February Rundown + March Update

Getting a post done in the middle of March… so proud of myself!

There are a few things that happened in February that I would like to share with you. Ok, maybe not a few… just two things that I can think of right now. Student Loan Consolidation and how the Envelope/Cash system went.

Student Loan Consolidation

My dad has been telling me to call the bank and find out about consolidation options for the last umm… 9 months. Well after finding out a friend did it and received a 1.74% interest rate, I realized I NEED to do this. (Father always knows best) A bank in my home state that specializes in student loans was advertising the consolidation. You could “apply” and choose from a fixed rate of 4.83% or a variable rate of 1.74%. With the variable rate, every 3 months it could decrease, increase, or stay the same. It can only increase 1% every year and never more than 10%. A variable rate could be a risky option, however since we are on a mission to be done with debt ASAP, it seemed like a great option for us.

With this consolidation loan you could consolidate both federal and private loans. Unfortunately/fortunately, the military still has one more payment to make on my federal loans so I couldn’t include those in my consolidation. My private loans had a max interest rate of 6.8% so consolidating was definitely worth it. I was also able to consolidate without a cosigner which allowed my dad to come off the loan. I wish I would have looked at how much interest I was expected to pay prior to consolidating but after consolidation–I am expected to pay 4-5 grand in interest.

Another great benefit was that it lowered my payment by 170 dollars which means that is 170 dollars that can go towards the current bill we are tackling to pay off.

If you have high interest rates and loans all over the place–definitely look into consolidation options!!

Envelope/Cash System

I have a love/hate relationship with this system. I think it’s absolutely great… if you like to carry cash. I hate carrying cash and typically only have my phone on me which holds my ID and debit card. Therefore, I tend to forget to carry cash and end up putting it on my debit card anyway.

I still keep track of what I spend though so I haven’t really gone over any budgets… yet. The cash really works for my deployed husband. He doesn’t have much to spend money on out there so he withdraws so much each month and I just automatically assume he will spend it all. If he comes home with extra money–then great! I did take out cash this month for some things but it usually just ends up going towards other things. I am undecided whether I will continue this method or not. I really just think its important to keep track of what you spend one way or the other. I always add my purchases into my Gazelle Budget on Dave Ramsey’s website and it automatically tells me what I have left to spend in that category. That works for us. So far.

March Update

More and more expenses are coming up this month. Luckily, I have room left in some categories that will cover some of the expenses, but some won’t be covered which is lowering our overall amount that will be able to go towards debt.

Some examples:

  •  The hubby’s running shoes are falling apart and he’s been working out a lot so good shoes are definitely a necessity. Yes we could have got him cheap $30 shoes, but when you are working out a lot cheap is definitely not worth it.
  • Being in the military, my hair has to meet certain standards and look “natural.” Well I dyed my hair in December, and it’s definitely noticeable now. I plan to dye it a color that won’t need much upkeep so I don’t have to dye it as often. I absolutely will not dye it out of the box, so it is just something I need to do. I have money left from when my parents came to visit so that should cover it.
  • We are both getting ready to test in order to put on our next rank. Higher rank=higher pay; therefore, we are investing into an $80 study guide that should hopefully prepare us much better.

Those are just a few expenses that came up that were not budgeted for. I am leaving on a 30-day work trip soon which will allow us to make a few (hundred) extra bucks so that will be helpful!

There are always going to be situations that set us up for success or set us back just a little. I am just glad we are still focused!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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