Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

You Need A Budget

YNAB. Pretty amazing stuff. If you have read my Month Ahead post, you already know that we save up the income from one month to pay the entire bills for the next month - IE, all the paychecks we receive in May go for our bills and spending during the month of June.

I've heard about YNAB on the TMMO boards for quite some time, but I thought I was doing everything just fine myself. Well, after reading about it, yet again, on the TMMO board, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. They have a 30 day free trial that you can sign up for. After that if you choose to purchase the software, it's $60. I've only had it 3 days and I'm already planning to budget that $60 to pay for it, because it's pretty fabulous.

What I like: you can download you bank transactions from your bank website and upload into YNAB. You can edit or delete transactions as necessary, and categorize those transactions so that you have a crystal clear picture of where your money is going each month. When you receive a deposit, paycheck, or whatever, you can indicate that it is money available to use this month, or next month. If you indicate next month, then that money is not calculated into your this month's budget - it's "babysat" to be used next month. Any money from your budget that you don't use this month will roll over to be available for the next month.

They also offer online teaching webinars that you can sign up for to learn more about how their service works. It's pretty fabulous. I cannot say enough good things about this - and I'm only 3 days in.

Please check it out. 30 day free trial. You do NOT have to enter payment info in to try it - you simply download and start using. At the end of your trial, your software quits working unless you finally pay for it. So you run no risk of them automatically taking your money if you forget to cancel at the end of your trial. If you're like me though, you won't want to cancel. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Twenty Years? That's Just Not Good Enough

So as the things settle in with Jonny's new job, and we clean up the things we've had to let slide (car repairs, house essentials, etc) we've started looking at the UGLY reality of our student loan payoff. What we've discovered is this: by paying only the minimum due of just over $800 a month for all of our student loans, it would take us until February 2032 to pay the darn things off. TWENTY YEARS!!! I'll be 51! That's ridiculous. I've said this a million times in this blog: If you are a high school or college student who is reading this DON'T TAKE OUT STUDENT LOANS. Please! You can (and must) find a way to pay for school without them. Don't let the darn things follow you for the rest of your life. Please read my previous post which has some suggestions on things you can do to avoid taking out student loans while still attending college.

Luckily, we don't intend to only pay the minimum. In a few months when we get things cleaned up we will be able to pay $1200 a month towards the student loans, versus the $800. That extra 50% drops my timeline almost in half: The new payoff date would be July 2022.

But...that's still just not good enough. I really REALLY want to throw at least $2000 a month at this monster. Why? Because I want it GONE. It's not fun watching my money come in and money go out, and as Dave says, only the names are changed to protect the innocent. With a $2000 a month payment, our new payoff date would be... wait for it... September 2017. That's just over 5 years from now, and that's shortly before what will be our 10 year wedding anniversary. Debt freedom for a 10 year anniversary gift? Yes please.

So the question now is... what can we do to get another $800 a month? Well, realistically, we probably need another $1000 a month to account for taxes and tithing. I really need to get serious about applying to be an online professor...I'm just intimidated by the process and I haven't quite found all the tools I need in order to make sure I have the proper credentials to do so.

So anyway... I'm not sure what we're going to do to bring in that extra $1000 per month...but we know this is what is necessary if we want to meet out goal of having everything paid off in 5 years. I really wish I could deliver pizzas again, but it would be detrimental to my healthy eating lifestyle I'm trying to follow. Ugh. Hopefully I'll have an answer to this problem before too long.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let me call the WAHHHH-mbulance.

College education is not a right. It's a privilege. And guess what folks? With a little sacrifice, you too can have that privilege. It's called researching and applying for scholarships, or, gosh, being a great student/athlete, etc and being awarded scholarships or a free ride. What - you mean you aren't a genius? Well, even if you aren't a great student, you may qualify for voc-rehab (someone very close to me got his entire college paid for like this). Or your can serve your country and get your education paid for via the military or via teaching in low income areas.

From the article: "I look at the loans my daughter is taking out, and I've got to wonder what it's going to be like when my son, who is in eighth grade, gets there," said Tony Pollack, 55, of Detroit, .... "We can't help them out — they've got to shoulder all that cost and get so many debts."

This is a pitiful excuse. This guy has time to figure out a game plan to prevent his son from needing student loans. Again, great grades, scholarships, and military are some fabulous options. But if parents stick their head in the sand and ignore the situation, then sure, that kid may be up a creek without a paddle when it comes time for college. Such a negative attitude, assuming that the son will be forced to take on debt.

I have a crap ton of student loan debt because I was stupid. I was in the military. I could have used my education money wisely and not taken out ANY loans... but I was dumb. Ask me about it sometime, and I'll tell ya how. I'm not blaming anyone but myself... but guess what? I have a plan to get it paid off, and I have a plan to provide for my future kids. I think increasing student loan interest rates is a FABULOUS idea because I think it's a great way to reduce the national debt. No, not everyone "deserves" a college education. If you want it - you need to get off your butt and do what it takes to get it. Shut up about the sacrifice you have to make - whether it's serving in the military, teaching in a low income area, or paying high interest loans because you weren't  able to (for whatever pitiful reason) get scholarships or work your way through school to pay for it. Living in America doesn't mean everything should be handed to you on a silver platter. Such a shame that so many people thinks that's exactly what it means though.