-$99,927.35: Goodbye, FOREVER, Six Figure Student Loan Debt!

Ya’ll, I almost missed it! I was so focused on chipping away at Private Student Loan 3 (PSL3), and getting that balance below $1,000.00 that I didn’t initially notice that the gig app payment I made on Monday brought me under $100,000.00 in student loan debt.

I’m going to be honest, I’m in shock right now. I don’t know how to feel. And I can’t even call anyone because I have never told anyone exactly how much student loan debt I have. I guess it will have to be a solo turnup at home this evening. I’m smiling so hard my face hurts.

While writing this, I did a cursory search of the internet to see if there were posts from other folks celebrating making it under the six-figure mark. I haven’t really found anything so I went and read an oldie but goodie from Double Debt Single Woman.

I’ll leave the long breakdown post for August 1st where my balance should be a few dollars higher, due to interest, but still below six-figures. As I get paid monthly, August 1st will also be the day to celebrate finally paying off PSL3, and moving on to the next student loan.

Until then, thank you all so much for your support throughout this journey. Because of you, I had some place to come share my excitement.

Gig Tales: The Math

Let’s get one thing straight: Gig apps, like traditional staffing agencies are far more lucrative for those who run them than for those who work for them. This is perhaps true of all businesses, but I think most business have a bit more skin in the game than staffing agencies/gig apps who are middle men in the truest sense of the expression. While the idea that someone else is offering my labor for up to 40% more than they are paying me certainly bothers me, in this instance, it is the “cost” of doing business. For that reason, it is really important that I treat gig work like a business. Unlike my work at University B, gig work is not a career, there is no room for advancement, not benefits, no personal or professional development, and no other perks beyond the occasionally free staff meal. The relationship I have with the gig app is entirely transactional and it is important that I do my best to determine the ongoing value of the transaction on my end as they endlessly do for their end.

When I decided to join the gig apps, I initially created this gig tracker. I wanted to track the projected shift vs. the actual shift (this helps with determining whether or not to accept a gig if a client consistently cuts staff early), the rate of pay, billed hours, the distance from my home to the event location, and the actual payment. I then planned to use this information to determine my vehicle costs (billed to myself at the IRS rate of $0.50/mile), uniform costs (if the requested uniform required a piece of clothing I did not already own), and taxes (most gigs hire workers as 1099 independent contractors and do not take out taxes; however, Instawork in particular has quite a few clients for which W-2 documentation is required). I would then use these “costs” to determine whether or not it was worth it to accept a gig.

It took me exactly four gigs to figure out that long term this level of tracking would become both tedious and discouraging. However, that realization did not give me the right to not account for these costs (reread spiel up above about me evaluating my gig work like a business). Instead, I have decided to withhold a flat 30% of my gig earnings to account for these costs. While this is perhaps an overestimation on the tax side of things (I always receive a tax refund and it is likely that my refund would cover any taxes owed), I still want to play it safe. Further, the wear-and-tear on my car is a real cost and this money will help build a sinking fund for things like oil changes and tires.

Moving forward, I plan to do a Gig Work Income Report each Friday that accounts for money earned from the previous Friday through the immediately preceding Thursday. You can check out my Gig Work Income Report for the week ending 7/23 here. This explanation should help make it a bit more clear as to why I reported earning $113.26 at my first gig but only making an extra student loan payment of $79.28.

Gig Tales: The Apps

For some reason, my 2nd Blogiversary post lit a fire under me with regard to stepping up my efforts to earn additional income. Perhaps it was seeing that I was going to fall short of the goals I had set out for myself at the beginning of the year? Whatever the case may be, I sat down and did the math and realized that if I could make an extra $800.00 each month, I would stand a real chance of paying off Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4) this year and making it below $90,000.00 in student loan debt.

Over the past two weeks, I have been incessantly investigating how I could make additional income in a manner that was not wholly stressful when balanced against the temporal oddities of my work at University B. Eventually, I landed in a place that I should have landed a lot sooner: gig apps. Gig apps have existed for just shy of a decade now but have only recently begun to get significant press coverage as many of them have moved out of regional markets to become fully developed national staffing platforms. What is a gig app? A gig app really isn’t that much different from a traditional staffing agency. The app has clients who are seeking independent contractors and laborers for short term (with some recurring) gigs in a swathe of industries. While most apps tend to specialize in one industry (food service, warehouse/light industrial, etc.), several have opportunities across industries.

