February 2022 – Student Loan Balance Update

As I shared in my REVISED: 2022 Financial Goals post, January has kinda felt like a hangover from the excitement and change brought by December, and not a lot nothing got accomplished on the financial front. But…to the numbers.

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

January 1, 2022 – Student Loan Balance(s): $88,878.54

February 1, 2022 – Student Loan Balance: -$88,504.21

Total Payments: $636.76 (minimum payment)

Net Difference: $374.33

Yea, I know. I’m almost embarrassed…almost. That is a pitiful amount of debt payoff and I certainly wouldn’t make my goal of getting under $60,000.00 in debt this year if I had any more months like that. However, in my defense the greater context is that once I got under $90,000.00 in debt, paid off PSL4, and got a new job in December, I pretty much lived it up for the rest of the month which included my birthday and the holidays. When my December credit card bills came due, I immediately paid them off, with nothing really left over for an additional student loan payment. As I shared in my revised goals’ post, I am embracing the Chinese (Lunar) New Year as an opportunity to give a fresh start to 2022 and to attack my goals with renewed focus. I just made my big February 1st payment and I’m decidedly back on track.

Onto my daily post…

Lunar Do-Over Day 1: February 1st

1. How much did I spend today?
$10.00 – This one kind of stings because it should have been a $0.00 spend day but I am currently traveling for my new role (there is about 10% quarterly travel) and my new colleagues are planning to take me out to Mexican tomorrow. Which is cool, because I love Mexican…except I am lactose intolerant. And since I want my new colleague to continue liking me, it meant I had to stop off at Kroger and pick up a generic lactase enzyme (e.g. Lactaid). I’m going to try and see if I can order a dairy-free dish but if not, at least I won’t be uncomfortable.

I will be traveling through Thursday which means I get to expense my meals and transportation.

February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Initial Balance: $463.77
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Remaining Balance: $451.81

2. What financial information have I learned to help me when I’m debt-free? – I recently opened up a bit more about my financial situation to a mentor (we’ll call him Mr. Pokémon) and he has slowly but surely been sharing his wisdom with me. Something of which I was totally unaware is The Rule of 55. Mr. Pokémon plans to retire early but has most of his money locked up in retirement funds. As we talked about my most recent career moves, and my career hopping past, he talked about the Rule of 55 as a reason he may stay with his current employer until he turns 55. He shared this Forbes article with me and today, I finally read it. Highlights from the article:

a) “The rule of 55 is an IRS guideline that allows you to avoid paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty on 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts if you leave your job during or after the calendar year you turn 55.”

b) “Penalty-free early withdrawals are limited to funds held in your most recent company’s 401(k) or 403(b) under the rule of 55.”

c) “You aren’t locked in to early retirement if you choose to take early withdrawals at age 55. If you decide to return to part-time or even full-time work, you can still keep taking withdrawals without paying the 401(k) penalty—just as long as they only come from the retirement account you began withdrawing from.”

I have recently thought about what early retirement might look like for me…if I’m not partnered (and maybe if I am) or if I don’t have a family (or maybe if I do). While 55 probably seems too far off for folks who have done everything right, I think 55 could potentially be a good target for me. If I am successful in paying my student loan debt off before 40 then I would have 15 years to save as much as I could for retirement; with or without the benefit of the Rule of 55. For the record, retirement for me probably doesn’t mean not working. It would mean not “having” to work or perhaps doing work about which I am passionate but not particularly well paid.

3. How have I lived abundantly? – This was pretty easy today. I am traveling in the Pacific Northwest of the United States (Washington, Oregon, Colorado, etc.) and while I am far too intense and direct of a person to live here permanently, I genuinely appreciate how much more laid back the work culture is here. Today, my new colleagues pushed me out the door early and I took a walk along the river on the way back to my hotel while listening to my current, favorite music. It was such a good day.

January 2022 – Student Loan Balance Update

If you read my 2021 Financial Review, then there isn’t much to see here. Well, that’s not exactly true… To the numbers!

