October 2017 Student Loan Review

For a long while I have wanted to closely observe and document how my student loans grow every month. In October 2016 I started my blog documenting our family’s journey to a positive net worth, and here I was able to list my Navient account as a whole and see exactly how much interest was being added every month. Prior to 10/4/2016 my head was in the sand. I had no idea what I owed and every time I was forced to look I would be shocked to find that the balance had grown by hundreds, if not thousands, from the last time I looked.

If you want to change something the best way to start in my opinion is by tracking it. Since we started tracking our net worth it has grown $20,000 in a year some by hard work and some luck, which I think were caused by the magic of tracking the changes and reacting to them.

I started this same habit by looking at my loans individually. I started writing down all of my student loans and their balances but I continued to make my minimum payment, which was based off my income. If you have been reading my blog, you know that my minimum payment was about $125 too little each month. I wasn’t even keeping up with interest!

While I was tracking how each individual account was growing, I struggled with coming up with a clear and concise way to display it to my readers. Also, I may have been a little discouraged because I was still working on catching up on our regular monthly bills, and I had a few smaller bills to take care of on my debt snowball.

A couple of things came together to really get me encouraged to start chipping away at this debt. And I do mean chipping! I am making very small jabs at this debt now, but I’m beyond excited that I’m finally doing something.

First, a person on the Instagram debt free community recommended Shipt as a side hustle to a woman that I follow. That morning during my commute to work I heard a commercial on the radio advertising Shipt for our local grocery store. It didn’t occur to me then to look in to it but I was a little curious so that post reminded me that I wanted to research it. It turns out Shipt is a grocery delivery service! I signed up to be a shopper: I get a grocery list on the app, scan each item as I grab it, pay for it with a company credit card, and deliver it to the address provided in the app.

That was a very readers’ digest version of the job, but I plan to make another post in the near future about the side hustles I have attempted in the last year.

Shipt pays me $5 for every delivery I do, plus 7.5% of the order total, plus tips. It can add up fast! My very first paycheck I brought home $76.97 after completing  shops the week before. I put $30 gas in my tank, put 30% away for taxes, and paid $25 extra to my smallest student loan!

From then I made a goal: Deliver as many orders as I can until I get to $100 and divide it as follows: 30% tax, less than $30 gas, and $25-$50 extra payment on my student loans.

But still I struggled with how to document and share the journey? During one of my drives to a delivery last night, I started talking out loud outlining my spreadsheet and got it figured out. I came home and plugged in all my numbers while watching Orange is the New Black and waiting for a load of laundry to dry.

Navient.October 2017 Corrected

Figuring out how much interest is added each month to each individual loan is still a bit wonky, because I can’t find it listed on my statement. The best I could figure was taking the previous statement from Navient and comparing the total interest with the total interest for the new month.

This has been a humbling experience. With the Sum feature on my table, I found that I accrue $121.06 of interest each month AFTER my $90.61 payment. We sort of already knew that, but when I looked at the total unpaid interest from the previous month is when the real shock kicked in. This is a huge hole. This is where not making any payments on your Income Based Repayment Plan will get you. This is where hiding from your problems gets you: Nearly $6,000 of unpaid, capitalized (compounding) interest. I’m going to start doing something about it. Or so I said.

Next, came time for my annual Income Based Repayment Plan income review. After submitting my documents and waiting a couple of months I learned that my minimum payment would be more than doubling! I am going from $90.61 due each month to $217.42. I am pretty happy about this because I can afford this payment, and I’m now being forced to at least keep up with interest if I do nothing more than make the minimum payments. No more glowing red accounts on my net worth statements!

With my side hustle going strong, and my minimum payments increasing, we should see these shrinking over the next year. I’m excited to look back 10/2018 and see where I am then. I hope you’ll be here, too!

Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Instagram @networthnegative for daily updates on our debt free journey as well as other shenanigans I get up to.

XOXO,

 

Dolores

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October 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update

Hello and Welcome to our October 2017 Statement of Net Worth Update! It’s been 1 year now since I started tracking our net worth. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. Our net worth has increased nearly $20,000 but our debt has stayed nearly the same (an increase of $80) in one year.

I feel like the next coming year is going to bring some drastic changes because 2016 going in to 2017 was spent cleaning up a lot of small messes like balance transfers and medical bills. As of October 2017 we have only 2 bills that cost us over 6% interest each month: CP Personal Loan and CP Visa, both of which are 9.5%. I’m choosing to concentrate on bills that are first of all a low balance so that they are within firing range, and I’m also keeping my eye on those with interest over 6% because paying these bills off give us more return than investing in the stock market (assuming the average rate of return of 8%).