I completed my first gig Thursday, July 22nd (and was offered a permanent part-time job by the manager) and will write more on that in another post. If you are someone who only reads my blog for the numbers, that post will be up later today. The remainder of this post will be a cursory overview of stuff I could only find out once I joined the apps that seems pertinent to an understanding of my use of the apps to increase my income. (You know, the nitty-gritty stuff I wanted to know prior to joining but couldn’t find a blog where someone had written about their experience).

The Apps: Qwick, Instawork, and Tend

Enrollment/Profile: For all three of the apps I am using (Qwick, Instawork, and Tend), you have to complete a standard application with information about your schedule, gig interests, and experience. You are generally required to upload a photo of your state issued ID and a professional profile photo. The approval process for new profiles can be as long as seven (7) business days, however, across all three apps mine was approved in less than four (4).

Orientation: Qwick and Tend require you to attend a 5-minute Zoom based orientation prior to your first gig. With Qwick this can be incredibly frustrating as after your profile is approved, the app will begin sending you “matches” (gig opportunities based on your experience, interest, and availability) but you will not be able to accept gigs until after you attend the orientation. Because orientations are 1:1 and with Qwick employees, there are only so many offered each day and it can be several days before you are scheduled for an orientation. The orientation was essentially just a way to make sure you are the person you purport to be in your photo. The Qwick employee with whom I met asked me one question, asked me if I had any questions, and then told me I could begin accepting gigs as soon as the next day. In reality, I booked my first gig for the same day as my orientation. I have not attended my Tend orientation yet. It too will be with a live person, however, it does seem as though I can accept some gigs prior to attending. Instawork does not require an orientation with a live person but instead has you watch a two-minute long video (I cannot explain how badly produced this video is).

Certifications: Qwick requires you to have a food handler’s certification and an on-premises alcohol certification. You can complete both of these online, each training taking about two (2) hours. If you don’t have these certificates when you sign-up with Qwick, they will encourage you to enroll with Learn2Serve (360 Training) via their app. I would encourage you to do your own online search. I ended up enrolling in the certificate course with Learn2Serve after an online search of other training platforms, and enrolling directly through the Learn2Serve website earned me a 15% discount on both course (making them less than $7.00 each). I joined Instawork and Tend after joining Qwick and both seemed to accept the Learn2Serve certifications.

Expected Pay and Hours: Prior to signing up for a shift, the apps will show you an hourly rate, any bonus on the hourly rate for accepting the shift, the projected shift length, and the projected shift pay. I used the word “projected” because shift length can vary significantly if the work is completed faster than expected or if the event becomes overstaffed for any reason. Qwick has a shift minimum of four hours if the event is scheduled for four hours or longer. This means that even if you are sent home early, you will be paid for at least four hours. You also get paid for four hours if the client cancels the staff request less than 24-hours prior to the start of the event. This is obviously a double edged sword for all those involved. For my part, I generally decided whether or not a gig is worth accepting, even if the expected income was to drop to the four hour minimum, prior to accepting. This is an important consideration as some events are further away and require drive time (my time and wear-and-tear on my car) and once you have accepted a gig, you are no longer in a position to accept more lucrative gigs that may pop-up at the last minute.

Uniforms: Uniform request vary widely based on the client. The most common uniforms are bistro white and bistro black. Other requests have included polo shirts, jeans, brown dress shoes, etc. Generally, I do not accept a gig if I have to buy more than one item to meet the uniform standards. And even then, I give some consideration as to how difficult it will be to track down that piece. I cannot begin to explain how much more difficult it was to find a black short-sleeved polo than I was expecting… Custom uniforms can be be costly so if am unlikely to wear the requested clothing at other gigs or during my off time, I do not accept the gig.

