Friday, October 31, 2008

Refinance Complete & Credit Cards Paid…

The refinance is complete and the new loan funded. I took the refinance check over to the bank on Tuesday and paid on my CC right away. I got paid yesterday so I scheduled the last of the payoff on my CC for today. The refinance was $1,100 short of completely paying off the CC but since I don’t have a mortgage payment for the month of November, I was able to use my regular mortgage funds to pay off the remaining balance. DONE! I am so excited. I don’t have a lot of reserves but I have enough money to make it through the rest of the month. I have a pretty strict budget going forward so I am going to have to be disciplined from here on out.

My family decided on a grab bag for Christmas so I don’t have to worry about Holiday spending this year. With my sister’s first child due in March 2009, we are all aware of our spending and we would rather buy stuff for the Baby once the time comes.

As for my little car accident, I decided to put in a claim on my insurance to get my car fixed and my garage repaired. The damage to my car was a little more than I thought and since I plan to drive it for many more years, I decided I better take care of it as much as possible. The total end cost will be the $250 deductible. In the meantime, I have to put up the funds and get my garage fixed for $400. My insurance company will reimburse me so long as I keep all of my receipts. I am going to take pictures of all the damage this weekend. I am still embarrassed that I even backed my car into my garage. I mean, WHO DOES THAT???

The only last expense looming is a $260 medical bill which I also have the money to pay. I will probably wait to pay it with my December paycheck since I only get paid once at the end of the month and I haven’t received the bill yet. I am sure the payment terms are Net 30. So I will send a check to pay it off at the end of the month when I get paid.

So, there you have it. I am finally CC free. Now, time to find a better paying job and stick to my budget. Coming soon…

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Refinance Complete...

The new loan will fund on Friday and my credit card will be paid off by the end of the month. I had another small accident on Saturday where I accidentally backed into my garage door. That is going to cost me $400 to repair and I still have a $270 medical bill to pay. At the end of this month, I will have sufficient cash flow to 1) pay off my $24,583 credit card balance, 2) pay for the garage repairs and 3) pay the medical bill.

What is helping me is that I do not have to pay a mortgage for November. Once the refinance is over, I will also be able to establish a $1,000 Emergency Fund.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Getting Some Relief…

I am in the process of refinancing my condo for 30-years at 5.875%. I started the process almost a month ago and I have been wavering every since but once my mortgage escrow increased $100 anyway due to higher property taxes, I decided it was the best move.

With the escrow adjustment, my mortgage payment went from $875 to $975. My mortgage will just increase slightly more to $1,045 with the refinance. I am closing the loan on Monday. My condo appraised at $165,000 and I am doing a 75% LTV refinance at $123,750 which will pay off my current $96k mortgage and provide me with roughly $24k to pay off my credit card balance in full by month end. I don't have any plans of relocating or selling my place anytime in the near future.

My student loans begin repayment in January, April and June 2009. It will be the first time in almost 12 years that I don't have credit card debt and God willing, it will be the last time. With the refinance, I will still have roughly $40k in equity in my home and a few months to save an emergency fund before my student loan payments begin.

While some may ask, what are you doing? A portion of my student loan and credit card debt went to pay off a $25k HELOC which at the time had a variable rate of over 10%. The HELOC was the result of an 80/20 home purchase that required no money down in 2003. The truth. I purchased a home that I couldn’t afford at the time and I did not have sufficient reserves. The HELOC was at a low 4% variable rate but once the Fed started increasing rates, the payment on the HELOC became too high. So, I refinanced the balance onto student loans that weren't in repayment and my credit card at a lower fixed 3.99% rate.

I am in a little better spot than most people today in that my property value increased from $129k to $165k, I have a decent paying $67k job and I have excellent credit.

With the refinance, I will be able to start paying on my student loans that are currently capitalizing at least $900 in unpaid interest per month onto my student loan balance. I have a complicated situation but all hope is not lost. It is going to require a lot of discipline and I will also have some reserves soon.

Please keep me in your thoughts. Thanks a lot!

Tight Job Market…

Two Chicago law firms to lay off attorneys and staff. This is going to make it even harder for entry-level attorneys like myself to find positions. There is an oversupply of experienced yet unemployed attorneys here in Chicago.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What Happened...

Credit Cards:

I had some unexpected expenses and start-up costs for my own firm. In order to get the legal experience that I need to break into a law firm environment, I started to do some research and writing for attorneys who own their own firm. They suggested that I start my own firm so that I can seperate my regular income from my law firm income and write off expenses. So several thousand went towards getting a laptop and starting a small firm of my own. Additional expenses that I have incurred on a monthly basis are also for my business so that I can have online access to legal resources and professional liability insurance. I haven't generated enought income to pay back those start up fees. I am still actively looking for a better paying permanant position but as everyone knows, the market is tough. I am paying between $500-$600/month on my credit card which is fixed at 2.99% and 3.99% for the life of the balance. I have only one credit card with a balance.

Student Loans:

My loans are still in forbearance. I just consolidated the totals in the chart. Before I had $10,000 there but that was just my goal payoff for the year. Starting in January, I will beging some type of repayment on my student loans but I am not sure how much. Things are really tight.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


See the charts to the right. Need I say more.