We have many bills coming within firing range that will free up a good chunk of money which can then go toward the small balance bills or the high interest ones.

I’m getting ahead of myself. On to the breakdown!

October 2017 Corrected

Assets

It looks like our home is finally stopping its wild run to the top of the market this month. That was great! Let’s just hope that is doesn’t fall drastically like it did around this time last year.

Our Dart also fell a bit in value, but nothing too concerning.

Of course our decrease in savings is a reflection of the normal fluctuations seen after we pay bills and start building up funds for the next month.

The only unusual change this month is our Christmas Fund falling $50 instead of the regular increase of $25. I took money out of this account to pay for a birthday gift for my daughter. We were a little short on funds and I didn’t want to use the credit card so this was the solution, and I don’t regret a thing. I think it was a good choice!

Liabilities

All of our liabilities fell as usual in accordance to the regular monthly payments we send each month. We made more of a concentrated effort to give some love to the CP Visa since we have been abusing it as of late.

Navient of course continues to grow, but we have an exciting change coming up that I am going to talk more about in an upcoming post. Basically, my Income Based Repayment Plan was re-evaluated and my payment changed from $90.61 a month to $217.47, an increase of $126.86. Navient grows typically less than $125 a month so this increase will keep me about even with Navient instead of growing each month. I think in 2017 we are going to see these student loans start to be paid off one by one.

Debt Pay Off

After paying all our October bills we had $275 remaining. My husband and I discussed it and decided to put that extra money toward the CP Visa since it was nearly maxed out. We have been very good since then about not using the card at all.

We are also waiting on the 0% balance transfer offer from Capital One. Once we receive that we will move the CP Visa balance as well as the CP Personal Loan balance on to that to pay off in 18 months and save the 9.5% interest.

We also have canceled our trip to Puerto Rico due to the damaged caused by Hurricane Maria since I updated this spreadsheet so at the time of writing this post, we actually have a credit balance on Capital One which frees up money for the next 2 months.

At the end of October I think we should be very close to paying off the Equinox which will free up $475 every month and the Equinox doesn’t need to be turned in until 3/31/2018! We will have about 4 months of no car payment at all so lots of opportunity to work on more debt pay off.

Conclusion

It’s absolutely crazy how much change can happen in 2 short months. In September we made it in to the 50s, and this month we are well in the 40s for our net worth! We had an increase of $2,408 this month for a net worth of $(47,988).

I hope you continue to follow us on our journey to a positive net worth because I feel like we are going to move up in leaps and bounds this year. We are making smarter decisions, making more money, and just overall dong better. I’m excited to see where we go and I hope you’ll be a part of it.

XOXO,

 

Dolores

September 2017 Net Worth Update

Hello, and welcome to our September Statement of Net Worth Update, only a little late this time! We have had another insane increase in our net worth due to the house going up a crazy amount in value again. I’m not sure how long this trend will continue, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts!

September 2017

ASSETS

The home increased in value again this month, just over $2,000 this time.

The Dart also increased a good amount again, more than the house! Like I said, I have no idea what’s going on but I hope they don’t revert back to the downward trend we had been seeing the last few months.

Although the house and car is doing well our 401(k) amounts are increasing slowly. These accounts seem to creep up slowly and then about once a quarter they jump a higher amount. I think what we are seeing now is market fluctuations, and then the big increases are our companies making a lump sum deposit of the money we have accumulated in that time. That’s just a guess though from watching this over the last year.

By the way, we are coming up on the one year anniversary of starting this blog! It doesn’t seem so long ago.

Our Savings – Vacation account increased $100 more than usual because we added some extra money at the end of the month after paying off some debts – more about that later.

LIABILITIES

I’ve cleared Vermuelen’s off this list since it was paid off last month, and now Amazon is also at a 0 balance so that will be removed next month. Then, the number of liability accounts will match my asset accounts! Yes, aesthetic!

So while we had some success in paying off debt, we have also been really bad with the CP Visa. We put some back to school shopping and birthday spending on here, and basically just used this card when we ran low on funds elsewhere instead of slowing down our spending when we were running out of money. We just swiped s different card and I really wish it didn’t happen now.

The Capital One account also looks to have increased but the $1,150 balance is actually the cost of our flight and rental car to Puerto Rico which will be coming off tomorrow at the time I’m writing this post, so I’m not too concerned with that increase. This account should be at or near $0 for future reports so I might actually take it off the report altogether. That is, until we do our next 0% balance transfer to take care of the Personal Loan and CP Visa. These accounts both have a 9.5% interest rate, and one of them has insurance on it which runs it up an additional $10 per month. That’s frustrating, so I can’t wait to be done with it!