Getting Paid: Like most things, this varies slightly across the apps. Qwick’s embedded payment platform is Stripe. You have the option of being paid “instantly” (30 minutes after the end of your shift) via a linked debit card for a 3-4% fee of your earnings. Or, you can be paid via a linked bank account in 1-2 days for free. As this money is strictly used for debt repayment, I obviously elect for free transfer and don’t have a linked debit card. Instawork pays every Thursday through a direct deposit. I have not yet been asked to enter payment of banking information by Tend and can update this post once I know more.

Ratings: Most apps require you to check-in upon arrival with the specified gig manager; some gigs will have a check-in approval code that the manger will have to give you prior to you being able to clock-in. At the end of your shift, you also checkout with them. At that time, they have the ability to rate you, and you have the ability to rate them, on a five-star scale. With Qwick, a QwickScore is generated once you work ten (10) gigs. The QwickScore is a reliability and professionalism metric and it is important because it factors into the apps algorithm for the order in which workers receive gigs. The better your QwickScore, the higher up you are in the ranking to be offered the best paying gigs. While the ranking and feedback workers give businesses also matters, Qwick is less explicit as to what scoring would result in a business being removed from the app. Instawork takes it a step further and and in addition to giving businesses a ranking, they also allow workers to post “feedback” or “advice” about the gig that can be seen by other workers. As you can imagine, this advice oscillates between being useful for gig evaluation to petty grievances often tied to worker (under) performance.

Gig Snipping: I know, snipping isn’t just for eBay. As explained above, the higher your rating, the earlier you get to see premium paying gigs before other workers. Unfortunately, most of the apps require you to work a certain number of gigs before your rating begins to affect the gig availability algorithm (although negative behaviors affect it immediately). This means you don’t see gigs until after well rated workers have already gotten to see them which means by the time they get to you, you have to be VERY quick as to whether or not you want a gig. Unfortunately, there have been times where before I could even scroll to the bottom of the post to see where the gig was located it would already have been accepted by another worker.

My impression thus far: At some point, some long time from now, I will do a brief update post about the peculiarities of each app and its utility (for me) in generating additional income. For now, I will say that they seem to be as much as advertised. Like any other job, if you show up, and work hard, then the apps work well and it seems like a convenient way to earn additional income.

Gig Income Report (Earned through 7/23) – $113.26

Okay. I am putting the cart way before the horse on this one (aren’t idioms fun?) and I have a lot to explain but I didn’t want to get a backlog of posts to write and then start procrastinating writing. The short version is that in an effort to pay off Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4) this year, I have decided to venture into the world of gig apps. In another post(s), I will explain all that entails and what my experience has been thus far, but for now, I just want to get a past due income report up. Yea, okay, that needs an explanation as well…

Briefly, work through gig apps is generally paid within 1-2 days of the end of the shift (however, there is one app that pays weekly on Thursday). In an effort to keep myself motivated and to drag you all along for the journey, I am going to post a weekly gig income report each Friday that includes money earned the previous week (so Friday through the immediate preceding Thursday).

For the week ending 7/23/21, I worked one (1) shift on Thursday, June 22nd (the day I worked my first gig on any app) and earned $113.26, resulting in an extra student loan payment of $79.28. In another posts (I know, but I already mentioned I needed to write this above) I will further breakdown things like my average hourly rate, the type of gigs I’m working, and why the amount of my gig income is different from the amount of my extra student loan payment.

For now, that’s it.

Blogiversary: Year 2

Despite recent events, I am in a much better place mentally, emotionally, and financially, if not physically (working on that), than I was last year. For that reason, pardon me as I fully turn up the Tony! Toni! Toné! and host a somewhat more jubilant celebration of my 2nd Blogiversary. (WARNING: Lengthy post ahead…)

Whoot, what a year. I struggled to figure out what this post should be. Should it just be a reflection on the modest goals I set last year, with new goals for this year? Because July is halfway through the year, should it be a mid-point check-in on how I am doing with respect to my calendar year goals? Also, does it make sense to have blogiversary goals that are different from my calendar goals? What is the real distinction between the two? As I am often wont to do in these situations, I decided to permute and do both…

But first, let’s get to the numbers!

