February 2014 Net Worth


I took a big step backwards as my last student loan disbursement came through. From here on out, I have no where to go but up. I’m graduating in May and will be able to start throwing real money at these loans. I hate my student loan debt. I borrowed and borrowed and then one day it hit me I stupid I was.

February 2014 Breakdown

CASH – Up $1,000 because I received the other half of my scholarship. Already used part of this to pay down the PLUS loan.

ROTH – When I stopped my Roth contributions a few months ago, I only paused the automatic debit for 3 months. I meant to cancel it, but forgot.

OPERS – I wanted to transfer this to to an IRA during Christmas break but I’m a lazy bum.

CIVIC – Slight decrease as usual. Car still runs great and hope to drive this for many years.

PLUS – Solid progress given my current part-time income. My plan is to reduce this as much as possible before it enters repayment. Payments are based on the loan balance when repayment begins. Lower = better.

STAFFORD – These loans are partially subsidized. Some are at 3.4%. Others are at 6.8%. I realized the other day that I should put this on one of the income based repayment plans. Why? These plans keep the minimum payment low. That frees up my income to pay down the higher 7.9% PLUS loan.

CIVIC LOAN – Slowly killing this bad boy.

PERKINS - Interest free until I graduate, just chilling for now.

Progress is slow at the moment, but will speed up quickly when I graduate and start working full time! Really just need to increase my income and the debt will start to melt away.


January 2014 Net Worth


Damn, another year on the books. The older I get, the faster they fly by. 2013 was a good year but I’m hoping 2014 is even better. It’s finally time to graduate and start bringing home $$$.

Let’s take a look and see how I’m starting 2014 out by checking out my current net worth.

January 2014 Breakdown

CASH - Up a bit, but a large credit card payment hasn’t gone through yet. Plan to use a bit of this (and an incoming student loan refund) to pay down the PLUS loan once I take care of the Christmas damage.

ROTH IRA – Contributions still on pause as I focus on student loans, but the market continues to climb.

OPERS - Need to transfer this thing to a traditional IRA soon because I’m now being charged a $5 monthly service fee since my balance is < $5,000.

CIVIC - Value continues to decrease.

PLUS LOAN – Sucks – this is the first time since June that this loan has increased. Very Next Step is to make a ~$1,000 payment sometime in January/early February and go from there.

STAFFORD LOAN – More interest added, but much less than what the PLUS loan costs me.

CIVIC LOAN – Falling slowly. I’m tempted to sell it after graduating but can’t make up my mind.

PERKINS LOAN – DAMN IT! I almost forgot about this loan. I was just now able to login and see a statement. Overall, it’s a good deal because the interest rate is 2.9% less than the PLUS and I can use the refund to pay down the PLUS. But I hate that I’ve taken a $1,000 step backwards for now.


How Do Your Habits Match Up With the Wealthy?

I don’t usually read or listen to Dave Ramsey, but I came across an interview he did with Tom Corley I thought was interesting. Tom is the author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. They discussed 20 things rich people do (or don’t). I’ve quoted a few of the more interesting ones along with my thoughts below:

70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.

Makes sense that wealthy people eat better. Junk food requires little preparation and appears very cheap at the time of purchase.

76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.

This is interesting. Exercise takes time and that’s something poor people don’t have – they’re busy working low paying jobs. Or maybe lower paid physical jobs that leave them exhausted?

63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.

Income is highly correlated with education. I suspect many high income people also have long commutes so they try to get some real value out of that time.

81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.

More goal setting type behavior here.

63% of wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% for poor.

Growing up, I was not “wealthy”. But both of my parents valued education. I remember many trips to the library with mom and practicing my spelling with dad. I’m not sure if there’s a special point being made about the books being non-fiction?

70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.

I think a lot of wealthy parents want their children to realize that not everyone lives the way they do and that some things you do just out of kindness and not a paycheck.

80% of wealthy make hbd calls vs. 11% of poor

Wasn’t sure what this meant! Googled around and found it stands for “happy birthday” calls. Not sure what to make of this.

67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor

Goal setting is a pattern.

6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.

This one took me by surprise. I think of the wealthy as being more forward. “I know what I want and I’m going to get it” type people.

79% of wealthy network 5 hours or more each month vs. 16% for poor.

I’m positive wealthier people are in careers that reward networking highly. The poor would definitely benefit, but I think a lot of the poor are insulated from those more successful people who could open up doors.

67% of wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV. every day vs. 23% for poor

TV is easy, passive entertainment. It’s not helping anyone get rich except the guy who created the Sham-Wow!

