December 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

If you read my Misc. Income Report (Earned through 11/26/2021), then you already know that December is shaping up to be an interesting month and that my December update was going to look a lot different from previous updates. If you didn’t read that post, then now you know. To the numbers!

AccountDebtMin. PaymentInterest Rate
Private Student Loan 4-$2,558.63$45.403.625%
PenFed Refinanced Student Loan-$89,064.00$636.763.500%

July 1, 2019 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$128,663.26

November 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$92,998.55

December 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$91,622.63

Total Payments: $1,708.09

Net Difference: $1,375.92

A couple of things… First, I went back and forth about how to structure my new chart. I know folks like it when I include the balances when I first began blogging on July 1, 2019 but there just isn’t a neat and intelligible way to do that. (Umm this is very much a challenge so if your Excel game is strong and you think there is a better way to present this, let me know). Also, part of the benefit of paying down loans and refinancing is a much simpler financial picture. As I very much want to embrace that simplicity, I have opted to just list my beginning student loan balance above the monthly reporting.

Second, while November wasn’t great for student loan debt repayment, it was also better than the net difference is making it look. As I explained in my post on refinancing, not only was the refinanced loan for slightly more than the current balances were at the time, due to the payment dates, I still had to make my November 1st payment payments. What this means is that my refinanced balance is actually a couple of hundred dollars lower than what appears above. Ultimately, this is fine as any overpayment will either be refunded to me in the form of a check or credited to me by PenFed if the check is sent to them.

Third, by this point, I know that you know that I make my largest monthly payment on the 1st of the month when I get paid at University B. What do you think are the chances that my minimum payment on my refinanced loan and my extra payment of Private Student Loan 4 on December 1st pushed my overall student loan balance below $90,000.00?

Private Loan Student 4 (PSL4) Update

This one is trying to hang on but I will not be thwarted! Paying PSL4 off this year would actually have me set to achieve ALL of my 2021 Financial Goals. Okay, maybe not all but at least all the targets. I threw a huge chunk of cash at this loan today and less than $1,000.00 remains. For that reason, I have decided that this loan WILL be dispatched this month.

Gig Misc. Income Update

Net Misc. Income Goal for November: $200.00
Net Misc. Income Actual for November: $1,242.38
Difference: $1,042.38
Net Misc. Income Goal for December: $600.00

November was a good month for misc. income. I know what you are thinking, “How is it possible that it was such a good month but your total payments didn’t crack $2,000.00?” It was a confluence of things but between a slightly more expensive month, a modest November 1st payment, and some income being set aside for December holiday shopping, not all of my misc. income made it to my student loan balances this month. In December, I hope to continue striking a good balance between hustling and LIVING. On that note…

Part-Time Job Update

I’ve put in my two-week notice at the golf club. I know! I didn’t even make it a month. However, I got sick the week of Thanksgiving and realized that unlike gig work, which I don’t have to take when I am sick or tired, I have to show up at the golf course for every scheduled shift. Which means I went to work when I was still feeling sick instead of staying at home. I realized this was not in my long-term best interest and sent my notice.

Overall, November was a pretty good great month. December has the ability to change my financial future in a major way…I’m sending out good vibes that it does just that.

My Student Loan Refinance (Part 3)

I don’t know what information is pertinent or not pertinent to anyone who follows my blog so I will try to be as complete and succinct as possible here. I will refer (link) back to this post when I make reference to my refinance in the future.

Amount refinanced: $89,064.00
Rate: 3.500%
Minimum Payment: $636.76
Loan term: 15-year fixed (180 months)
Lender: Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)
FICO (at time of application): 794*
Loans included in refinance (amounts as of 11/1/2021):