Student Loan Debt Journey

Blog Start – July 4, 2019: -$133,259.74

1st Blogiversary – July 4, 2020: -$119,119.98

2nd Blogiversary – July 4, 2021: -$101,626.31

That is…that is progress. It should also be noted during this time that I saved $5,000.00 in an emergency fund. Given my income during this time period has been just under $50,000.00, this really isn’t bad at all.

Review of Second Year Goals

1) Move my blog from Blogger to another platform and improve the overall appearance and readability.PASS! Like most moves for better digs, the “Ms. Afro Penny” WordPress site is pricier than my “Debt End Date” site at Blogger but the site looks a lot better and posting is a bit more enjoyable. And when I post more, I feel more accountable for my financial choices and every bit of accountability is helpful when your journey will be as long as mine.

2) Post at least twice per month including a student loan balance update post on or about the first of the month.FAIL! I think I am always worried about posting irrelevant content and never want to post unless I really have something to say. This goal will likely return…

3) Establish an alternative income stream bringing in at least $500.00 more each month.FAIL! I achieved this early in the year but decided to switch from steady part-time work to more lucrative contract work, which meant the ups and downs of contract work.

4) Reduce student loan debt below $100,000.00.FAIL! This was a recent fail that should have been a fail much earlier in the year but temporarily moving back home with my parents, due to my apartment flooding, put me back on track….only for this goal to be derailed by May galivanting with my bestie.

5) Refinance student loans at more favorable interest rates.N/A? The pandemic has meant that there was an interest rate abatement on federal student loans which meant a refinance would not have been a good choice. I could have refinanced my remaining loans but given the lower interest rates due to the pandemic, and the fact that all of them are targeted for payoff within the next year, it didn’t seem like the right move for now. For now.

Ultimately, it doesn’t make sense to me to have blogiversary goals and calendar year goals that overlap. Thus, moving forward, blogiversary goals will be strictly related to blogging/vlogging and calendar year goals will be finance related.

Midpoint Check-In on 2021 Financial Goals

1) Reduce my overall student loan balances below $100,000.00 – On track. This should have been accomplished this month but will definitely be accomplished next month.

2) Reduce my overall student loan balances below $90,000.00 Unlikely. While I will easily make it into the mid-$90Ks, it is unlikely I will make it below $90,000.00 without a significant, and unexpected, change in income over the next six months. While I have been flirting with getting a part-time job again, I still don’t know that this would be enough to get me below the $90K mark.

3) Payoff Private Student Loan 3 (PSL3) (-$10,666.59 as of 1/1/2021) – On track. Assuming no unexpected costs, this should happen next month. My balance is currently under $1500.00 and I’m itching to pay it off.

4) Payoff Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4) (-$9,997.13 as of 1/1/2021) – Unlikely. Paying of this loan would get me below the $90,000.00 threshold but see explanation above as to why getting it done this year is unlikely.

5) Weekly blog post

6) Biweekly vlog (YouTube) AND Instagram* post

These will no longer be 2021 Financial Goals as they are really blog related.

7) Increase part-time/side monthly income to $1000.00Not on track. However, I am still willing to give myself a pass on this if I can make this happen before the end of the year.

8) Establish sinking fundsNot on track. I had started this in March to pay for my May gallivanting but it got wiped out by deposits for my new houseshare. I still have time to turn this around.

9) Cashflow final coursework and application process for medical school – I have been on track. More on this is another post.

Ugh. So many words. Overall, it’s looking dicey…but I can still turn it around.

Finally, my Third Year Blog Goals:

1) Blog at least twice a month.

2) Vlog at least once a month.

That’s it.

And finally, finally, a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who take time to read my blog, and especially those of you who take time to comment. I’d like to think I’d keep writing even if no one were reading but I don’t really believe that to be true. Having to post my debt updates each month helps immensely with accountability and that would be impossible without you. So…THANK YOU!

