things are taken care of, any money that is left goes toward Navient #9.

 

Weekly Breakdown

October 6, 2017

I received my first paycheck from Shipt this day in the amount of $76.97. I saved $23.09 for taxes, put $30 in the gas tank and sent $25 extra to Navient.

October 13, 2017

I was paid $12.84 from Shipt this week because I decided of the two participating Shipt grocery stores we have in my city, I liked one better than the other so I chose to shop exclusively at that one. I got one order. I quickly got over myself and decided to shop both stores from here on out.

I saved $3.85 for taxes, and put $10 in my gas tank.

October 20, 2017

I was paid $92.12, saved $27.64 for taxes, put $30 gas n the tank and sent $25 extra to Navient.

It took about this point for my husband to come on board with this side hustle of mine. He didn’t like it at all so we came to a compromise: I would only deliver orders as late as 8pm, and I would work every day necessary until I reached my goal of $100. I figured $100 was the minimum I could make to save for taxes, fill the tank, and put $25 – $50 toward my student loans per week. This compromise has been working well for us!

October 27, 2017

I was paid $106.79, saved $32.04 for taxes, put $20 in the tank, ad sent $50 extra to Navient! This plan is working!

November 3, 2017

I was paid $100.93, saved $30.28 for taxes, put $35 in the tank, and sent $25 extra to Navient. It wasn’t my $50 goal, but $25 a week is respectable, too.

November 9, 2017

I was paid $117.34, a little above my $100 goal but that was due to promotional orders and good tippers. I still held up my end of the compromise: Stay home on my hubby’s day off, but working on his day off if I haven’t yet reached $100 for the week.

This pay was also a little early due to a bank holiday.

I saved $35.20 for taxes, put $30 in the tank, and paid $50 extra to Navient.

Recap

For the Navient billing cycle 10/6/2017 – 11/14/2017 I was able to pay a total of $150 extra to Navient. According to the breakdown above, Navient #9 reduced only $125.53.

This is something I’ve been struggling with when attempting to share my student loan pay off progress. I can’t get my numbers to match up! I’m thinking that perhaps the payment I made October 6th may have credited on the previous month’s bill.

I think this is the format I’m going to stick with from here on out, so the payments should match up when I make my monthly updates.

(Mis)Adventures in Side Hustling Vol. 3

Hello, and welcome to my blog where I document our family’s journey to a positive net worth. Currently I’m reliving my misadventures in side hustling because I’m all about self-deprecation and it makes for good story telling, so why not?

In late September on my commute to work, on a rare occasion I had the radio playing. Even rarer there was a commercial on and I listened absently. They were advertising a grocery deliver service called what I thought was Shipped. Wonder how that works? I thought and promptly forgot all about it.

A few days later I was scrolling my Instagram feed and saw a post asking if anyone had any side hustle suggestions. I quickly read through the comments because I’m always looking for extra income. At the time I was still waiting for my dreaded haunted house side gig and not looking forward to it.

One of the commenters gushed about Shipt. Aha! That’s what it’s called! I forgot I wanted to look in to that! I thought. Through further reading I learned that this woman made $5 per delivery + 7.5% of the order total + tips. “It adds up quickly!” she added. Hmm.

I found out that Shipt was hiring in my area so I applied online. In a couple of days I had an interview where I recorded myself answering a couple of questions. There were some essay questions: “Imagine a customer has organic raspberries on her order but all you see in the organic section is one carton of organic raspberries with a bit of mold. Please write a text to the customer explaining the situation.” One of the dreaded recorded questions: “Why do you think you would make a good addition to the Shipt team?”

After about a week I received a welcome packet which included a Shipt tee shirt and a company credit card. I was excited about this last bit because I figured that I would be buying the groceries and being reimbursed. I had plans to set up a separate bank account with $500 in it to replenish with reimbursements and to take my profits from once a week.

I was happy to learn the process was much easier than that. All I do is grocery shop with the app, scan the bar codes to make sure I have the exact item the customer requested, pay with the company card, and collect my paycheck once a week! It’s all very seamless.

But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, of course. That’s why I’m writing this post! Now, I want to mention that while there is definitely a learning curve to being a personal shopper I feel as though some of these things I didn’t know could have been learned through research or reading the weekly newsletters sent out instead of just jumping right in like I did.

