Not Quite Working As Expected

The past few months have been a bust financially for a few reasons:

  1. I decided to sign up for my next grad school class.  I am regretting the class not only financially but also for the time commitment.  I should have waited until later in the year when I had more debt paid down and more free time.  Now I am stressed out. My company will reimburse 80% of the course as long as I get a B. I will easily get the B, I just have added pressure on me to put as much time as I can into the course to get my return on investment. Even the 20% that I pay on the course is hefty!  I have decided to postpone the second course I planned to take this year until late Fall.  (Cost $1000+)
  2. We put our dog through obedience training.  Our lovable, big dog was getting hard for me to control and had started to nip at me.  We were recommended an obedience school by a coworker and we decided to put him through training last month. His behavior has improved 100%. We are able to take him through all of the basic commands.  Occasionally, he reverts back to his old ways but then we correct him.  Overall, I think it was money very well spent.  If we had the time to train him that would be the preferred approach but due to our travel in the past month and my course, it was easier although expensive to work with a professional. (Cost $1000+)
  3. I can’t stop traveling.  I mentioned in a previous post that my New Years Resolution the past few years has been to not travel.  Well, it turns out that is impossible for me.  We had two weddings in the past month that required flights, hotel, and food costs.  The second wedding involved the added costs of shoes, hair, and accessories which were purchases I had sworn to avoid.  The crazy thing is that I use points and miles for almost all of our flights yet associated travel costs take up such a significant portion of our budget. Beyond the weddings, we also booked a trip to South America in the Fall to attend a conference on wealth and happiness.  It’s totally up our alley and we planned on hitting our debt payoff goals and using this trip as a celebration.  If we don’t hit our goals, I’ll be embarrassed to be around the other participants who I perceive to be so much further along than we are now.  It’s motivation! (Cost $1000+)


My Debt Snapshot:

Type Balance Rate
Student Loan $1,177 4.25%
Auto $24,638 1.90%
Store Card $2,974 0.00%
Total $28,789.00


The above totals do not include my grad school tuition, the trip to South America, and the associated wedding expenses which I still have on my credit cards.  It stinks because we will have to work on eliminating that new debt before we hit any of the debt we had outlined in our goals for the year. I can’t complain though because we did this to ourselves. I stand behind our spending decisions, it’s just unfortunate that we put ourselves in a situation that will jeopardize our long term goals.

My plan is to payoff the credit card debt first, then attack the auto loan, then payoff the store card, then lastly payoff the student loan.  It seems weird to keep the student loan since its the smallest amount and the highest interest rate but I read somewhere that it can help your credit score to keep debt like that open.  The interest comes out to $4 a month. I’ll continue to research but for now, my plan is to attack my debt in that order.

I have not included Mr. Debt Albatross’s debt because he has not made much progress beyond the minimum payments in recent months.  We restructured our expenses (I am now paying more in utilities, food, and mortgage costs) to help him have extra money to pay towards his debt.  He is not spending very much money at all yet he doesn’t have any extra money to put towards his loans.  We’ll have to re-evaluate our spending and optimize our approach for the coming months.

Side Hustle Update

  1.  We Need More paying clients.  Mr Debt Albatross lost one of his paying personal fitness clients due to injury. We need to step up our marketing so he can get more clients. It seems easier for him right now to write programs for pay versus actual one-on-one coaching. We need to evaluate our options.
  2. We have roommates for now.  We secured two roommates in the past few weeks.  One was for two weeks, one was supposed to be for the entire summer.  The second roommate was offered a family friend’s home to stay for free for the summer which screws that plan up.  We do bring in a bit of income and its been entertaining to have people to talk with in the past week.  Truthfully, I’m relieved. We have a bunch of family and friends visiting this summer and it’s tough to share a house for a long time. We already were notified by our HOA because one of the roommates parked his car literally in the street versus pulling to the side of the road.
  3. We want a rental property.  Still looking for that ideal rental property.  Not finding the $20,000 gems that Paula Pant from Afford Anything seems to find in Atlanta.  We’re interested in a second vacation home rental property but can also see how that could be a bad idea. We’re also interested in multi-family properties as well.  Although we love our current home, I feel like we locked up too much equity in this house.  We should have went for a less expensive property and secured additional loans for rental properties.

A Tale of 8 Student Loans

I did the math this morning and it’s depressing.  Mr Debt Albatross and I have been paying our student loans for years and have made very little progress on the principal balance.  I feel like we’re trapped in a 5th grade math problem.  A frog falls into a well with a ladder.  He can climb two rungs every day but then must drop back one rung.  How long will it take him to get out of the well?


Mr Debt Albatross graduated in May of 2008.  Six-and-a-half years later, he has only paid $2,128 towards the principal balance.


Loan Rate Original Current Paid
1 4.17% $30,593 $32,610 -$2,017
2 6.55% $3,500 $1,784 $1,716
3 6.55% $5,500 $3,071 $2,429
$39,593 $37,465 $2,128


I graduated in May of 2011.  Three-and-a-half years later, I have paid $5,803 towards the principal balance.


Loan Rate Original Current Paid
1 6.80% $5,491 $4,415 $1,076
2 6.80% $6,500 $5,391 $1,109
3 6.80% $7,500 $6,437 $1,063
4 4.50% $2,009 $1,454 $555
5 4.50% $2,000 $0 $2,000
$23,500 $17,697 $5,803


Depressing.  We’ve never missed a payment and we’ve gotten nowhere.


The Game Plan:

1.  My loans automatically went into deferment when I started grad school last year.  I logged in to my accounts one day and noticed that my status had changed automatically.  I never notified my loan servicer that I was back in school,  it just happened.  I’m guessing that the school sends out the notification.  At the time, I was relieved to be rid of the monthly payment but I realize now it’s a bad thing.  Due to the deferment, I am losing out on the .25% interest rate deduction, making no progress on the balance, and racking up major interest. (3 out of my 4 remaining loans are unsubsidized. My one subsidized loan went to 0 interest during deferment but its also my smallest loan so its not worth staying in this status). Mr Debt Albatross’s loans went into deferment during grad school which is one of the reasons why he has made little progress on his loans.  Deferment makes no sense for me right now.  Time to change my status back.

2.  Pay off the minimums until our high interest credit card debt is gone.  As much as the loan interest is a bummer, it’s nothing compared to the APRs on our credit cards.  We need to get rid of that credit card debt first.

3.  Attack the loans with everything we have.  My car loan and our 0% interest store credit cards take a backseat.  Bye bye, loans!