If you remember, the Capital One account was holding the balance for the HHR that I put on a 0% balance transfer last year. We also paid that off this month! Since this account will soon be at a 0 balance I’m hoping we get another 0% balance transfer invite so we can move those 2 accounts over soon. We will see.

DEBT PAYOFF

Some of these details accidentally made it over in to the Liabilities section but I’ll recap here.

After paying all the September bills we were able to pay off the radiology bill, Amazon Store Card, and the Capital One balance transfer for the HHR (2 months ahead of schedule)!

As of today, our smallest 3 debts are:

  1. Navient Loan #9 – $1,254
  2. Equinox – $2,304
  3. Home Depot – $2,972

I would say it is high time for me to go ahead and make that student loan post I’ve been talking about making where I will breakdown my balance, but according to my calculations I will not have anything extra to throw at debt until the end of November, and by that time the Equinox will have bypassed the Navient Loan #9 in being the smallest debt to pay off. Plus the minimum on the Equinox is $475 a month compared to about $1 on Navient thanks to the Income Based Repayment Plan.

These next couple of months will be touch and go with just paying the minimums and seeing if I can make extra money wherever possible.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @networthnegative for daily updates on our debt free journey.

 

XOXO,

 

Dolores

July 2017 Net Worth Update

Hello, there. Pardon the lack of enthusiasm, I am a bit annoyed at myself. You see, here I am ready to write out my August Statement of Net Worth, and I find I never posted July! And then when I go to post my July Statement of Net Worth I find that I never even wrote it!

So now I’m going to try to write this post a month later, and try to conjure up the level of enthusiasm I would have had, had I wrote it on time! On to the breakdown!

Statement of Net Worth. July

Assets

The house and the Dart continue to fall in value, sadly.

Our savings account appears to have fallen a great deal, but that’s because I ran our numbers just after paying the bills, so the holding account was at $0. Normal fluctuations there.

Liabilities

We have a new account here: My husband opened up an Amazon Store card. This is a card I have been interested in for a while due to the 5% cash back on regular purchases, and special financing options (0%) on purchases greater than $150. He purchased parts to build a new computer. This is 0% interest for the next 6 months, so we will be decreasing this by $100/mo in order to pay it off before the promotion ends.

Other than adding the Amazon account, all our other liabilities decreased nicely! Aside from Navient, of course. I’ll come for that eventually…

Debt Payoff

At the end of June, we were able to pay off RAC: $127.43, and we were able to pay an additional $206 on our next smallest debt, Vermuelen’s! $100 remains to pay on this debt.

Our smallest 3 debts now are:

  1. Vermuelen’s – $100
  2. Radiology – $346
  3. Amazon – $516

You may notice that Radiology is at the same balance as our June 2017 Statement of Net Worth. I had another math error somewhere along the way, this is the correct balance.

We have a very modest increase in net worth of $484. World’s better than an decrease! So we again are at an all time high net worth: $(65,669)!

Thank you so much for following my journey.

XOXO,

Dolores

April 2017 Net Worth Update

It’s time for our Net Worth update for the month of April!

We were finally able to get 100% of our April bills paid on the last day of March, which is our goal. The reason for the delay in releasing our net worth is because I have to wait for the payments to post to our student loan accounts so we can have the updated balances. We have signed up for auto-pay on both of our accounts so that we can save the additional .25% on our interest rate. Every bit helps! My husbands comes out on the 1st of each month and then takes a few days to post, while mine comes out on the 3rd of each month and posts immediately. So our net worth updates will typically be around the 4th of the month or so.

On to the update!

Statement of Net Worth. April

Assets

The decreases in our Dart, Checking, and Savings – Reg account are typical fluctuations. The checking account is a holding place for our spending money, and the Savings – Reg is a holding account for our bill money. Since all the bills were just paid, the Savings – Reg is pretty low at the moment and just beginning to accumulate money for May bills which will be paid on 4/28/2017.

The only decrease that is unexpected is in the Savings – Emergency account. We had to use $800 of our $1,000 emergency fund to take out tree that fell in our yard during a windstorm. There is only a $275 decrease reported because at the end of March we had $525 left over so it went back in the Emergency Fund. At this point any excess remaining after we pay bills will first go toward getting our Emergency Fund back up to $1,000 and then toward a liability account: either CP Visa or Personal Loan which both have an interest rate of 9%. More about that later.