AccountDebtDebt (7/1/19)Min. PaymentInterest Rate
Private Student Loan 2-$6,595.87-$8,271.15$93.305.090%
Federal Student Loan 1-$21,440.37-$20,583.34$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 2-$13,946.84-$13,457.55$0.005.310%
Federal Student Loan 3-$11,184.47-$10,737.40$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 4-$7,748.09-$7,518.58$0.004.450%
Federal Student Loan 5-$5,561.12-$5,520.10$0.004.450%
Federal Student Loan 6-$3,147.30-$2,849.21$0.005.600%
Federal Student Loan 7-$2,863.10-$2,649.80$0.004.660%
Federal Student Loan 8-$2,457.12-$2,538.91$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 9-$2,307.18-$2,047.30$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 10-$2,003.02-$1,813.31$0.005.600%
Federal Student Loan 11-$1,639.01-$1,573.49$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 12-$1,144.25-$1,035.88$0.005.600%
University Student Loan 1-$3,428.11-$4,581.00$60.418.000%
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.000.000%
University Student Loan 3-$317.64-$1,031.21$30.008.000%
University Student Loan 4-$124.59-$857.81$30.008.000%

Only a couple of things to note… First, there is a small discrepancy between the loan amount and the loan balances. This is pretty common and any overpayment will be credited to me by PenFed or refunded to me by the servicer/lender in the form of a check. And second, PSL4 was not included in my refinance which is why it does not appear on the chart above. The amount remaining on PSL4 is so small at this point that it makes far more sense for me to pay it off with the current servicer AES. It will appear separately from my refinanced loan on my student loan balances update for December 1st.

And that is it.

Fun holiday story: My father has login credentials for the private student loans that were serviced by AES. When he first logged into the account two-and-a-half years ago (the start of this blog) the balance was $30,000.00+. I didn’t realize he still checked the account until he mentioned during the Thanksgiving holiday that he saw the balance was now only $6,500.00 (he must have checked it in mid-October). I whipped out my phone and opened the app to show him that the balance was now much lower than that. He seemed very proud of me. That felt good. Not good enough to tell him about all of it but…maybe one day.

*I was…er…less than pleased with how I timed my application for this loan. I had recently applied for a Costco credit card and had taken a “new credit inquiry” FICO score ding. At the time I applied for the credit card, my FICO score was 812. Had I known I was going to be applying for the refinance, I would have waited to apply for the credit card. PenFed’s lowest advertised interest rate for refinanced student loans is 2.89% fixed (they do not offer a discount for automatic payments). While 3.500% is a much, much better rate than I had previously, I wondered if I would have gotten an even lower rate had a timed my application a bit better…

My Student Loan Refinance (Part 2)

When I began my student loan refinance search, it was really difficult to find information or reviews that weren’t from a lender (SoFi’s marketing game is strong) or from a financial technology company (e.g. Credible, NerdWallet, BankRate). While these are both good sources, the information they provide is generally pretty generic until you submit an application (which is usually a soft credit pull initially) AND they are both financially invested in you completing a refinance. I was looking for more of a Yelp nitty-gritty, “This is what happened to me, YMMV…” sort of review. To that end, I have decided to make my contribution to the student loan refinance interwebs here.

Lender Search/Decision – Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)

I began my search by using one of the financial technology companies listed above to do a preliminary search for student loan refinance lenders. As I have stated previously, my top refinance priority was securing a much lower fixed interest rate. A second priority was securing a monthly payment that was manageable should I no longer have a full-time position. Ultimately, my search yielded PenFed as the best option for my refinance. If your priority is guaranteed forbearance in case of economic hardship, in-school deferment, discharge of loans in case of death or permanent disability, or if you are not a citizen of the United States, there are better lender options. In a low-interest-rate environment, PenFed is also probably not the best option for someone who is risk-tolerant of a variable rate as PenFed does not offer them. Something else I liked about PenFed is that they are both the lender AND the servicer which means no more third-party services (by forever Heartland ECSI!). While I have had good experiences with third-party services that have relatively responsive, easy-to-use, and up-to-date platforms, I have found that this is the exception more than it is the rule. And while you would expect the amount that you interact with your student loan servicer to be pretty rare, on those times you do have to interact with them, it’s because something bad has happened and you don’t want poor customer service contributing to what are already heightened emotions.