What I didn’t know right away was that when you add yourself to the delivery schedule, the hour window is the hour of delivery not the hour worked. For that reason, I was very late on my first 2 orders.

I also didn’t know that the items on the grocery list give you a location ID which corresponds to the aisle, the shelf, and the position on the shelf. Had I known this I wouldn’t have been near tears in the freezer section desperately looking for chipped beef. I had no idea what chipped beef was much less have the ability to locate it in a grocery store and deliver it to a customer.

Now I can find anything as long as it’s in stock!

My absolute worst experiences with Shipt involve not being able to locate the customers to deliver their orders. This story I’m about to relay is extremely embarrassing, and I really don’t want to share it.

Here goes.

I received a pretty simple order: A bunch of diet coke, bleach, and sugar. The customer was not responsive to my text messages but that was okay since the order was easy. We have some standard text messages we send out: I like to first thank the customer for their order, and let them know what to expect in terms of contacting them if I have problems with their order. I then shop the order, ask about substitutions if some of their items were out of stock, check out, and then let them know I’m on the way. I sent all these messages with no reply.

A lot of our Shipt orders deliver out to the country. Our customers are pretty savvy because not only are they saving time by not doing their own shopping, but many of them live pretty far from the store so they’re also saving on gas.

That was the case with this order as well. I was looking for a house number and having the hardest time finding it. By process of elimination, I narrowed it down to a little yellow house, but the house had no house number on it.

There was a car in the driveway so I knocked at the door. No answer. I tried contacting the customer again by text and phone but got no answer. I went to a neighbor’s house and asked if they knew where I could find the house number on my order but they weren’t sure either. They thought it could be the little yellow house because there was a little old lady that lived there, but her name didn’t match the name on my order.

They advised me that there was another house behind the house on the other side of the yellow one (boy this is getting hard to follow even for me and I lived it!). They advised me that there was a dirt road I would have to take to get to the home in the back. So, off I go to the other side of the yellow house and found a young man working on a car in the driveway. I asked him if the dirt road next to his house leads to another home behind his. He said yes, so off I go on the dirt road.

God, this is embarrassing.

I drove down the dirt road and it’s horribly rutted. I prayed my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud and that I wouldn’t bend the frame of my vehicle taking this “road”.  I glanced behind me and noticed the young man standing there watching me and a woman has joined him. His mother. The guy jogs up to me and says “Um, this is our back yard.”

After completely dying inside, I apologized profusely and proceeded to leave these people’s yard as their dog attacked my car.

Eventually I got a call back from the customer. The story was the customer put in an order for her grandma and forgot to let grandma know to expect someone at the door. The customer then went back to work and forgot about it. Grandma was a bit of a recluse and was hiding from me in her little yellow house. Granddaughter let grandma know I was safe. She let me in and offered me ice cream and beer 🙂

I have learned a lot about Shipt shopping since that mortifying night.  I now allow myself one shop a day after work. It’s quite relaxing; I compare it to doing a puzzle. I look where I need to go, find the product, scan it, and get a satisfying ‘beep’ and the item disappears from my list.

As long as I allow myself plenty of time it’s really a fun job. Any time I stray from that rule I get super stressed out and start shaking from the anxiety!

What happens if I’m late to deliver an order? Well, the customer often doesn’t mind at all. But Shipt keeps track of how your customers rate you, how often you reject orders that are offered to you (so you aren’t picking and choosing only large ones with a bigger payout), and how often you are late. The worse your stats, the less shops you are offered.

I like this rule because it makes you desperate for any offer you finally get (I’ve been there!) so that you will do anything to not screw it up.

If you are considering becoming a Shipt shopper, you are probably doing your research if you’re reading this. Good for you! Once you become a shopper, join the Shipt Shopper lounge immediately. There’s so much great information there.

A gem I learned recently is that once I have an order I should remove myself from the schedule so I don’t have to reject more orders that come in while I’m shopping the first one. Remember, rejecting orders would hurt my rating. That’s good information because if I accept the offer to prevent damage to my acceptance rate, I’d probably be late on both which would do much more damage to my ratings.

I’m so glad I have most of the kinks worked out now. When I get paid from Shipt I put 30% back to save for income taxes (Shipt is a 1099 employer), I fill my gas tank, and the rest goes toward Navient.