July 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

To the unexciting and decidedly ho hum numbers…

AccountDebtDebt (7/1/19)Min. PaymentInterest Rate
Private Student Loan 1$0.00-$10,231.32$110.460.000%
Private Student Loan 3-$2,325.63-$12,580.49$153.826.590%
Private Student Loan 4-$9,502.33-$13,280.33$45.403.625%
Private Student Loan 2-$6,853.77-$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-$3,723.48-$4,581.00$60.418.000%
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.000.000%
University Student Loan 3-$443.14-$1,031.21$30.008.000%
University Student Loan 4-$245.50-$857.81$30.008.000%
Personal Student Loan$0.00-$1,875.70$312.620.000%

June 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$101,983.60

July 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$101,626.31

Total Payments: $457.31

Net Difference: $357.29

If you read my June 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update post then this pitiful update should come as no surprise. (For folks who might be reading my blog for the first time, I get paid once a month, on the 1st of the month, so my balance updates reflect payments that were made during the previous month). Because June’s discretionary income was spent paying off my expensive gallivanting with my bestie in May, I didn’t put anything towards my student loans beyond the minimum payments. Thus, this super sad update.

This post was really just to keep my honest and there really isn’t much more to say.

Private Student Loan 3 (PSL3) Update

With my July 1st payment, PSL3 is now solidly under -$1,500.00 (which will be reflected in my August student loan balance(s) update). While this student loan will absolutely be gone in August, the low balance has me feeling “itchy” and like I want to take on whatever slightly above minimum wage, part-time job is necessary to help me pay it off as soon as possible. While I talked about investing my time in more lucrative work in another post, one of the things I didn’t calculate in the “more lucrative contract work” vs. “steady part-time gig” calculation is that steady part-time gigs are less impacted by what is happening in the rest of your life. Often, part-time gigs are just a place you go, show-up, do your job, and leave. The upheaval in my life as of late has had me wishing I had a part-time gig (ideally involving manual labor) where I could go and do just that. I even went so far as to browse a couple of part-time job postings before deciding not to apply, as I will return to commuting to work on August 1st and my schedule will be less certain. Ugh.

Tomorrow is my two-year blogiversary and while I am not where I wanted to be or could be at this point, there are definitely some things worth celebrating.

That time my room flooded…

This post title should seem terrifyingly familiar to a post I wrote almost exactly six months ago…

As of today, I have been in my new place for exactly thirty days. Move-in day did not go smoothly and a couple of things had to happen so that I could be comfortable (more on that later). But for the most part, closing in on the end of the month, all was well and I was getting more situated. That all changed last Thursday when I stepped out of my room to go to the kitchen…

As I stepped out of the door, the carpet made a crunching sound under my feet and felt…wet. As I got further down the hallway, the carpet felt dry and no longer made the crunching sound. So I walked back to the wet area and realized the carpet was much, much wetter than I initially understood. Other than my room, bathroom, and the external storage closet, the hot water heater closet is the only other space on my floor. As my bathroom was dry, I opened the hot water heater closet to find the water heater leaking, and almost an inch of water on the concrete floor. I quickly texted my roommates and grabbed a bucket to stem the flow of water.

Notice the amount of water displaced by my foot.
This is the bucket and pan used to capture leaking water. This is the amount of water captured after six hours passed overnight. I had to change this bucket every five hours for four days.

SERIOUSLY? HOW? WHY? And in WHAT terrible Tyler Perry film am I trapped?

I cannot begin to explain how sad and depressed I was in that moment. Over the next six days I spent countless hours on the phone making appointments with plumbers and other contractors, only to be no-showed by several. I have two amazing housemates (more on that later) but we were consistently turned down for service by contractors because we were not the home owner for liability reasons. This was made further complicated by the fact that the home owner lives in Asia and does not have home owner’s insurance, so she is reluctant to spend very much on repairs. (I found out through some housemate chats that a year ago one of the air conditioners broke and cost her quite a bit. This house was built in 2006 and, unsurprisingly, without some maintenance and tending, it is around this time that thing begin to wear…) This process was made all the more vexing by the fact that the landlord initially seemed to take no level of responsibility, never checked in on what was happening, and was only in contact with us after we initiated communication. Ugh.

So after four days of no hot water and even more days walking around on a soggy, soaking wet carpet, a new hot water heater has been installed, the carpet has been ripped out, and the floors are drying.

The hallway after carpet removal. So much water was on the floor.
My bedroom after the carpet removal. The dark spots are marks on the concrete and not mold.

