Thursday, October 29, 2009

Federal Student Loans...

I downloaded the federal forbearance form yesterday to find out that my lender only allows you to forbear for 3 years. Guess what??? I am already in year 3. So…I haven’t figured out my exact plan of action. About ½ will go into repayment in January 2009 and the remaining ½ will go into repayment in June 2009. Total monthly student loan payments will be approximately $1,300 per month.

$1,300 is a small fortune for a single woman making $72k per year with a monthly mortgage payment that is also approximately $1,300.

Whatever my budget will be…it will be tight. Very, very tight.

Returns & Debt Payments...

I returned $422 worth of new merchandise to stores last night. The amounts were credited to my credit cards reducing the overall balance.

I got paid today. I scheduled the following payments for November:

$233 reduced CC#1 by $200
$530 reduced CC#2 by $530 (no interest for 6 months)
$300 approx. in returns reduced CC#3 by $300
$158 to pay off CC#4
$641 reduced SL Debt by $250

Overall Debt Reduction (thus far) for November: $1,560 (including returns)

Monday, October 26, 2009


I called to cancel my efax service but instead accepted a permanently reduced rate to $12.95 from $19.95. I can still cancel if necessary.

I also called to cancel my World Vision Donation which really hurt my heart. I will sponsor another child as soon as possible.

November Plan...

I get paid once a month. Here is the plan for November. I get paid on Thursday.

Reduce CC #1 by $200.
Reduce CC #2 by $550.
Return approx. $300 in merchandise and pay the min on CC #3.
Return approx. $200 in merchandise and pay off CC #4.
Make $640 private student loan payment.
Submit application to defer federal loans for one year.
Temporarily cancel charitable contributions and efax service - $50/month.
Bring lunch at least 2 times per week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Time to Get Serious...

I am officially back and will be coming here more often to really give you the deal on my finances and my plan to get out of debt and save. I am really serious about getting this debt monkey off my back so stay tuned and see it happen.

Here is my current breakdown. I don’t need any criticism on the current state of affairs but feel free to criticize me on any of my future choices and to cheer on my successes. Thanks a lot. =)

*** Rounded Figures

Emergency Savings – $2,000
Credit Card #1 – $10,900 (Promotion APR of 3.99% fixed through 12/2010)
Credit Card $2 – $3,200 (Furniture Account – 6 months deferred to 3/2010)
Credit Card #3 – $1,900 (Revolving Account – Variable 7.99% rate)
Credit Card #4 – $300 (Revolving Account – Variable 17.99% rate)
Student Loan Debt – $232,000
Mortgage Debt – $122,300

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

First Student Loan Payment

I made my first student loan payment yesterday to the tune of $641.00. It’s definitely time to get focused and get out of debt. I have a solid plan so now it’s just time to execute.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stash the Cash…

I decided to save my year end bonus in my HSBC account (if I get one) and to keep 2 separate savings accounts going forward. My hope is to continue to stash away all of my bonuses over the next 5 years which should leave me with roughly $25k if all goes well.

My plan is to also forbear my federal student loans for one more year and divert any extra money towards paying off my credit card. If I get the anticipated salary increase, the credit card will be repaid before the promotional APR expires and before all of my federal loans enter repayment after the forbearance period.

In the meantime, I will continue to make my private student loan payments and save $300/month into my savings account. If I receive any kind of tax return, I will put that money into my operating checking account so that I can pay for things like birthday gifts and other irregular expenses throughout the year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What to do with my bonus…

I have committed to saving $300/month, paying $325/month towards my credit card debt and not incurring any more debt. My student loans enter repayment in September and I will begin paying the minimum on those which currently includes a mixture of interest only and principal and interest. My hope is to pay off the credit card debt and secure a salary increase in time to account for the increase in my student loan payments to principal and interest.

I am still trying to decide whether to take my annual bonus (if I get one) and put it into savings or whether I will try to tackle Student Loan #1 (see right column). Last year, my bonus (delivered at the end of January) after taxes was about $4k. I am thinking that it will be more like $5k this year since I got promoted to Vice President and my salary increased slightly by $5k. I am pretty certain (90%) that I will get a bump in my salary soon because my discussion with my boss have yielded an understanding and agreement that I am underpaid compared to my peers and for my level of experience and workload.