Liabilties

We have some pretty drastic increases in value in our Liabilites accounts which I’m not proud of, the most of it being the CP Visa account. While you only see an increase of $106, this is an increase reported despite this account receiving $400 in payments since our last update. That means we spent about $500 on the credit card this month. We obviously need to put the credit cards away again.

Our Navient account increased by $135 this month, which is a bit more than March and February ($100 and $101 respectively). This account is increasing in value due to my Income Based Repayment Plan payment amount of $90.61 not being enough to offset the interest that accrues each month. We have a goal of sending this account an additional $175 per month, focusing on the account with the lowest balance and highest interest first. I believe we can start doing this in May.

The huge increase in our Home Depot account is due to buying a new furnace under a 0% for 24 months financing plan. The hope here was to save money on our gas bills, but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen because 70 degrees on the new thermostat feels so much colder than 70 degrees on our old thermostat, so the heat has been turned up to 74 at times. We have been working out the kinks of getting on a schedule where we have the heat turn down to 62 degrees when we aren’t home and when we are sleeping, but the kids were on spring break and my husband was on vacation this week so there was a whole lot of turning the heat up going on. We will see how it goes, though.

Our Capital One increase is due to fluctuations in regular monthly bills that are put on autopay, and is currently carrying a balance of $1,609.53 toward the 0% balance transfer for the HHR we transferred to our son.

Overall, we have a decrease in net worth of $3,354 which is to be expected due to adding the debt for our new furnace. Our net worth is now (70,724) which is just a bit lower than our all time low in January 2017 of (70,620).

Coming up….

We had planned to do a 0% balance transfer this month for the Personal Loan but I haven’t received an offer from Capital One to do so yet, so I’m just waiting for that invitation. Funny they seem to come every other month but once I am counting on using one, it’s nowhere to be found! Once we receive one we will move forward with transferring that balance.

All about our furnace replacement – and an extra repair that needs to be done which was found at the time of installation!

Medical bill negotiation – Compassionate Care Success!

Student Loan Breakdown – Look for an upcoming blog post displaying the balances of each of my 11(!) student loan accounts and the plan of attack.

As always, thanks for reading and talk again soon.

XOXO

Dolores

November 2016 Net Worth Update

Welcome to our November Net Worth Update!

This has been a great month with some exciting changes. I am happy to report our Net Worth grew $356 in the month of October, and I would like to explain what happened to help contribute to this change. First of all, on the fateful night of 10/4/2016 I jammed all of our numbers together, assets and liabilities in to very rough estimates. For 11/1/2016 I have actually researched each number.

You may have noticed I’ve changed the look of the Statement of Net Worth so that we can now see the current amount, previous months amount, and the amount of change. Also we have some “fire” editing to show which assets have decreased in value and which liabilities have increased.

statement-of-net-worth-november

Assets

I get our home’s value from zillow.com, and for some unknown reason our home decreased in value over $1,400! There’s nothing I can really do to control that except for work on my home to try to inch the value up over time. A house recently sold a couple doors down for us that was in really poor shape, so I may see this number fall even more in the coming months.

For the HHR, I get the value from Kelly Blue Book (kbb.com) and select the year, make, model, mileage, and mark it as good condition. Last month I went through all of the questions and was told the car was in good condition, so I’ll be going with that from now on, and then I select the tab for a private sale. We are up $191! I didn’t expect that. I thought it would fall by bits and pieces as it ages.

I have the real 401(k) amounts now. My husband had no idea what his log in information was! We were going to update his elections to a Target Date Mutual Fund because he had never made a selection (I can’t preach too much there; I just learned to make my own selections after reading 99 Minute Millionaire by Scott Alan Turner) but his company automatically put him in his Target Date Fund so that was cool! Now we are working with real numbers!

Our checking account always looks sad and will typically be less than $100 because this account is a holding place for our spending money that’s how much we usually have allotted for any given week.

Our regular savings account is equally sad when you guys see the balance because we have just paid every bill in one big chunk after saving up for the entire month.

Our Christmas savings is now in our regular savings account waiting for presents to be bought. We are thinking about upping our contributions to these “club” accounts (Christmas and Vacation) from $5 a week to $20 a week, but that’s still in the talks. These automatic contributions come from our spending money.

Liabilities

Our mortgage went down just a little bit thanks to interest. There is an exciting update here as well! Our mortgage payment is actually going down $30 because of an escrow recalculation, but we are still going to keep sending what we have always sent. Doing this will shave 5 years off the mortgage and save up $12,000 in interest over time!

