End of April Update

The end of April, the end of the semester, the time for single people to pack up and head on the road to see their friends who can’t travel because they all have toddlers 🙂 Aside from a massive student loan payment, my biggest expenses this month were all travel-related: lots of gas from driving around to see friends and family and to a conference, and booking plane tickets for a trip to California I’m making next month. This month doesn’t look so awesome from a net worth perspective because of how much is currently sitting on the credit cards (plane tickets, moving expenses) but I’m majorly excited anyway because of one big goal met:

That right there is student loan #1, showing a balance of $0 yesterday! The gory details of its history:

I started making payments on it two months before it came out of its grace period. In total, I ended up paying only $161.88 in interest on a $10,197 loan! That’s even better than I thought I’d done when I ballparked it yesterday for Girl Meets Debt.

To be continued with student loan #2, currently sitting at -$5086.47….

So, April spending:

Student loan #1: $2418.48
Student loan #2: $88.34

Car expenses (gas, oil change, tolls): $482.35: OUCH. Wow. So, uh, I traveled a lot this month. All by car. It added up. Eesh. Luckily about 1/4 of that is reimbursable and I’ve already submitted the receipts and everything.

Rent and utilities: $1061 — this includes buying a new smartphone to replace my four-year-old flip phone and get on a much cheaper plan (if it works) by joining Republic Wireless — we’ll see how this goes; there’s a 30-day-back guarantee so I might end up returning the phone.

Travel and entertainment: $392. Not bad for a round trip to Los Angeles, another RT from LA to San Francisco, and a concert ticket. It all has to go on the 0%, cash-back credit card and be paid out of later paychecks because of the debt payment…but I just wasn’t willing to not make this trip.

Food: Well mint.com says $171. Hah! If only! Since I’m not yet tracking every penny (I am going to start in on that once I’ve moved, started my new job, and have paid off the student loans) I have no idea how much went out in cash that isn’t covered by that figure. I’m guessing that the real food costs for the month were easily $400 and that’s what I’m going to count here.

Misc: mint.com says $146. This includes a tax bill, the pharmacy, and some money withdrawn for cash spending. Seems about right.

Totals:

Money applied to debt: $2506.82
Money spent on everything else: $2481.35

Grand total: $4988.17

And…yeah, that’s more than came in this month, which explains the state of the credit cards, currently sitting at -$1794. (Some of that is reimbursable and — I’m reminding myself — all of it is at 0%, so <i>focus on the student loans</i> remains my plan.) A budgeting revolution is definitely on the horizon.

<b>Debt total: -$6834, a change of +$870 from last month

Net worth total: -$3343, a change of +$1177 from last month</b>

This being honest with yourself financially thing is exhausting! So much math!

Introducing Me (And My Slowly Growing But Still Negative Net Worth)

Hello to anyone reading this; thanks for being here.

I’m a 35-year-old, permanently (at least as far as I know) single woman. I’m not complaining about that — singleness has its pros as well as cons! But….

As this article notes, single people face some particular issues when it comes to cash flow, housing costs, and retirement savings. (See also this post by Krystal Yee, which got me thinking about this topic a lot.) Those things are definitely on my mind right now. And what with singleness being one of the key factors in my financial life right now, I figured I’d make it the title of this blog, which I’m starting after a couple of weeks of fairly intensive reading around in the personal finance blogosphere. It seems like a really good way to keep myself motivated as I move forward; I like the thought of sharing my journey, which in some ways is well underway and in some ways is just beginning.

Here’s the big-picture snapshot of my financial situation, which shows you both “well underway” and also “just beginning”:

That’s my net worth, starting in June 2013, when I was (thanks, mint.com, for the precision) $21,249 in debt, of which nearly $19,000 was embedded in student loans that were about to begin coming due. I also had $5629 of “assets” (the little green bar) but since $3500 of that is the value of my car, we were really talking…not that much. But counting the car, that brought my net worth in at negative $15,619.

June 2013 was a big month for me; I graduated from a humanities PhD program, located in a Giant Expensive City, and moved to a much smaller, much cheaper city to take a fortunately very well-paid, by humanities PhD standards, but unfortunately only 1-year, job. The move was expensive, since it required buying a fair amount of furniture (long story), but nevertheless, as the summer and fall went on, I started throwing chunks of money at the student debt pretty regularly. So I’ve arrived at the end of March, 2014, with $7703 in debt and a net worth of negative $1034 (still including the car!) The student loan stands at $7558. In other words, I’ve paid over $11,000 on the student loan in nine months. By putting basically all my extra income towards it over the next few months, I hope to have it entirely paid off by August.

This is great, and I’m glad I’ve been able to tackle the loan to this extent, but it still leaves me with a lot of question marks about my financial future, which I’ll tackle in my next post.

[Edit, December 15, 2014: Shortly after beginning this blog, I removed the “value” of my car from my net worth numbers, on the grounds that there’s really no sense in which it’s liquid; this is why elsewhere on the site you’ll see my “starting” net worth, in June 2013, listed at -$19119, and all subsequent net worth updates don’t include the value of my car. I decided to leave this introductory post as is, though, because of the screenshot! The debt numbers in it are accurate, but the assets are too high.]