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Refinancing

January 20th, 2020 at 04:09 pm

I finally pulled the trigger on refinancing my government student loans. My application was approved and the scheduled date for everything to go through is in late January. My current servicer, Great Lakes, takes forever to process payments, so I don’t expect the process to be finished until early Feb. I have one final payment to Great Lakes in process right now for $1,944 (usual monthly amount), then in February I will start paying the new company. This will lower my interest rate from 6.55% to 3.2% fixed, which will obviously be a big help. The new loan is on a 5 year repayment term. There are no penalties for making extra payments to the new servicer, so I plan to continue to pay it down aggressively. I should really have done this sooner, but I was hesitant to lose the option of going to IBR if something happened like a job loss, etc when my total balance was more like $250,000.

I got soft quotes from several of the major companies before ultimately choosing CommonBond. The fixed interest rate quotes I received were all the same, but CommonBond’s customer support really impressed me, they had the best “what if you run into unexpected life emergencies” policies, and they had the best referral bonus, which is sent out 3 weeks after your loan is disbursed and you make your first payment to them. That said, friends have used Laurel Road and Sofi and also been happy with them. Amazing how customer service improves when you are the actual customer, rather than the Dept of Education being the customer and you being the annoyance they have to deal with to keep that sweet government contract money...

Loan snapshot

January 11th, 2020 at 07:19 am

Loan snapshot:
Private loan: $19,612.46 principal and $454.07 interest – PAID OFF
Grad plus loan: $9,546 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #1: $8,500 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #2: $8,500 principal- PAID OFF
Stafford loan #3: $8,500 principal and $1,399.20 interest: Balance: PAID OFF
Stafford loan #4: $43, 595.23 principal and $10,794.81 interest: -PAID OFF
Stafford loan #5: $23,547.17 principal and $37.91 interest: Balance $23,585.08
Stafford loan #6: $46,004.29 principal and $5,620.83 interest: Balance $51,625.12
Stafford loan #7: $50,244.56 principal and $6,139.08 interest: Balance $57,309.54
Total remaining balance: $131,593.78 Remaining principal $119,796.02 Interest: $11,797.76

Lunches, rambling

January 4th, 2020 at 03:54 pm

Happy New Year!

Still here, same goal for 2020- pay down the student loans! Will post updated totals when the current pending payment finishes processing.

Recently realized that my 401K match vests 100% at 3 years, which is a bummer. I’ve been there 1.5 years so far and don’t currently have any plans to leave, but life is unpredictable.

Today I made a batch of lunches for the freezer using things I already had on hand. I used this recipe (https://www.budgetbytes.com/cheesy-vegetarian-chili-mac/) but swapped out some types of beans and fusilli for the elbow macaroni. Didn’t have tomato sauce but had a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, so I added that and tossed in a teaspoon of taco seasoning and two packets of leftover taco bell sauce that were lurking in a drawer. It used up the last bit of a bag of shredded cheddar that has been lingering in the freezer.

Loan snapshot

December 2nd, 2019 at 05:08 am

It's been a little while since I posted a student loan update. Still here working on them.

Loan snapshot:
Private loan: $19,612.46 principal and $454.07 interest – PAID OFF
Grad plus loan: $9,546 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #1: $8,500 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #2: $8,500 principal- PAID OFF
Stafford loan #3: $8,500 principal and $1,399.20 interest: Balance: PAID OFF
Stafford loan #4: $43, 595.23 principal and $10,794.81 interest: -PAID OFF
Stafford loan #5: $32,231.64 principal and $75.19 interest: Balance $32,306.83
Stafford loan #6: $44,013.66 principal and $8,459.32 interest: Balance $52,472.98
Stafford loan #7: $48,070.76 principal and $9,238.78 interest: Balance $57,309.54
Total remaining balance: $142,089.35 Remaining principal $124,316.06 Interest: $17,773.29

FIREy Femmes

October 28th, 2019 at 09:17 pm

Thought I'd share a financial website I've been enjoying lately: https://fireyfemmesxmoneydiaries.wordpress.com/

FIREyFemmes is a Money Diaries style website that is specifically geared toward women interested in the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) movement.