PenFed Criteria
Something else that I liked about PenFed is that they are direct and specific about their lending criteria. I found that some lenders said really nebulous things like, “well will take into consideration your whole financial picture.” I wholeheartedly support lenders moving beyond a FICO score, and other “traditional measures” of creditworthiness, to increase lending opportunities for consumers; especially to the extent that it increases opportunities for credit in underserved markets. That being said, if traditional measures are still a part of that decision calculus, then I think lenders should be upfront about what those requirements are so that consumers are not wasting their time. Here I would share that 1) PenFed’s minimum FICO score is 670, 2) the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, and 3) their income minimum is $42,000.00 without a co-signer. Another quirk is that because PenFed is a credit union, you must become a member of the credit union. Application is pretty easy and you qualify with an electronic application that is a part of your loan verification documents and a $5.00 deposit into a savings account.

Application Process
This was perhaps the most confusing aspect of the student loan refinance process with PenFed for me. The process itself, in terms of document request and upload, was pretty simple, what was confusing was figuring out the different actors and how they fit into the process…you know, since I was suddenly getting emails about three different entities and three different websites. For anyone who should search for this…

– PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) – Lender/Servicer – PenFed is the lender and the servicer which means they are the bank that is making the lending decision and to whom you will make monthly payments on the loan.

– Purefy – “Purefy is a student loan comparison site, and it also originates refinanced student loans and parent loans via a partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union.” I didn’t use Purefy to search for student loans and as far as I can tell, the only two student loan companies for which they offer a comparison are PenFed and SoFi (I assume no one would be shocked to learn that they ultimately rate PenFed as the better option). Thus, I was surprised when I received an email from Purefy following my initial application. That being said, my experience with them was pretty great. Throughout the process, I had a couple of questions, and Dallas, my customer service representative, responded to me almost immediately. If you are approved for a loan with PenFed then Purefy exits the banking relationship once the loan is approved, documents are uploaded, and the loan is funded. If you are not approved, it seems like they are open to an ongoing relationship to help you become a PenFed customer.

– CampusDoor (Campus Door Holdings Inc.) – CampusDoor is just the loan processor. Their website is where you upload verification documents; their website is also where you can view updates and respond to any additional requests for information.

Experience Thus Far
It is cliche but…so far, so good. I was able to create an account on the PenFed website four business days after my loan was approved. It took a bit longer than I would have liked for my loans to be paid off (14 business days) but the former servicers of loans I included in this refinance were pretty terrible…which was a small reason I wanted to re-fi and end my relationships with them. Thus, I am unwilling to lay blame for the delay at the feet of PenFed. My federal loans did end up going to another servicer (yea…ugh…I can’t talk about it) but thankfully they all ended up at one servicer. I am once again grateful that I did this now as opposed to in January because the interest pause on federal loans means I don’t have to do any magical math to figure out what my current student loan balance is.

Alright, that was a far deeper dive than most folks needed but it is my contribution to the personal finance interwebs. Part 3, my last and final post about my student loan refinance will be much briefer and will just be information about the loan itself.

Misc. Income Report (Earned through 11/26/21): $251.41

I have no excuses, just a lot going on at the moment. In addition to the holidays and the busyness that accompany them, it is also the end of the semester at University B and the final weeks of programming are just brutal in an effort to make sure students have all the support they need as their semester wraps up. I have three events this week, a colleague who is a bit stressed and snapping at me, two weeks’ notice to work for the golf club, and a job interview I’m hiding from everyone since University B already offered me a promotion effective January 1…I said there was a lot going on!

For the week ending 11/26/21, I worked one (1) shift at the golf club for a total of 9.08 hours, and earned $145.21 (gross: $158.90), resulting in an extra student loan payment of $0.00. Wait! I will explain… Additionally, I worked one (1) gig through Qwick for $106.20, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $0.00. I know, I know. “What’s up with all dem zeros AP?” November was a tight month in terms of budget as I cash flowed my tires at the beginning of the month (one of the challenges of only getting paid once a month) and had to stick to a very tight budget for the remainder of the month. However, this month I needed to spend a bit on irregular purchases, like my first haircut in three years, so I used my misc. income to pad my budget. While this is definitely not something I want to turn into a habit, knowing that my misc. income was supporting me directly this month, and not missteps of Afro Penny-past made getting through that rough restaurant shift a bit easier.