If you follow me on Instagram you will see a breakdown every pay day of how much I was able to send to Navient.

I’m so grateful I came across this side hustle, I really enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.

XOXO,

 

Dolores

December 2017 Statement of Net Worth Upate

Hello and welcome to our December 2017 net worth update! We were able to pay off our Equinox lease this month and I am so excited! Cue the confetti! We paid $475 a month on this debt and it is going to free up so much money in the future. Even though it was a 0% interest debt, we went forward with paying it off because of the sheer amount of money it would free up.

That’s our big update for this month! We had some short comings as well that were kind of sort of planned. We usually do splurge for Black Friday so we went ahead and did that but we didn’t spent very much at all. We got a couple of Christmas presents so those are taken care of, my husband got a new recliner for his game room, and I bought some Hunter rain boots and a North Face jacket. I also got an Ancestry DNA kit for myself which I have been wanting for eons.

But, even though we had our little splurge session above (about $500 worth) we were still able to pay off debt which I am ecstatic about. Without further ado, on to the breakdown!

December 2017 Breakdown

Assets

Looks like the home is on the rise again! When I checked Zillow.com our home is projected to raise 7.2% in the next year bringing it to $90,000! Don’t mind if I do!

The car insurance fell a bunch because we paid the car insurance this month. I have our car insurance come out of our credit card automatically every 6 months, so we get a 5% discount from the insurance company for paying in a lump sum and we earn 1.5% from our credit card rewards program for paying it through them! Discounts on discounts? Yes, please.

The Savings – Emergency account is growing unusually because I have been chucking my tax savings from Shipt in to it since I don’t have a Savings – Tax  account currently. Hubby is also earning bonuses now and he wants to open another savings account to keep that separate for big ticket items in the future. Not sure where he’s going with that, but it’s his bonus so he can do what he pleases. Anyway, I think a trip to the bank is in the future in order to set up a Savings – Bonus and Savings – Tax account so we can track these more accurately.

All other assets are fluctuating as normal.

Liabilities

We have two stars of the show over on this side of the ledger. The first being that the Equinox is at a zero balance! Hooray! Seriously, where is the confetti?

The second is *drumroll* our Navient account for the first time EVER in the 14 months that I have been tracking our net worth for the world to see did not grow! We are now in for 11 more months of increased payments due to the reevaluation of my income based repayment plan, and Shipt looks like it’s something I’m going to be doing for the long haul. I feel really comfortable that I have worked out the kinks in my learning curve and I know exactly what I’m doing now.

I’m pulling an average of one order per weeknight 4 nights a week, and 2-3 orders on Saturdays which makes it possible for me to pay $50-$75 per week on my student loan in addition to my regular monthly payment.

The Visa went up a bit because my hubby took off without me to make his recliner purchase so he didn’t have the credit card with him that we pay off every month. And I haven’t paid it off because I’m still a sort of naughty human who is trying to break the “debt is okay” mentality.

Debt Pay Off

I’m not sure how much debt we will be paying off this month with Christmas coming up, but I do think we are going to be paying some extra.

Our smallest 3 debts as of 12/1/2017 are:

  1. Navient #9 – $939 (6.5% interest)
  2. Home Depot – #2,450 (0% interest)
  3. Personal Loan – $2,75 (9.5% interest)

This is where I’m going to stray from the Dave Ramsey debt snowball method. Home Depot isn’t costing me anything to pay off slowly, and I’ve broken this down to an amount to bring the balance to $0 way before the promotional period expires for our new furnace. In or around April I may start focusing on this debt because we need a new central A/C unit. The one we have currently uses so much electricity so I think replacing it will pay for itself and I plan on using the 0% option again when that time comes.

I mentioned last month that I’m not particularly motivated to throw even more money at Navient #9 than I already am because it doesn’t change my payment in the short term.

