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Archive for August, 2007

Bring on the debt!

August 22nd, 2007 at 01:33 am

Argh, school loans are so hard. Actually the loans itself isn't difficult, it's just that my personal situation that is making it so complicated.

I currently have accepted all the loans they will give me. (For the year: $8,500 subsidized, $16,700 unsub.) As of this moment DH and I have a "profit" of roughly 1,000 a month, which we have been using to pay off our cars and put towards our Roths. If life were simple this would mean that we would only need to take out $12,000 worth of loans each year to cover tuition.

However, life isn't that simple for us. Starting in November DH will be moving. So we will suddenly have two sets of rent and utilities to pay for. I will be downsizing to a smaller apartment to save money, but our finances will still change. Exactly how much, we don't know. And from prior experience it will be a couple of months after the move before things settle down and we can get an accurate picture of our spending habits.

To give you some more background the student loan will be at 6.8%, my car loan is at 5.99% and DH's car loan is at 3.59%. We currently have a decent amount of money in cash (earning 5.0%) between our EF and down payment funds. In theory we could pay for a year of school flat out--but then we'd be broke.

With so much up in the air this is what I'm thinking:
*Take all of the student loans they'll give me for Fall term.
*Pay off the interest each month.
*After paying tuition any extra money will be put in our savings account (5%).
*Try to have us only live off of DH's paycheck and not touch the loan money.
*Adjust and see if less money can be taken out for Spring term.

From there things get a little more murky.
*Should we continue to put our monthly "profit" towards our cars and retirement?
*Should that money instead be diverted towards the student loan?
*Should I even hold onto that extra loan money or should we use our EF/Down payment money to cover any potential gap?

Any insight or opinions would be greatly appreciated. I'm a little surprised I'm having a hard time with this. I think it's because the completely fiscally responsible thing (avoid all debt like the plague and pay it off ASAP) is in conflict with the plans we had (pay off the cars early, save for retirement, and take out loans for school expenses).

Good News, Bad News

August 18th, 2007 at 01:51 pm

Ok, I'll start with the good news. I had orientation for pharmacy school yesterday. It was nice to meet some more of the people in my class and get to know the campus a little better. On Tuesday I have to go to Gainesville where all of the pharmacy students are meeting and we'll learn even more about the program. It was a long and stressful road to get here, but now that it's finally starting I'm excited and looking forward to it. The lectures are all taped in Gainesville and then put online for the satellite campuses. While I still have class requirements on my campus, a great deal of my time is flexible.

Now for the bad news, while we were on our lunch break DH called with his new orders. We were hoping to have him stay in Florida (so we could live together), but it turns out he'll be moving to Maine this November. The worst part of that is that we'll have to live apart for about 18 months, six of which he'll be deployed. The silver lining is that he'll only have to be in Maine for 18 months and not the entire 36 months of his tour since the squadron will be moving to Florida after deployment.

As far as our relationship goes, we're getting pretty good about living apart from one another...this will be our third time. It's never easy, but at least this time we'll be on the same coast and not across the country or across the world for most of it. Also, I'm planning on moving up to Maine during the summer so that's 3 more months we'll get to spend together. Since my classes are flexible, there will be some times where I won't have to be on campus for about a week...guess where I'll be!!

Financially, this makes things very difficult. First of all it means that by the end of the year we will have to be supporting two households! Two rents, two electricity bills, two food bills, two of everything! We were "making" (after expenses) about 1000 a month that was being used to pay off our cars and save. However a second rent will quickly eat through that. So I think it means that we won't be saving as much as we have been and I'll have to take out more student loans that I was expecting. Not fun.

We'll get through it, we have quite a bit in savings and with the deployment, we'll probably only have a year of dual households. In the meantime, we either need to find DH a roommate with a fully stocked kitchen and a TV, or we need to go shopping for a TV, microwave and dishes! Smile

Closed my accounts

August 15th, 2007 at 05:01 pm

Since we got married and have joint accounts I've had my old US Bank accounts that have just been sitting there empty. I knew that in August the monthly fee would be charged to my credit card so I wanted to close it before that charge was posted. Well I procrastinated and checked it last week and the fee was sitting there. So I called them up and asked to close the account. They didn't do anything drastic, just said, "We'll reverse the fee and close the account for you."

