August Update

6 Aug

It’s come to my attention that I haven’t been keeping up with my monthly loan updates.  For those of you who didn’t just fall asleep at the mere mention of finance, hang in there.  There’s some interesting stuff in here too.

Exciting news: at this moment, I have $4,884.12 left on my undergraduate student loans.  *cue cheers*

My loans were originally divided into 9 groups.  When I consolidated them a few years ago, two of those groups were labelled as “PIF” or paid-in-full.  Over this past year, I’ve been able to pay off another four of those groups.  The remaining three groups all have balances below $2,600.  My next goal is to pay off Group E, since it has the highest interest rate at 6.8%.

Interesting news: I have learned that it is in my best interest to designate specific amounts for each group.  When I pay an amount over the accrued interest, the rest goes towards paying the principal of the loan. However, my loan company (and I suspect others do this too) put that principal towards the groups with the lowest interest rates much more often than the groups with the highest interest rates.  This means I am paying off the low-interest groups first, while the high-interest groups are still costing me money.  It’s a good plan for the loan company, but it’s a terrible plan for me as a consumer.

I now specify how much of each monthly loan payment is to go to each group.  This lets me attack the high-interest groups first, and saves me money in the long run.  For those of you with loans, it might be worth it to see if this is an option for you.  Don’t let the loan company make any more money off of you than necessary.

Bad news: I’ve had some paycheck issues this month and last, and that has led to me being extremely short on money this month.   I’ve managed to scrape together just $112 for my monthly loan payment.  Of that, $52.20 will go to paying the accrued monthly interest.  Just $59.80, or 53%, will go towards my principal balance.  (For reference, last month 95% of my loan payment of $1,334 went towards principal.)

Everyone who has ever lived with a variable income can relate to how frustrating it can be to not be able to plan a monthly budget with confidence.  The good news is that I can pay my immediate bills, but luxuries such as student loan payments over the minimum amount and new video games will have to wait until everything is sorted out. *sigh*  At least there is…

Good news! It’s August, which means two things:

1) IT’S DRAGON*CON! I love Dragon*Con, and I save for it all year long.  This year, I am very happy with what I’ve been able to save.  It will mean costume upgrades and lots of celebrity autographs. Also, it may even mean food.

2) It’s my birthday month!  I love birthdays, and mine falls very close or during Dragon*Con, so it’s like a giant birthday party each year… with 100,000 of my closest friends.

Last bits of news: I’ve got a very busy work week ahead of me, and lots of potential changes coming in the next month or so.  One of these is a possible full-time job, so keep your fingers crossed for me on that front.  Also, be on the lookout for a short story involving the winners of the Blog Search Term Challenge on Thursday.  Finally, if you haven’t read it yet, go check out Seeing Beyond The Outside, a post I wrote on Saturday about how girls are perceived in geek culture.  There’s been a lot of debate on this topic lately, and the girl geeks are coming out far worse for it.

See you all on Thursday.

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