It is from this place that I write. After the challenges at move-in, I was planning to write a post entitled, “The True Cost of Cheap Rent,” however, that has taken a backseat to this past week’s ordeals. That post, along with several others as I approach my second blogging anniversary, will happen in July.

What loan should I payoff next? VOTE! (2)

I know. I know. Why am I worried about the next student loan I’m going to pay off when PSL3 is still lingering? Well, did you not read this blog subheading? One OBSESSIVE post at a time. Further, I sometimes have analysis paralysis where my need to investigate all options to a level of minutiae result in me procrastinating or not making a decision until it is too late…which sometimes results in me making a poor choice. So, you’re judgement of me aside…

In September of 2020, I asked the Pennyfolk which loan I should payoff next. Six of the eight responses said PSL3. I began targeting PSL3 in December 2020 and next month, assuming no unforeseen obstacles, it should be paid off. While paying off PSL3 is my primary focus, looking down the road just a bit helps me keep focus on exactly why I make the day to day financial choices that I do. Because it’s not just PSL3, it’s all the financial choices I will need to make long after PSL3 is paid off.

As I stated in my 2021 Financial Goals post, the plan this year has very much been to pay off PSL3 and then PSL4, and finally rid myself of 1) PSL3’s egregious interest rate, 2) AES as a student loan servicer, and 3) the large minimum payment associated with PSL4. However, yesterday, when I logged into my student loan servicing sites to get the “high” of seeing my balances a wee bit lower, I noticed something…

PSL4 – 06/02/2021

PSL2 – 06/02/2021

Hint: Look at “Unpaid Interest” and “Outstanding Interest.”

Yea…so, despite the fact that PSL2 has a balance of -$6,827.01 and PSL4 has a balance of -$9,474.11, PSL2 generates the same amount of interest as PSL4 because it has an interest rate that is 1.36% higher. I feel like at this point I don’t have the right to be shocked by how terrible interest is anymore but AHHHHHH!

It was after the scream that my mind began opening up to another plan… My University Student Loans have a combined, weighted interest rate of 6.87% per month and a current balance of -$7,475.12. I was not really considering paying off these loans next, last September, however, seeing how significantly interest impacts debt repayment has put these firmly on my radar. I have hesitated to pay these off because they have friendly terms, including interest free forbearance if you enroll full time in school; however, that only seems important if I wouldn’t have these paid off by the time I would enroll full time next fall. If I am enrolled full time next fall.

The last and largest loan group are my federal student loans which have interest rates that go from kind to egregious. However, there is no incentive to pay these off ahead of my other student loans while there is a federal interest and payment forbearance (although it likely ends in September). Right now, it is my goal to whittle down my student loan balance as fast as I can before applying for a refinance on my federal student loans.


June 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

The countdown to under $100,000.00 in student loans has officially begun. Hmmm, rereading that seems super sad…whatever. To the numbers!

AccountDebtDebt (7/1/19)Min. Payment
Private Student Loan 1$0.00-$10,231.32$110.46
Private Student Loan 3-$2,466.86-$12,580.49$153.82
Private Student Loan 4-$9,518.53-$13,280.33$245.40
Private Student Loan 2-$6,918.38-$8,271.15$93.30
Federal Student Loan 1-$21,440.37-$20,583.34$0.00
Federal Student Loan 2-$13,946.84-$13,457.55$0.00
Federal Student Loan 3-$11,184.47-$10,737.40$0.00
Federal Student Loan 4-$7,748.09-$7,518.58$0.00
Federal Student Loan 5-$5,561.12-$5,520.10$0.00
Federal Student Loan 6-$3,147.30-$2,849.21$0.00
Federal Student Loan 7-$2,863.10-$2,649.80$0.00
Federal Student Loan 8-$2,457.12-$2,538.91$0.00
Federal Student Loan 9-$2,307.18-$2,047.30$0.00
Federal Student Loan 10-$2,003.02-$1,813.31$0.00
Federal Student Loan 11-$1,639.01-$1,573.49$0.00
Federal Student Loan 12-$1,144.25-$1,035.88$0.00
University Student Loan 1-$3,795.02-$4,581.00$60.41
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.00
University Student Loan 3-$474.47-$1,031.21$30.00
University Student Loan 4-$277.88-$857.81$30.00
Personal Student Loan$0.00-$1,875.70$312.62

May 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$104,040.67

June 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$101,983.60

Total Payments: $2,157.31

Net Difference: $2,057.07

Not bad! Only $100.24 went to interest this month! Most of that has to do with the continuing low interest rates and the federal student loan interest and payment forbearance; and, a tiny amount has to do with my shrinking balances on loans with more egregious interest rates like Private Student Loan 3.