You may notice the HHR loan says $0.00! That’s right! We paid it off with a 0% balance transfer to my Capital One account for 12 months. Speaking of Capital One, I failed to include this account on my very first Statement of Net Worth because I figured if I pay it off every month it’s not a “real” liability. Well, now it’s going to be carrying the balance of the HHR and I have a goal of transferring the personal loan to it around April 2017 if I can score another credit limit increase (my score is 3 for 3 currently. I’d say odds are in our favor). So, now I send $275 ($3,259/12 months rounded up to the nearest $25) to pay that off within 12 months. Yay!

The CP Visa should really be a lot better. We send this debt $100/wk and seem to use it up as soon as we pay it. Hopefully next month is better, but I’m not sure with the holidays coming up…

Rent-a-Center has been paid off. Another 0% interest success story. The chest freezer is all mine!

Navient. Ugh. This is the main reason why doing these reports are so good for me. I get to actually see how much this debt grows when I don’t have to pay anything on it at all. My payments have recently been increased from $0 to $100 starting this month actually, so it will still grow if I don’t give it more money, but at least not by as much as it has been. I really dreaded logging in to Navient and getting the new balance but I’m really glad that I did. It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be. Someday I will go Gazelle Intense on this loan!

Great Lakes is my husband’s student loan and this one only grew because I estimated his balance last month and I have the true balance now.

Vermuelen’s and Home Depot are coming down as expected, but I plan to use Home Depot again in the near future for either interior door replacement (our bedroom doors are very old solid monstrosities and the door handles keep coming apart; my mother in law was stuck in the restroom for a while when she came to visit over the summer), or replacing the bathroom vanity which only has a floating sink at the moment (my son could use a supported sink because he cannot stand, and the added storage space would be great). I expect the charge to be less than $500 no matter which option we go with.We are still in talks of which of these 2 options will add the most value to our lives. Do you have an opinion?

The Capital One has of course increased $3,188 because it has absorbed the liability of the HHR.

And there we have our new Net Worth Negative amount of: $(66,969)!

Some exciting changes coming up in November:

  • I will be receiving my first pay checks for my side hustle at The Jackson School of the Arts
  • I just sent off $400 from our escrow adjustment to pay off the 401(k) loan
  • My first payment (ever!) to Navient will post this month
  • Our first increased mortgage payment will be sent 11/30/2016

Fun Facts:

  • If our Net Worth continues to grow at the rate of $356 it will take us just under 16 years to become Net Worth Positive!
  • Our Net Worth grew 0.5% this month

I really enjoyed this chat and I hope you will join me next month for our December Statement of Net Worth and join me every Saturday for tips on how I save money!

Talk again soon!

XOXO,

Dolores

Away From Keyboard

afkHello, world. I wasn’t able to meet my deadline of posting every Saturday even though I have written a couple of posts ahead of time. They have not been completely polished yet so I want to continue to work on them before I post them for you to read. Instead, I thought today that I would post some updates on what is going on with me and free write instead.

The main reason I wasn’t able to post is because I actually picked up a side job! A year or 2 ago, I took ballet at the Jackson School of the Arts just for something fun to do. Since I graduated college I have been feeling really idle and feeling idle makes me depressed. I also wanted to get a good workout, and I know in order to feel motivated to work out, you have to do something that you’re interested in. For me, I also need a classroom setting because I know that I am expected on a certain day and a certain time, not just whenever I feel like it (I never feel like working out!!) and also having peers around me makes me work harder because I don’t want to be seen as weak. If I’m trying to do 100 crunches at home, I’m going to stop after 25 or so because at that point it’s become uncomfortable and no one is there to see me fail.

Anyway, I stopped going to ballet after a while because I completely stunk at it. I love dance so much that for some reason I thought I would have an automatic aptitude for it. I didn’t. I also joined in the middle of the year, and these students were planning a recital! No, thank you!!

Lately I have been wanting to “get back to the barre” as they say, but I didn’t want to pay the $35 a month because I’m trying to grow my net worth here! I heard on a podcast, I wish I could remember which one now, that if you want to go to take a class or join a gym, to offer to volunteer your time in exchange for free classes or gym time. I decided to send a message out and see what would happen.

Lo and behold, 3 weeks later I get a response and now I have a PAYING position that fits perfectly with my schedule. I should be able to put an additional $200-400 toward debt because of this blessing. But, because of it you may not see my posts STRICTLY on Saturdays.

Next weekend will be a Net Worth Update! I’m really looking forward to it, especially since I know now some more concrete numbers. Last month some of the assets I reported were only very rough guesses, so this month’s gain will probably be skewed but I’m excited to see what a more accurate net worth looks like; and then we can look at accurate growth together!

Talk again soon!