As I have stated several times now, the income I am setting aside in savings is entirely random at this point and really depends on what the income is and whether or not it was subject to prior state and federal withholding. I believe I have more than enough in non-emergency fund savings to cover any potential tax liability. I will make any necessary adjustments early next year after I do my taxes.

Misc. Income Report (Earned through 11/19/21): $550.43

I know…this Misc. Income Report is once again late but I worked a double on Saturday between a Qwick gig and the golf club…blah, blah, I know you all have to be tired of the excuses by this point.

For the week ending 11/19/21, I worked three (3) shifts at the golf club for a total of 20.73 hours, and earned $310.43 (gross: $362.78), resulting in an extra student loan payment of $300.00. Additionally, a gig I worked earlier this month (not through an app) finally paid and I earned $240.00, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $200.00.

As I have stated several times now, the income I am setting aside in savings is entirely random at this point and really depends on what the income is and whether or not it was subject to prior state and federal withholding. I believe I have more than enough in non-emergency fund savings to cover any potential tax liability. I will make any necessary adjustments early next year after I do my taxes.

The reported income from the golf club is income received this week for work performed almost two weeks ago due to their pay cycle. Work at the golf club has dried up considerably and won’t really pick back up until after the holidays. For the moment, they only have me scheduled one day a week, which I don’t hate, especially as other things in my life are in flux. This weekend, I was able to pick up a Qwick shift (which will appear in next week’s misc. income report) and was once again offered a permanent part-time job by the owner. It’s for a busy restaurant in the city and they stay busy year-round. Their team is really strong (even stronger than the golf club’s) and I was tempted for a minute…but ultimately, I demurred. At the golf club, as is the case with most banquet work, there are moments of respite where you can catch your breath, but this was not the case at the restaurant. It was a grind from the second I clocked in. Which is fine if that is your only shift for the day but not suitable on days I have to pull a double. It would wear me down pretty quickly. Also, if I were to be grinding that hard, I would expect to be a waiter and make asignificantly higher hourly rate.

My Student Loan Refinance (Part I)

I have been wanting to write this post for some time but have been procrastinating writing it because I knew it would take a while to write and because I didn’t want to jinx it. Well, as what should be the most nerve-wracking part of the payoff is over, I now think it’s okay to write…

If you will remember, I had tried to refinance my student loans shortly after starting this blog in August of 2019. Unfortunately, given my very high debt-to-income ratio and my relatively short tenure in my new role (I had just moved across the country to start working at University B), no lender would touch me. That led me to “self-refinance” my private loan with the highest interest rate using a credit card balance transfer. While all turned out well, I was wary of doing it again. Two and a half years and almost $40,000.00 in student loan debt paid off, lenders were now hounding me to refinance my student loans with them. Despite a lengthy post outlining the pros and cons of refinancing in early October, I was planning to put off refinancing until December or January so that I could enjoy 0% interest and no payments on my federal student loans for a couple more months. However, in the last week of October, I received an email from Granite State Management Services, my federal student loan servicer, letting me know that they would no longer be servicing federal student loans and would be transferring my student loans to a new servicer in exactly two weeks. I applied to refinance my student loans that very same day.

After I let you all know that I had applied to refinance my student loans, there was a mix of responses but all of them were constructive and helpful. I actually think responding to your question/concerns (and some I asked myself) is the fastest way to walk through my decision-making process so I will do that here.