However, the bigger story is that I am now less than $2,000.00 away from being under $100,000.00 in student loan debt. At the moment, this is bittersweet. As I shared in my June 2021 Budget Update, I spent all of May traipsing along the eastern seaboard with my best friend. While this was a blast and something I mostly don’t regret, it’s hard not to acknowledge that the $2,426.22 in unplanned spending in May is considerably more than the $1,983.60 in additional student loan payments I could have made today to bring me under $100,000.00 in student loan debt. Ugh. That hurts. For this reason, my under $100,000.00 in student loan debt dance will have to wait until July at the earliest. (Note: As I was writing this, I realized I actually had saved more for my May trip, but that the non-emergency savings had gotten reallocated as deposits for my new houseshare).

Alright, I wanted to get this one posted before I became consumed with moving over the next few days. While this isn’t as gleeful as an update as it could have been, I still feel like I am moving in the right direction and that June will find me back on track to meeting my financial goals for the year.

June 2021 Budget

Whew, May is mostly over and not a day too soon. Neither my wallet nor my waistline could handle it for much longer. To the budget…

Unplanned Spending – Okay, let’s talk about the obvious: I had unplanned spending of $2,426.22 in May. How did that happen? Well, I spent a month traveling the eastern seaboard with my best friend. We visited Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, the Outerbanks, Charleston, Savannah, Panama City Beach, Mobile, Biloxi, and New Orleans. Generally, we spent a couple of days in each city, staying longer in Charleston and New Orleans. It was an awesome almost month’s long trip and I only regret not budgeting better for it. Initially, the plan had been to stay in two different places for the month and perhaps split the cost of a house rental. However, things changed late in the game and my bestie suggested we visit a bunch of different cities. As I have stated previously, my bestie and I are in much different places financially and I should have maybe pushed back a bit against this idea. Spilled milk.

My only saving grace here is that as a result of tuition reimbursement and an outstanding consulting work payment that paid, I was able to immediately payoff the balances from this trip without dipping into my emergency fund. Yay! However, this means I will also have the lowest debt repayment month update on July 1st that I have had in awhile since it also took all of the money usually targeted for debt repayment to pay it off. Nay.

FDGM – The next thing you probable noticed was the skimpy $122.91 food, dining, gas, and miscellaneous budget. Yea, I know. Even if I scrimp, it is unlikely that I will be able to get by on that little in June. However, a couple of things are working in my favor… First, my new diet. So the traveling also meant eating out almost every night and enjoying decadent foods. While delicious, it did terrible things for my waistline, and my budget, and I will tighten it up significantly in June when I also get back to regular exercise. The move out of my parents’ home (more on that below) means I will also spend less on gas getting to everywhere. Additionally, I am expecting one more very small check (less than $150.00) that I would love to put towards debt repayment that will actually go towards helping me meet ends so that I can resume meaningful debt repayment on July 1st.

Rent – I am really excited to be moving into new digs on June 1st. The property is cute, centrally located, and a steal at everything included for $550.00. While staying at my parents’ home would have been the better financial choice (and they have suggested I stick around several times since I told them I was moving out), this is the much better choice for me overall. While I told Paula (hey, lovely) I would break down what the “true” cost of moving my June budget update, I am thinking it’s better left to another post.

I recently admitted, under direct questioning by Dude Avery, that I, ya know, like, like him. He seems to, ya know, like, like me as well, so hopefully another bonus of moving back to the city is getting to spend time with him.

Storage – Because I can’t move into my new digs until June 1st, I had to keep my storage unit for June. It is my hope that I will be able to ditch this for July or at the very least downgrade to a smaller unit. We will see.