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

December 1, 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): $91,622.63

January 1, 2022 – Student Loan Balance: -$88,878.54

Total Payments: $3,196.74

Net Difference: $2,744.09

So the first thing to note is that soul-crushing interest is back. Okay, okay, the first thing to note is that the table is gone. With only one student loan, it seemed to make a great deal more sense to just take a screenshot of my account since it includes all of the pertinent information. The second thing to note is that soul-crushing interest is back. Also, the Biden Administration has decided to extend the student loan payment and interest forbearance on federal student loans until May 2022 despite saying that there would be no additional payment or interest rate forbearances. Obviously, I’m not at all upset about it. Ha! Lol, can you imagine? I am clearly a upset about it. Or rather, I am upset about how I timed my refinance. However, I am really happy that our lawmakers are continuing to prioritize student loan relief for millions of Americans. So, I’ll get over myself.

I’ve stated ad nauseam that December was a huge month. No need to rehash it here. With uncertainty about what my transition at University B will look like and my new job not starting until later this month, January is going to be an odd and unpredictable month in terms of income. In my 2022 Financial Goals post, I asked you all for your help in deciding how I should approach my student loan debt repayment in 2022. If you have not already voted in the attached poll, please do so expeditiously! If you are feeling a bit more chatty, leave me a comment! For now, I will focus on paying at least $2,000.00 in student loan debt payments this month…

PAID IN FULL – Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4)

I was checking my AES mobile app once every thirty minutes after 5:30PM EST hoping to see a $0.00 balance when at 9:30PM I was suddenly no longer able to log in. Say what? Apparently, you are only able to use the mobile app when you have a balance. Which is fine because…I DON’T HAVE A BALANCE ANYMORE!

Yea. I did that. And while you all are usually the first and only folks I tell about my debt repayment successes, today the first person I told was actually my dad. It felt good.

Private Student Loan 4 Payment Recap 

The story of PSL4 has really been a story of making extra money through gig apps and part-time jobs. There is no way that I would have been able to pay off PSL4 in four and a half months without the extra income earned through hustling and leading a rather bland life. Some days it REALLY sucked and I regretted signing up for a Qwick shift or agreeing to work my schedule part-time hours but ultimately, it made paying off this loan, this year, possible.

Minimum Payment: $245.40

-$9,103.61 – Balance on August 5, 2021 when I began targeting it for repayment.
-$8,611.30 – September 1, 2021 balance
-$6,231.87 – October 1, 2021 balance
-$3,999.98 – November 1, 2021 balance
-$2,558.63 – December 1, 2021 balance
$0.00 – December 16, 2021 balance; will be reflected in my student loan balance update on January 1, 2022.

Within the span of two weeks I have celebrated making it under $90,000.00 in student loan debt AND paying off PSL4. And while that has been beyond amazing, I actually have bigger news to share tomorrow. Until then…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of the support.


-$89,467.82: Goodbye, FOREVER, $90,000.00+ Student Loan Debt!

While I almost missed getting under $100,000.00 in student loan debt, that was not the case with getting under $90,000.00. I have been analyzing for some time if I could do it and then when it might happen. Honestly, I am shocked that it happened this early in the month as I expected it wouldn’t happen until the final days of 2021. Let’s look at those glorious numbers:

Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4)
PenFed Refinance Student Loan

As I said in my December 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) update, PSL4 is doing its best to make it to 2022 but seeing the balance under $1,000.00 has me itching to dispatch it this month…

I don’t know that there really is that much more to say…I just feel so very grateful.

As always, thank you all for the support, particularly those who take the time to comment. You have no idea how much it means to have company along this journey.

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%
Total-$91,622.63$682.16

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 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.

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%
Total-$92,998.55-$128,663.26$836.01

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.

Refinance

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.

October 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

This one will be short and to the point. 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-$6,231.87-$13,280.33$45.403.625%
Private Student Loan 2-$6,660.81-$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-$3,503.40-$4,581.00$60.418.000%
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.000.000%
University Student Loan 3-$349.02-$1,031.21$30.008.000%
University Student Loan 4-$155.14-$857.81$30.008.000%
Personal Student Loan $0.00-$1,875.70$312.620.000%
Total$95,432.70-$128,663.26$836.01

September 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$98,014.00

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

Total Payments: $2,656.65

Net Difference: $2,581.30

Despite ongoing stress and disappointments in my personal and professional life, in terms of debt repayment, September was a great month. My very, very modest bonus was taxed at 50% but helped to meaningfully chip away ($750.00) at Private Loan Student 4 (PSL4).