1. Given how much of your remaining debt is federal student loan debt (~80% or $75K), why aren’t you waiting to see if you are eligible for any “relief” being deliberated by the Biden administration?Unlike some blogger friends, I am not very optimistic that the Biden administration (or any other administration) will pass student loan debt relief because it’s not very politically popular. I think the pandemic has demonstrated that some of the most meaningful relief to all borrowers would be significantly lowering student interest rates but that never seems to be a plan anyone puts forth. Honestly, and this may shock folks given how much federal student loan debt I have, but I am generally not in favor of widespread student loan forgiveness for the majority of borrowers. (This does not include loan forgiveness plans tied to service for low-income earning roles). College degree holders earn on average $900,000.00 more than folks without college degrees over their lifetime. As someone who is concerned about income inequity, I don’t know how equitable it is to wipe out all debt for college degree holders. But that discussion is for another post…`

2. Why didn’t you wait until January to refinance when the payment/interest abatement on federal student loans is scheduled to end? – I was worried that the interest rates would be higher as a lot more folks considered refinancing and that all twelve of my federal student loans would not end up with the same servicer.

3. Why didn’t you just federally consolidate your student loans? – I thought about doing this as a way to keep the 0% interest rate and payment abatement on my federal student loans and ensure that I only ended up with one student loan servicer. However, I had some concern that my consolidation wouldn’t take place prior to my loans being transferred and I didn’t really want to go through the process of consolidating them only to have to refinance them a couple of months later.

4. Excellent questions and things to consider from Paula: “I would be very very careful about giving up the benefits of federal loans. Not only does the a) income based and graduated plans allow you to have lower payments if needed, think about the future. b) No in school deferrment? c) What if you need a car? d) Even if you want to pay more than the lowered payment, the fact is your credit report minimum payment is what creditors use to determine what you can afford. The fact that my minimum was listed as so low got me into a mortgage- which became suddenly absolutely necessary as my current apartment building got bought by a slumlord and became impossible. If I’d had that full payment listed as the minimum, it wouldn’t have happened. I’m not sure I could have even been approved for another rental unit.

Also… e) disability. God forbid, but if something happens the federal loans go away. f) Refinance and well.. I don’t think they legally have to care.” Again, all excellent points. Note: I have added the letters next to her points so that I can answer in the most organized way possible.

a) The payment was one of my biggest concerns going into the refinance. And while I will get to the details of the refinance itself in the second post about this, it is one of the reasons I chose a 15-year fixed loan despite the slightly lower interest rates for 5-year loans. The minimum payment for my refinanced loan is actually $260.00 less than the minimum payments on all of my loans (not including my federal loans as they didn’t require a payment) when I started this blog in July of 2019. Given that my income has grown and my student loan debt has significantly decreased, I am not as concerned about my minimum payment.

b) Many private student loan companies do have an option for in-school deferment. The most common is a maximum of 36-months after 12-months of on-time payments. However, the lender I chose does not have an in-school deferment option. Given my relatively low minimum payment (relatively to how much I have and could be paying) and some other things happening (I promise I will disclose more soon), this is not a significant concern for me at the moment. If it becomes a significant concern, I can always refinance with a different lender.

c) In December I decided to buy out my car lease. As my car is less than four years old, it is my hope that with good care that it will still be in decent shape by the time my loans are paid off in four years. The fact that I have a $5,000.00 emergency fund also eases concerns I have about immediate car expenses.

d) This is 100% true. I spoke to this above in response to point a) but I am less concerned about my minimum payment as it is pretty manageable and significantly less than my aggregate payments were in July 2019. Also, I am fortunate to have excellent credit (>800) and I suspect the refinance will actually help my credit even more as my federal student loans, which show as having balances larger than their original balances, will now be paid and leave me with one loan that will always be lower than it’s original balance.

e) This is a good point that most folks don’t consider. However, in the past, I have talked about my greatest fear being that my parents were burdened by my student loan debt should I become deceased or disabled. For that reason, I have both supplemental term insurance as well as long- and short-term disability insurance through my employer. If I died before my student loans were paid off or became significantly disabled, my estate would cover my outstanding loans. Private Student Loan 2 (PSL2) and Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4) are actually the last loans for which my parents are cosigners. PSL4 will be paid off in December (I’m calling my shot) and PSL2 being included in the refinance releases my mother as a co-signer.

f) You are again 100% correct. They don’t have to care…and many don’t. However, I refinanced with a credit union and they do seem to care.