I am choosing to work on our personal loan next. It has the highest interest rate that we currently pay, and paying it off will reduce our bills $150 per month for good. Our CP Visa account is also 9.5% but once we pay extra money on to it, it’s possible, and maybe even probable that we will just re-spend that money so it won’t necessarily stay paid down. However, once the personal loan is done, and depending on what’s going on with how long that takes we may work on the CP Visa Account or Home Depot next. But, that’s at least 2-3 months in the future. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

I am also still waiting on the 0% balance transfer option from Capital One which just has not wanted to spawn for me! If that comes available, we will be getting rid of both CP Visa and the personal loan! If that were to happen, I’d probably be forced to work on my student loans next since some of them have the next highest interest rates at 6.5% and lower.

But again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Conclusion

We were able to pay off $1,518 worth of debt this month and we increased our net worth $3,359 in one month! Our net worth is now $(43,049). Since we started our journey our net worth has increased almost $25,000! That’s amazing for only a little over one year! I am betting that we will become worthless in 2018! 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

Dolores

November 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update

Hello and welcome to our November 2017 Net Worth Update. This is an exciting update because this is the month that reflects the changes I decided to make in October. I signed up to be a personal shopper through Shipt, and decided that any money I made over the amount to pay for gas and save money for taxes would go toward my student loans!

This is also the last month with my tiny $90.61 minimum payment so I really think that this should be the last month that any of my liabilities grow instead of gradually coming down and dropping off.

Nov 2017 SNW

Our home is the asset that dropped the most this month, but that’s nothing compared with November 2016 when it dropped over $1,000!

Our Christmas Club account matured November 1st and was added to our regular savings account. We are going to use the funds at the end of November for Black Friday shopping, after paying off a debt of course. More about that below.

Our Savings – Car Insurance fund also dropped because my hubby borrowed money from it for a table top arcade system he’s been wanting. The game system is pretty cool, and it’s this consideration for each other’s wishes that makes our debt free journey possible. It can’t be all work and no play so I’m okay with this every once in a while. We will be replacing the lost funds at the end of this month and paying our car insurance December 1st. The charge will actually hit our credit card November 11th and earn us 1.5% cash back and we will pay the credit card December 1st.

Liabilities

Only one account grew this month: Navient, and by a whole lot less than usual! That’s because every week I paid an extra $25-$50 with the money I earned from Shipt. As of December 1st my minimum monthly payment increases from $90.61/mo to $217.47/mo. So I really don’t think we should see this one growing anymore.

Speaking of which, I have been really reviewing my statements lately for my Navient Posts and I have student loans that have grown SO MUCH. Ones that started out at $6,000 and are $8,000 now. I think I’m going to make a post about each one and how it’s grown.

In happier news, check out the Equinox account! We had money left over after paying all the November bills and we paid an additional $554 on the Equinox! Once this bill is gone we will save $475/mo until we have to get a replacement car in March. We haven’t been saving up for a replacement car because we’ve been focusing on debt pay off instead. Even though the Equinox doesn’t charge us interest I chose to pay this one off because it frees up so much money per month.

Debt Payoff

At the end of this month, we are planning on paying off the Equinox and then using the rest of the money for Black Friday shopping. This is when we will get a start on our Christmas shopping and really treat ourselves to whatever we want this one day a year. Last year I got 2 boxes of Tupperware, a crock pot set for keeping our Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners warm, leggings, boots, a basket set with fabric liners, and a couple of chenille knit throws which I adore.

I haven’t for sure decided the next debt I want to attack, but I think it will be the CP Personal Loan. Both it and the CP Visa are my highest interest loans with 9.5% each. I really looked forward to doing a balance transfer through Capital One but I haven’t gotten an offer in so long I’ve kind of given up on that option.

If I were to get the balance transfer option, I would probably then start working on my debts in the typical debt snowball fashion: from smallest to largest. As of right now my smallest 3 debts are:

  1. Equinox – $800 (0% interest/ $475 per month)
  2. Navient Account #9 – $1,165 (6.5% interest)
  3. Home Depot – $2,625 (0% interest/ $175 per month)

As of right now, my motivation isn’t particularly high to work on Navient any more than I already am with my side hustle. For one, I already give it extra money and for two, this debt doesn’t “hurt” as much. It should! While paying it off doesn’t make my payments any less, intrinsically I know it betters my future so hopefully my feelings on that will change in the future.

As for the next couple of months I’m not sure if there will be a lot going on in the debt pay off department what with our annual Black Friday splurge and Christmas spending and recovery coming up, but we will see.