6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for poor.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I watch Big Brother every summer.Trashy, but they suck you in. I also catch myself getting into the Amazing Race sometimes.

84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% for poor.

Definitely agree with this. You can create “luck” by designing your lifestyle in certain ways.

76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% for poor.

Agreed. Always late to work? That might be why you didn’t get a raise. Smoke? That’s why you  seem to get sick more than other people. Not luck!

Definitely some good ideas, but there’s a correlation vs. causality issue with many of these. For example, are audiobooks making people wealthy or do wealthy people happen to like audiobooks?!?

Which group do you fit into? Any of these really surprise you? 


November 2013 Networth


The last month has been great for my net worth. I received an unexpected scholarship one day that resulted in a $1,250 deposit to my checking account. Surprise cash feels great. I made a $1,000 payment and finally paid off all accrued interest. I got serious on this loan back in June  and it feels great to accomplish a goal. Now my payments will lower principal which further lowers my interest expense.

November 2013 Breakdown

CASH - Up again, due to the surprise scholarship and some income from outside my day job.

ROTH IRA - Haven’t contributed in 2 months, but the stock market has continued upward.

OPERS - Stock market overall is up.

CIVIC - Expected deprecation.

PLUS LOAN - Made a big payment in the beginning of October that knocked out all the accrued interest and killed a small amount of principal. Going forward, I’m aiming to pay ~400 per month on these loans. 

STAFFORD LOAN - Interest on these loan is negligible. Focusing efforts on the PLUS.

CIVIC LOAN - Continuing to make minimum payments. Would love to own my car free and clear but throwing money at the student loans is the better choice.

October was awesome. Increased my net worth by over $1,000 and killed interest. November is a 3 payday month so I’m solid on income. I’m also expecting higher paychecks in January because I can work more during winter break. That surprise scholarship is actually for $2,500 so I’ll receive the remaining $1,250 in 2 months. I’m also  expecting a tax refund of  ~$500 that I’ll pay towards the student loans.


October 2013 Net Worth


Progress is slow, but I’m doing what I can. Balancing school vs. work and paying down debt vs. saving up some cash is difficult. I think I change my mind almost everyday. I’m still getting used to my smaller paychecks. It’s easy to get hooked on full-time pay! Things will  be pretty tight until I finish school. I should be taking home at least $2,000 a month after graduation – 50% of that will go towards debt repayment and I’ll see the numbers really start to move.

October 2013 Breakdown

CASH – Up! The highest I usually let my checking account climb is ~$1,500. I keep $700 in savings in case anything comes up.

ROTH IRA – Stopped my contributions until January. Decided I need to do what the math says and that’s pay down debt. Will reevaluate in the spring. You can make a 2013 contribution until April 2014 so no need to rush.

OPERS – Stock market overall is up.

CIVIC – I’m not sure if it’s the miles or just time that’s driving the depreciation. I’ve already driven 13,000 miles in the 10 months I’ve own this car! I plan to land a job close to home in the spring to maximize the life of this car, but I may be looking at a 40 mile roundtrip commute.

PLUS LOAN – I’ve paid thousands in accrued interest since early summer, but I’m not attacking principal so the interest keeps crawling back up. I need to tweak my budget and spend less money in order to kill this.

STAFFORD LOAN - Both the rates and principal are low on this one, so I’m waiting until repayment begins.

CIVIC LOAN – I’ve started paying a small amount extra, just trying to stay close(r) to its value.

October is looking to be a busy month – lots of school assignments – so I shouldn’t have trouble reigning in spending. It’s easy to hang onto your paycheck when you don’t have time to think about buying crap.


Net Worth: September 2013


Since the last check in I’ve started school and that means…student loan disbursements. Bad for my net worth now, good for my future earning power. Assets should increase over the next few months and my planned debt repayment will reduce those annoying liabilities! Then in January, I’ll have  another small setback with my last undergrad loans are paid out.

September 2013 Breakdown

CASH – Up slightly as paychecks continue to roll in.

ROTH IRA – I’m still contributing $100 a month to this for now – still debating whether or not to stop and send it to the student loans. I like that I’m investing and giving myself a safety net (withdrawals are penalty free) at the same time, but I also don’t like paying interest.

OPERS – Should stay relatively stable for now as I’m no longer contributing and I don’t expect any wild stock market swings anytime soon.