I love money diaries in general (who isn't secretly interested in how other people manage their money?), and I do enjoy the Money Diaries on the Refinery 29 website, but they often seem to leave out the "big picture" element. Diarists on this site specifically address their goals, savings rates, and how they got to where they are (inheritence? Large bonuses? Bought a house at the bottom of the market? Lost half your networth in a divorce? Etc).

I am definitely FIRE-inclined, and paying off my tremendous mountain of student debt is the first step. I actually love what I do now, but it's also super stressful. While I don't necessarily plan to retire early, I never want to feel like I'm trapped in my field by a need for the salary if it stops being enjoyable. You only live once. Becoming debt free and having a large nest egg gives you the option to step away and redesign your life. Nobody knows what the future holds!

Debt Progress Update

October 6th, 2019 at 02:30 pm

Several interval progress posts were lost, so this will seem like a big jump, but I wanted to post an update. Over those months I’ve thrown overtime and a bonus at my loans in addition to my usual budgeted payments. For some of the paid off federal loans only principle is listed because it's hard to tell the total interest paid from the website.

Loan snapshot:
Private loan: $19,612.46 principal and $454.07 interest – PAID OFF
Grad plus loan: $9,546 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #1: $8,500 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #2: $8,500 principal- PAID OFF
Stafford loan #3: $8,500 principal and $1,399.20 interest: Balance: PAID OFF
Stafford loan #4: $43, 595.23 principal and $10,794.81 interest: -PAID OFF
Stafford loan #5: $43,952.80 principal and $8929.01 interest: Balance $52,881.81
Stafford loan #6: $44,013.66 principal and $8941.62 interest: Balance $52,955.28
Stafford loan #7: $48,070.76 principal and $9,765.45 interest: Balance $57,836.21
Total remaining balance: $163,673.30 Remaining principal $136,037.22 Interest: $27,636.08

Loan snapshot

March 21st, 2019 at 09:32 pm

Student loan updates:

It seemed like a good time to post a snapshot of my loan progress . For the paid off federal loans only principal is listed because it’s hard to tell the total interest paid on the website. As you can see, I owe Uncle Sam approximately a gazillion dollars.

Private loan: $19,612.46 principal and $454.07 interest – PAID OFF
Grad plus loan: $9,546 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #1: $8,500 principal – PAID OFF
Stafford loan #2: $8,500 principal- PAID OFF
Stafford loan #3: $8,500 principal and $1,399.20 interest: Balance: $9,899.20
Stafford loan #4: $43, 595.23 principal and $10,794.81 interest: Balance $54,390.04
Stafford loan #5: $43,952.80 principal and $10,882.72 interest: Balance $54,835.52
Stafford loan #6: $44,013.66 principal and $10,898.01 interest: Balance $54,911.67
Stafford loan #7: $48,070.76 principal and $11,902.37 interest: Balance $59,973.13

Extra payment, taxes

March 4th, 2019 at 02:40 am

Just a quick update- sent $800 to the student loan from a payment for some side work. I did a $100 side job as well, but it usually takes at least a couple months for the check to come. Dropped off my taxes and will hopefully hear back soon. I think I overpaid this year, but there were a lot of unusual circumstances, so having a professional look at it.

February spending

February 25th, 2019 at 06:02 am

This has been a pretty spendy month so far, with variable spending at $778.25. This doesn’t include regular bills, charitable donations, extra debt repayment, or work-related expenses, some of which will eventually be reimbursed, but it does include discretionary budget categories like groceries.

Unusual extra spending: $75 for a nice used desk chair to replace an old one that broke. $30 for a filing cabinet for my home office area. $70 for a nice Valentine’s dinner and drinks, with tip. This is more than a typical date for us, but every once in a while it’s fun to dress up and splurge on trying something new. (We roughly take turns paying for things.) $65 for some new bras and a dress to replace worn-out items.