I’ve also been thinking about adding a line item to our debt snowball to get rid of the PMI on our home loan. Right now our mortgage payment includes $54.54 going in to escrow to pay our private mortgage insurance. This will stay on our loan until our balance is at 78% of the original value of our home according to the appraisal done when we purchased it. Our home appraised for $72,000 then and our balance is now just under $62,000. We would have to have a mortgage balance of $56,160 in order for the PMI to fall off on its own and without us beeding to pay for a second appraisal. We are currently $5,621 short of that. Do you guys have any thoughts about accelerating our mortgage principal payment to get rid of PMI? We would of course continue paying the same mortgage amount we have been all along so that $54.54 a month saved would go right on the principal. So the $5,621 would save us a ton of interest over the life of the loan, and then the $54.54 extra every month thereafter would also save us a ton. I’m seriously thinking about it!

Conclusion

At the end of October we were able to reduce our debts almost $2,000 and increased our net worth $1,580 for a total net worth of $(46,408)!

Thank you for reading and please check back for more information on my progress paying my student loans down!

XOXO,
Dolores

Changes: Random Reflections

It’s starting to get cold again in Southern Michigan. It’s a funny thing to be back home where I grew up and see everything that I used to see as a child now as an adult.

Yesterday, at our local grocery store I saw 2 young teen girls running around giggling and clutching at each other while they ran through the aisles, imagining someone was watching them. Well, someone was watching (me) but probably not the someone they imagined. My eyes caught briefly with one of them and her eyes slid right over mine as she dismissed me.

These girls grabbed my attention because they reminded me of me. Their clothes, coats, and shoes were bedraggled. Their hair was unkempt. Shipt had brought me to this side of town that I don’t frequent often on my own now, but somewhere I often was as a child. Often to this same grocery store in fact. I could also be seen running through the aisles giggling with a friend while I imagined a cute boy was watching me as I disappeared around the next corner.

I was a happy child even thought I didn’t have the best clothes, never owned a pair of Nikes, or a Starter jacket. I had great friends, ones that read this blog (hi, guys!), and an awesome mother who made sure my sister and I were always active in things that didn’t cost money.

Sometimes I think that if I look hard enough, I’ll be able to see myself 25 years ago. I’ll be able to see my dad again if I look hard enough at the motorcycle passing me by. And if he has a child behind him clutching his back, it’s possible that I’m looking at myself circa 1987. These girls were me, circa 1992 as they slipped by 2017 me.

Around this time of year I always get reflective on how far I’ve come. It’s because of Halloween, I imagine. I bought a home when I moved back to Michigan that I very may well have walked past as a child. It was in the “nice” neighborhood. The neighborhoods where I used to walk on my way to school every day, inhaling the aroma of their dryers pumping out the sweet, warm smell of their laundry in the morning.

We had to do our laundry at the laundry mat and my mother would make sure there was not a droplet of water left in those clothes before we could fold them and take them home. They never smelled good to me. Maybe because we had to use the off-brand? I vowed when I was old enough I was going to buy Tide and Bounce for my own laundry. I didn’t know what Downy was back then but I live by that stuff now. I’m not a fan of Bounce.

At more than a few of the houses I would pass, I would get a short reprieve from the cold as the cars they were warming up in their driveways would brush my legs with warm exhaust as I passed. I couldn’t imagine the luxury of letting a car sit empty just running the gas so the occupant wouldn’t be cold.

We often didn’t own a car, and if we did the reliability of it even turning on to get us where we wanted to go was never guaranteed. And I can’t tell you the amount of times I heard: “Do you think cars run on water?” when I would ask to be taken somewhere.

And every year at Halloween, my best friend’s family and mine would traipse the same course that we took to school every day in “the nice neighborhood”. Up one side and down the other back to her house. I dreamed that one day I would be have the ability to pass out candy when I was older.

I guess that’s why this time of year sticks out so vividly for me, because at this time is when the things that I did not have stood out in stark contrast with what others did have. This is the time of year when I dreamed of everything I might achieve, and today I can reflect on what I do have.

A couple of days ago my husband walked in the house and said he could smell our laundry when he was coming up to the house and it smelled amazing. Also, I need to wrap this up because my car has been warming up in the driveway for almost 10 minutes now.

I hope that you all have a safe and happy Halloween.