The problem that I have faced which has led to the increase in the credit card debt is not being prepared for unexpected expenses. When that happens, I am forced to use my credit card. If I have the reserves in saving, I won’t need to use my credit card and I can simply pay cash for those expenses. They have ranged from $1,000 for my car last month to the need for glasses which was $400 in June. All of which are now on my credit card.

I am leaning towards putting the bonus money in my HSBC savings account and leaving it there in case of an emergency and still committing to saving $300/month. If I pay interest only on my student loan debt and continue to save and reduce my credit card debt, I can see an improvement in my net worth next year.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Student Loan Update…

So I called my student loan provider because I submitted an application for interest only on my private loans and the payment seemed much higher than anticipated at $641.00. I applied for the Easy Pay 3 Plan where you pay interest only for 2 years, followed by 3 years of interest and ½ principal and then the remaining term is straight-line amortization principal and interest. My private loans have a 20-year or 240-month term.

I learned that only 3 of 8 private loans qualify under the plan because my payment has to be at least $50.00. So, I am forced into straight-line principal and interest payments on the remaining 5 private loans. The representative was really nice on the phone. Apparently, the student loan company is not budging on the private loans but they are willing to work with borrowers on their federal loans.

Right now, the representative said she is seeing no limit to the time borrowers get to forbear their federal loans. I am toying with the idea of requesting another year of forbearance for my private loans so that I can more aggressively pay off my private loans.

I may also get a salary increase because I am currently not receiving anything close to equal pay for equal work. My responsibilities at work have grown in size and complexity so I am hoping for a salary adjustment in the coming months. This would really help out a lot. My current salary is $72,000 and I am trying to get to $90,000 in the next few years where I will be more comfortable and able to support my entire student debt loan on a principal and interest payment. If I get a $12,000 - $15,000 bump, I won’t consider trying to jump ship to another financial institution. I really like my job, place of work and the people I work with. We’ll see.

For now, I automated payments to my credit card each month at $325.00. The $11,000 balance is fixed ½ at 2.99% and ½ at 3.99% until 5/2011 and 11/2010, respectively. I also automated savings of $300 per month. My current savings account balance is $2,000. My first $641.00 student loan payment is October 5th.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I have credit card debt again. My student loans are entering repayment. I make my first private student loan payment in October. =(

5-year goal:
  • No more debt.
  • Pay off credit card debt.
  • Pay off $60k in private student loan debt (1/2 of my private loans).
  • Pay interest only on federal loan debt.
  • Save $20,000 emergency fund.
  • Save $300/month towards long term savings.


  • $72,000 base salary.
  • $110,000 in federal student loans.
  • $120,000 in private student loans.
  • $11,000 in credit card debt.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Chitown Update…

Hi everyone! I am still alive! LOL

I am credit card free and working on a plan to attack my student loans and $1,500 in medical debt. The medical debt is from a surgical procedure I needed to have in December and right now I need to pay my $1,500 out of pocket maximum. My private loans enter repayment in April and I have the wherewithal to at least pay interest only on all my loans. I am hoping to get one more 6-month extension through October because right now, I have little to no savings and I would like to have the opportunity to save at least $2,000 in an Emergency Fund and payoff the medical bill. I still haven’t filed my taxes so I may be able to payoff some of the medical debt with my return.

Good news…I received a promotion and raise at work and my salary got bumped up to $72k. So while I am still behind the buck in terms of salary, I increased my income almost $20k in less than a year. I have to be pretty proud of that.

I am doing a little legal work on the side for an attorney who has a fairly successful private practice. So, I am finally getting some rewarding legal experience. She is also going to pay me on the cases that I work on and that she wins. Per her request, I am keeping track of all of my time and submitting it on a weekly basis. I haven’t received any pay yet but I hope to earn some money this way in the future. I also volunteered to do some pro bono legal work so I am well on my way.

Thanks to all who continue to stop by here. I appreciate all of the encouragement I have received of the last couple of years. =)