CIVC - Love that this car can get 34 MPG without forcing me to drive like a grandpa. I am starting to wonder if I should worry about being upside down on the loan. I have no intent to sell anytime and making my payment isn’t a struggle at all. I also have gap insurance, but being upside down rubs me the wrong way. I know I’m going to be putting a crap ton of miles on this car over the next 18 months and that’s going to accelerate the depreciation on a still mostly new car (2010 model).

PLUS LOAN – Still going down. Made a $300 payment late in August and a $400 payment is in process as I type this. Bummed though that I won’t be able to continue making huge monthly payments as my income has dropped due to school.

STAFFORD LOAN - This will increase one more time, in January. Most of this debt is subsidized. It’s kind of disgusting when you realize that the accrued interest on these loans, over 4 years, equals 3 months of accrued interest on the PLUS loan. I know the PLUS principal is almost twice the Stafford but damn. This is a good reminder that high interest and non-subsidized loans will sink you every time!

CIVIC LOAN – Chugging along with a $236 monthly payment.

Goal for next month: Increase my net worth by $500. Or is it decrease since I’m negative? You know what I mean.


Stop Parking, Start Living

This week, I started the last (I hope) fall semester of my undergrad career. Just like the start of every other term I’ve attended here, a seemingly non-stop stream of complaints concerning student parking has taken over campus. Stand within ear-shot of the nearest group of students and you’ll no doubt hear “It took me 20 minutes to find a parking spot!” Cue outrage from concerned friends & classmates. Move slightly to the right and another group of students will exclaim “I paid $100 for my yearly parking pass and I still had to walk 200 yards to get inside my building!!!”

Can you imagine? 20 somethings using their fully functional legs to transport themselves. Clearly society has taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Today, after a long relaxing lunch in the student union with an old friend, I headed towards my car to drop off some books. I arrive early to campus, so I had one of the best spots available. Within seconds, numerous drivers had zeroed in on my location and their driver senses started tingling. “A fresh, luxurious, parking space is about to open and it’s going to be mine!” they no doubt thought. Imagine their horror when I casually opened up my passenger(!) side door, placed a couple of textbooks on the seat, and then headed back to class!

OK, that didn’t quite happen. No one stalked me to my car, although that does occasionally happen and yes, it’s much creepier at night.

But I did people-watch for a bit and took notice of what appeared to be a healthy functional adult woman drive her shiny Kia Soul around and around the parking lot. Over and over. How many laps she did, I’m not sure. Finally, exhausted and hungry from her Nascar training routine, she admitted defeat and headed to the much larger and roomier Lot 4 – the main student parking lot.

Total distance between these two areas: a football field

You might think this girl was an anomaly, but there are many like her at my campus. It’s beyond nuts because A) You know before enrolling that this campus is in a suburban area, B) Has a large number of commuters, and C) The campus isn’t that large, as far as American universities go, so walking cannot be a hardship*. I suspect these people will provie me with endless entertainment this semester.

In my dumber days, I’m sure I criticized the parking situation. However, I also have the ability, like all humans, to wise up and change my perspective. I still commute to campus because living at home rent free and driving a much too nice (another lesson learned), though fuel efficient car, is cheaper than living near school.

Instead of bitching about having to walk a few extra feet, I simply park wherever there’s an open spot. Sometimes that spot is even on the opposite side of where I need to be! It’s less stressful, saves money, and forces us to walk a small amount more. Which is what most of need, but never have enough time to do – exercise!

After witnessing the previous tragic event, I walked over to a sunny spot on campus and sat on a comfortable bench to write this post. Here I am far away from noisy automobiles and I can sit and enjoy the great weather and appreciate my university’s fancy landscaping. Just think how much better that woman would feel about Life if she had spent 20 minutes enjoying campus instead of searching for a spot of asphalt she could call “her’s”. 


August 2013 Net Worth

july2013networthHaven’t done one of these in forever. We’re already 12 13 days into August, but I finally calculated my net worth for first time in over 2 years. A lot has changed. I’m in a shit ton more debt and don’t have nearly as much sitting in savings. I’m not a good PF blogger. But I’m also making more money than ever and I’m almost done with school. My income has no where else to go but up and I’ve started making large student loans payments.

Things will get worse – $8,000 of student loans this school year – before they get better. After that though, my net worth is going up every month. Spending 10-25 years making student loan payments not part of my plan. I want those suckers gone ASAP.

July 2013 Breakdown: 

CASH – Includes my checking and savings accounts. I’ve settled on $500 in savings as my emergency fund for now and I pretend $500 in checking is actually $0.

ROTH IRA – Recently started contributing to this again. Last summer, I actually raided it to come up with a rental deposit. Stupid. Please do not do this. Right now I put in $100 a month, but I may stop since the money really should be going towards my high interest debt.