Okay, enough for now. In my second post, which should be much shorter, I will dive more into the details of how I chose my new lender and what the refinance process was like. It is really hard to come by unsponsored reviews of refinance lenders so I want to leave something for anyone who looks for information about this lender in the future. In my final post of this three-part series, I will share the details of my new loan, including which loans I choose to include, so there isn’t any confusion in my student loan balances update posts.

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback throughout this process. It is appreciated far more than you know.

Misc. Income Report (Earned through 11/12/21): $280.54

I know…this Misc. Income Report is still late but I worked a double on Saturday between University B and the golf club so it was a 6:00AM-2:00AM day with more than 35,000 steps. I was tired, my feet were tired, and I’m only now getting out of bed for something other than a snack or to use the bathroom for the first time today. As I predicted, gig work is drying up across the apps and even undesirable shifts are getting snapped up pretty quickly. Having talked to other coworkers, work at the golf club also winds down at the end of the holiday season so gig work and part time shifts may be a bit harder to come by for the first couple months of the year. Honestly, I’m fine with that. I’ve figured out what my monthly payment will have to be to be debt free before I turn 40 and I think it’s strangely manageable even without gig/part time work…but more on that later.

For the week ending 11/12/21, I worked three (3) shifts at the golf lub for a total of 18.50 hours, and earned $280.54 (gross: $323.75), resulting in an extra student loan payment of $250.00. I did make an extra $20.00 in a cash tip but that went to pad my very skimpy food/gas/misc. budget this month that resulted from me cash flowing my new tires instead of pulling money out of my savings or emergency fund.

I realize that these misc. income reports are not a substitute for reviewing/sharing my income and budget and plan to do that again for December.

Misc. Income Report (Earned through 11/05/21): $145.26

I know…this Gig Misc. Income Report is super late but I worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, despite having to also work Saturday to support programming for University B. Ugh. I am soooooo very tired. Fortunately, the golf club only has me working next Saturday. It will still be painful as I also have to work at University B early Saturday morning but having Friday evening and all of Sunday off is far more humane than this past weekend.

For the week ending 11/05/21, I worked one (1) shift for a total of 8.07 hours, and earned $145.26, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $145.26.

If you read my November 2021 – Student Loan Balance (s) Update then you know that I eschewed putting any of my gig income for the past week into savings so that I could get Private Student Loan 4 under $4000.00. I regret nothing. This was one of those moments where I needed a “win” to stay motivated.

The name of this weekly report will change as more of my miscellaneous income is more likely to come from the golf club than gigs. I will also have to rethink how much I set aside in savings from my golf club paychecks as the golf club is withholding an appropriate amount of taxes from my income. I am thinking about a percentage (10%) or a flat amount ($25.00). The golf club pays weekly and I will receive my first paycheck on Thursday so I’ll come up with something by then.

November 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

Relatively exciting times in AfroPennyland… To the numbers!

AccountDebtDebt (7/1/19)Min. PaymentInterest Rate
Private Student Loan 1$0.00-$10,231.32$110.460.000%
Private Student Loan 3$0.00-$12,580.49$153.820.000%
Private Student Loan 4-$3,999.88-$13,280.33$45.403.625%
Private Student Loan 2-$6,595.87-$8,271.15$93.305.090%
Federal Student Loan 1-$21,440.37-$20,583.34$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 2-$13,946.84-$13,457.55$0.005.310%
Federal Student Loan 3-$11,184.47-$10,737.40$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 4-$7,748.09-$7,518.58$0.004.450%
Federal Student Loan 5-$5,561.12-$5,520.10$0.004.450%
Federal Student Loan 6-$3,147.30-$2,849.21$0.005.600%
Federal Student Loan 7-$2,863.10-$2,649.80$0.004.660%
Federal Student Loan 8-$2,457.12-$2,538.91$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 9-$2,307.18-$2,047.30$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 10-$2,003.02-$1,813.31$0.005.600%
Federal Student Loan 11-$1,639.01-$1,573.49$0.006.800%
Federal Student Loan 12-$1,144.25-$1,035.88$0.005.600%
University Student Loan 1-$3,428.11-$4,581.00$60.418.000%
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.000.000%
University Student Loan 3-$317.64-$1,031.21$30.008.000%
University Student Loan 4-$124.59-$857.81$30.008.000%
Personal Student Loan $0.00-$1,875.70$312.620.000%