So then I called the main bank to close my checking and savings accounts. Again, no problems there. I told them that we live in a part of the country where there aren't any branches and they said OK and shut the accounts.

I thought for sure I'd have to jump through a bunch of hoops and talk to several different people to get the accounts closed. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

Now some people may cringe that we have joint accounts and I shut my personal account. First both DH and I are responsible with our money. Second, DH is in the Navy. Therefore there will be months on end where he will be away and won't be able to deal with our finances. So from the beginning I have been the one to manage our household financially. Having a joint account is the best and easiest way for us to do this. Besides, I like dealing with money better than he does. When he's out of the Navy and we both are working we may set up another system, but right now this is working really well for us.

Getting antsy

August 14th, 2007 at 02:38 pm

I'm stressed. There are so many things up in the air and I'm getting my monthly desire to do something drastic with our finances. Orientation for pharmacy school is on Friday...and next Tuesday. We won't find out this week if we will even be stationed here or have to move. I'm hoping and praying that will we stay in Florida, and I'm working with that assumption, but it's possible that I'll have to withdraw from pharmacy school and move to Washington or Hawaii.

Assuming we stay here I'll be taking out $16,000 in loans this year. Since we don't know how much money I will actually need for school and how much DH's salary can cover, I'm taking all they'll give me. I'm assuming that subsequent years I'll be able to take out less. I haven't gotten word about scholarships yet, and I'm hoping I get some, but I don't want to count on those either. Looking over the loan stuff I've pretty much decided that I'm going to pay the interest on the unsubsidized loans while I'm still in school. We should be able to handle it, and it will decrease the amount I'll have to pay back.

We have been saving for a down payment on a house and for retirement and our EF is fully funded. So I feel like we have a lot of cash available to us right now. Since things are so up in the air, I like knowing that. However, about once a month I get the urge to drain our down payment account and use it to pay off the cars. It would completely pay off my car (5.99%) and pay of about half of DH's car (3.59%). I calculated that if I paid off my car it would save about $300 in interest payments. $300 isn't anything to shake a stick at, but I'm not sure it is enough to motivate me to do something that drastic either. Especially since at the end of the year that 7-10,000 could be used to pay off student loans, put towards retirement, or keep for its intended purpose of a down payment.

We have a plan to pay off the cars, and our goal is to have them paid off by December 2008. Until we know more about school and possibly a house (although that is pretty unlikely) I think I'll just continue the way things have been going.

Weekend savings

August 13th, 2007 at 03:19 pm

Well yesterday I did my normal CVS run. I saved $38.70. I am planning on giving some of the stuff away for Christmas stocking stuffers (toothpaste) and I'm making pamper gift baskets for my two teenage girl cousins. I'm just about done purchasing for all of that, so I maybe slowing down at CVS and Walgreen's for a while which honestly makes me sad!

At Walgreen's I bought some Bic pens that were on sale for only .39 and some nail polish (for the cousins' baskets) that was .99. Saving 10.20.

Yesterday I also went to the Thrift store across the street and bought a pair of black pants and 5 tops (3 casual, 2 more dressy) for 14.61! Besides the fact that 1 or 2 of the shirts alone may have cost more than that most everything I got was on sale so I saved $10.30 off of the marked price.

Other than that DH was gone all weekend so I mostly hung out around the house. Only spent the $20 mentioned here.

New additions: $ 59.20
Previous total: $870.56
Total, since 4/15: $ 929.76

Savings update

August 9th, 2007 at 04:09 pm

Since August 1st:

Savings from:
CVS: 13.50
Publix: 2.75
Base: 4.44
Publix: 15.00

Earnings from surveys: $28

New additions: $ 63.69
Previous total: $806.87
Total, since 4/15: $ 870.56

addition

August 1st, 2007 at 04:10 pm

Publix: saved 9.33
CVS: saved 17.99
Food Lion: saved 7.76
Rowe's saved: 5


New additions: $ 40.08
Previous total: $766.79
Total, since 4/15: $ 806.87