OPERS – I worked at my university for a year and this is the pension plan for public workers. I have to wait 3 months and then I can roll it over to my Roth. I’ll pay regular income taxes on the amount, but it’s a solid move since I’m in the lowest tax bracket I’ll be in for at least a decade.

CIVIC – I bought a Honda Civic last December. If I could re-do it, I’d go for one a bit older and cheaper. Bought it during a stressful time – I had just finished exams and I had to move out my apartment and my old car was practically dead and needed lots of repairs. The plan now is to keep it for as long as possible and enjoy years of minimal maintenance & 34 MPG.

PLUS LOAN – I’ve paid ~$3,000 towards this so far in 2013. Almost all of that has been in just the past 2 months. Interest accrues at ~$9 per day. I’m 15 months from entering repayment, but I want that balance to be low low low.

STAFFORD LOAN – Increase of $8,000 will happen during the school year. Not making payments now because part of this is subsidized and the PLUS rate is a full point higher.

CIVIC LOAN – Just making the regular payment for now, but will increase once the student loans are taken care of. Interest rate on this is 2.94% –  paying my student loans is the better financial choice.

I’m in a lot of debt. I’d like to reduce the PLUS loan by at least 5K-10K and save the same amount by this time next year. Not concrete goals, but I think they’re achievable. Do not want my student loans around when I’m 30…just doesn’t seem right.


Killed My Credit Card Debt

I killed my credit card debt this month. It’s embarrassing to write that because it’s the first time on the blog I’ve admitted I even had credit card debt. It started when I moved out last year. Living on your own is expensive and even though I knew better, I turned to 0% CC promotional offers for just about everything. New TV, eating out, booze, books for school, all of it went on the card and I’d “pay it off later”.

By the time I moved back home in December, I was carrying balances that totaled ~$5,000. Insane for anybody, much less a college student with student loans. Living at home let me cut my expenses (duh) and start making larger and larger payments. I forced myself to get rid of cash just sitting in my checking and savings account. It’s cool to check your account balance and see a big number, but when you’re in debt, that money isn’t really yours! 

Here’s a fancy Mint chart showing my progress:

mintccdebt*I do have charges on one card right now but it’s this billing cycle’s spending and will be paid off in full when the statement arrives.

I definitely slipped up a few times. I  knew things had to change in November, but I spent a lot in December because of Christmas and books for spring semester and general overspending. I messed up again in April. Lots of going out – using my new horizontal ID every weekend for strong drinks I didn’t need and other spending.

I turned things around this summer. Started an internship paying almost double what I made before and kept my old job at first. Up until a few weeks ago, I was working 50-55 hours a week. I’d get up at 5:30, work 7-4,  drive to my college campus and work from 5-9. Then typically work at least one weekend shift. At one point, I had worked 18 days straight. Not something to do indefinitely, but the paychecks were good and I put them to good use by repaying debt.

I’m still running on a debt repayment high, so next up are my student and car loans. I’m just doing minimums on the car loan for now since the interest rate is so low: 2.94%. The majority of my student loans are at 7.9% and I hate this debt. Can’t wait to smother the life out of it!


Stop Being a Little Bitch and Pay Your Student Loans Off

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 8.55.35 PM

Damn. In less than 60 days, I’ve thrown $2,850 on my student loans. Part of my student loans. I have another $20,000* with a different servicer at lower interest rates.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 8.59.04 PM

I realized 6 months ago that my students loans were growing way too quick. After studying abroad and moving next to campus, I was burning through a ridiculous amount of money. Interest was is accruing at something crazy like $9 a day. I have so much interest, that these payments aren’t even touching what I originally borrowed. That’s why the total balance in the picture hasn’t moved an inch.

I moved back home and spent less money. But I didn’t think I was earning enough money to actually start paying them down since accrued interest was ~4,000. Throwing $50 or $100 didn’t seem worth it. I started a full-time summer internship though and got comfortable with a smaller checking/savings buffer and stopped being a pussy.

Now accrued interest should be gone in just another 2 months. Finally, future payments will go towards the original loan amount.

Paying down this debt sucks. I’m glad I’m making progress, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want those payments still sitting in my checking account, ready to be spent. Or in my Roth IRA earning dividends and what not. At some point though, you have to suck it up and realize that your money is no longer your money. It’s other people’s money.

I’m in the stop-being-a-little-bitch phase of personal finance.

*Avoid losing this much cash for your bachelor’s.


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