October 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$95,432.70

November 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$92,998.55

Total Payments: $2,504.09

Net Difference: $2,434.15

Private Loan Student 4 (PSL4) Update

So the story of the November 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update is that I was able to get PSL4 under $4K in October. October was…a lot. There were unplanned purchases, like four new tires for my car, but also good things as well (like my refinance getting preapproved and my new part-time job). I was able to cashflow the new tires without taking money from my emergency fund or my savings (money set aside for taxes and other expenditures related to gig work) but it means that my November 1st payment (which will be reflected in my December update) was very modest. Very. My hope is that between some irregular income I am expecting this month (checking account bonus), gig work, and my new part-time job that I will still be able to reach my goal of paying $2,000.00 this month and bringing the balance of PSL4 below $2000.00. Speaking of gig work…

Gig Income Update

Net Gig Income Goal for October: $600.00
Net Gig Income Actual for October: $845.26*
Difference: $245.26
Net Gig Income Goal for November: $200.00

October was a good month for gig work. There was a bit of fudging (*) towards the end of the month when I decided not to withhold anything from my last gig work paycheck so that I could put all of that paycheck towards PSL4, and bring the balance below $4,000.00. There are far worse things I could do and as I didn’t pull any money from my emergency fund or savings to cover the new tires, I figure I am still ahead in terms of savings. I expect gig income in November to be much lower as my time gets eaten up by my new part-time job. Speaking of my part-time job…

Part-Time Job Update

I worked my first day at my part-time job this past Saturday and I loved it. (If you will remember, this is a gig that resulted in an on-the-spot-after-hours interview.) While it doesn’t have the flexibility of gig work or the potential for lucrative paydays, it also doesn’t have some of my chief frustrations. Most of the plentiful lucrative gig work in the food and beverage industry is in the form of cater-waitering. Most of this work is by assignment and 99% of the time you are working with a new manager and new co-workers every single gig. While this has allowed me to get to know some very interesting people, it has also been incredibly frustrating because my co-workers often weren’t invested in the work and did a poor job or no job, resulting in more work for me and others who were working; and because the gig worker is temporary, most managers did very little in terms of managing staff. Food and beverage jobs are so much easier if you have a strong team and between my new coworkers and managers, I am really happy with the golf club team.

The golf club pays weekly so perhaps my “Gig Income Reports” will become “Gig/Part-Time Income Reports.” We will see.


As of today, November 1st, my refinance went from “preapproved” to “approved.” While I know some of the Pennyfolk (hey, Paula) have well-reasoned reservations, for the moment, I am incredibly excited about my new interest rate (3.50%) and how far I have come in my student loan repayment journey.

October was a good month.

Gig Income Report (Earned through 10/29/21): $75.24

For the week ending 10/29/21, I worked one (1) shift for a total of 4.18 hours, and earned $75.24, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $50.00.

I had to work this past weekend for University B and this was a short shift I picked up after an already long Saturday. I immensely regretted signing up for this gig on the way to it but it turned out not to be that bad. While it wasn’t much, this snowflake payment kept my focused on my goal of paying off PSL 3 this year and getting below $90K in student loan debt.

You can read more about how I am landing gigs in Gig Tales: The Apps or how I determine how much money goes towards my student loans in Gig Tales: The Math. Although, at this point, how much I set aside for taxes, gas, and car wear-and-tear is a bit arbitrary. I have now started balancing how much I set aside against recent expenditures (e.g. $705.00 on brand new tires) and the fact that a lot of my gig income expenditures are tax-deductible. For the most part, I am withholding (setting aside in savings) between 20-30% of the income I receive from gigs.