Grocery spending was around $200, which isn’t too bad, although it could probably be lower for one vegetarian who doesn’t buy imitation meat and cooks at home a lot. Buying coffee and cafeteria snacks remains an area for improvement, even though I do keep some snacks at my desk and avoid pricey Starbucks coffee. Even the cheap stuff adds up!

Other spending included things like gas, forever stamps, mailing packages with Valentine’s candy for friends, liquor for a social gathering, a copay for dental work, and Hulu and Washington Post online subscriptions (don’t count these in the regular bills category because they’re definitely discretionary entertainment expenses) .

Private Loan Payoff, Repayment Strategery

December 10th, 2018 at 08:08 pm

Still here, still bad at posting regularly! Life is busy but good. Financial updates:

Been putting a big chunk of each paycheck toward my only private loan, and I mailed a check for the final payoff balance on Saturday! It usually takes at least a week for payments to show up. Looking forward to getting down to one loan servicer to deal with! Very grateful for the private loan though- they offered much lower interest during the years while I was still in school.


Payment for a side project came through, $685 after taxes. I sent this to my federal loans as an extra payment, but it’s also a test to see if my payoff strategy will work. With the federal loans I have a big balance and a lot of interest accumulated in one “account,” but it’s actually made up of multiple smaller loans taken out at different times. Any extra payment is applied to interest first, so I’m really hoping if I designate it to go to a certain loan within the account (loan #1) that means that once the interest on only loan #1 is covered, it starts hitting principle. This will make a HUGE different in how long it will take and how much total interest I’ll pay.

My goal is to eventually refinance (6.55% is insane), but I’m reluctant to lose the federal protections and IBR option until I’ve been at my job for at least year and find out for sure they plan to renew my contract. If I have to pay ALL the accumulated interest on the federal loans before the principle starts to go down, may need to rethink that plan. So far based on some preliminary research it looks like rates as low as 4% would be possible.

Net worth, private loan, blog related rambling

November 5th, 2018 at 02:17 pm

It’s been a while- life is good but busy! I Financially I’ve been chugging along and trying to minimize spending to focus on loan payback.

The website for my private loan doesn’t give you the actual total, just the remaining principle balance. You have to call or write for the actual balance. Regardless, once the principle is gone it will stop generating interest and I’ll probably just let my autopayments finish it off, so I guess it doesn’t matter. My current principle balance is $13,297.

I know a lot of the bloggers here like to track their net worth, but I’ve never bothered to calculate mine because it was so far in the negative and at points in training I wasn’t even able to keep up with the interest. Now that I have a job that will let me make actual progress, I decided to bite the bullet and see. Not pretty- 181,459 in the red. I don’t plan to track this closely, but do like that it also captures contributions to retirement. The net worth number only includes the principle balance of the private loan. On a happy note, I did finally hit my silly personal goal of having at least $1000 per year of my age in retirement savings.

Even when I’m not posting much I always follow the blogs here (been reading this site for years before I finally made my own account). I agree with CB in the City that is seems like a lot of regular bloggers have drifted away- hope everybody is okay! (Definitely not complaining- I’m obviously terrible about blogging when life stuff comes up.) Still wonder about Ima Saver sometimes. I remember when I first found this website, Ima Saver, Boommeyer, whitestripe, and Ceejay were the blogs I really followed, and now Ceejay is the only one still active. Life gets busy, interests change, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some regular bloggers eventually stop for privacy reasons when people in real life find their posts, but it does make you wonder if something else happened to them.

Extra loan payment

September 14th, 2018 at 02:52 pm

I’ll have to write a longer post later, but the student loan pay-down goal continues. I’ve gotten a few extra checks recently to throw at it:

Side project payment: $250
Comcast refund: $20
Rental deposit refund from old apartment: $935
Total: $1205