Gig Income Update

Net Gig Income Goal for September: $600.00
Net Gig Income Actual for September: $398.56
Difference: ($201.44)
Net Gig Income Goal for October: $600.00

My program work for University B began in earnest in September and I have had to work three weekends in a row for my full-time employer, which seriously cut into my time to pick up gigs…and rest. Unfortunately, that resulted in me falling short of my gig income goal this month. While my weekend obligations for my full-time employer won’t change in October, my work on campus will settle a bit so I am hoping I have both the time and energy to pick up more shifts. For now, I am going to keep the same gig income goal for October. Especially since I’ve calculated that if I meet my gig income goal for October, November, and December, I would reach my goal of getting below $90K this year.

September 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s) Update

Whew, August was…a lot. I am only too happy to see the start of September. I feel like it is going to be a good month. Okay, enough of that. 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-$8,611.30-$13,280.33$45.403.625%
Private Student Loan 2-$6,726.38-$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-$3,577.70-$4,581.00$60.418.000%
University Student Loan 2-$3,090.59-$3,629.38$0.000.000%
University Student Loan 3-$380.41-$1,031.21$30.008.000%
University Student Loan 4-$185.75-$857.81$30.008.000%
Personal Student Loan $0.00-$1,875.70$312.620.000%
Total-$98,014.00-$128,663.26$836.01

August 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): -$99,935.49

September 2021 – Student Loan Balance(s): $98,014.00

Total Payments: $2007.47

Net Difference: $1,921.49

I mean…not bad. Despite disappointments in my personal and professional life, in terms of debt repayment, August was a pretty good month. It should be noted that the debt repayment amounts above do not reflect my very, very modest bonus, which will instead be applied to my September debt payments and reflected in my October 2021 update. This is the first balance update to reflect Private Student Loan 3 being paid off so that is exciting.

Gig Income Update

Net Gig Income Goal for August: $700.00
Net Gig Income Actual for August: $563.75
Difference: ($136.25)
Net Gig Income Goal for September: $600.00

If you will remember, my gig income goal for August was $1,000.00. However, this was a gross income goal which didn’t really make sense for reporting purposes as all of my other income is net income. For that reason, I have updated my August goal to reflect a net income goal. (Your can learn more about how I decided how much to set aside here.) After losing a weekend to a terrible summer cold and deciding not to work this past weekend, I fell short of my goal. The amount of gig work I actually performed felt about right, and I’ve decided to shoot for just a bit more than I earned in August for September.

Again, not a bad month. Thank you so much to all of you who read, and especially those who comment, for your support in August. It was so very much appreciated.

Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4)

I’m going to be honest, I am having difficulty mustering the same level of vitriol for Private Student Loan 4 (PSL4) that I had for Private Student Loan 3 (PSL3). While I wouldn’t classify any student loan as “friendly,” PSL4 had the “friendliest” terms of my private student loans. I don’t know that I would still be planing to pay this loan off next if the Pennyfolk hadn’t voted to send it to the chopping block.

Minimum Payment: $245.40
Balance as of 7/4/2019 (blog start): -$13,280.33
Balance as of 8/1/2021: -$9,486.04
Current balance: -$9,103.61

There isn’t really much more to say… In terms of my motivation, I am looking down the road a bit and I am far more interested in getting my overall student loan balance to under $90,000.00 by December 31, 2021 than I am singularly interested in dispatching this loan. However, I will try to remain focused on short term goals, like earning an additional $1,000.00 of gig income this month, and know that if I do what I am supposed to do, this loan will be felled.

PAID IN FULL – Private Student Loan 3 (PSL3)

I have logged into my AES account, the servicer for Private Student Loan 3 (PSL3), at least eight times today. Generally, if the payment is authorized prior to 1:00PM CST on a business day, the payment begins processing by 5:30PM, and is credited to the account by 8:30PM. (Yes, I know how incredibly sad it is that I have devoted grey matter to that bit of information.) Well, today AES decided to undergo “regular site maintenance” for general “security” (yes, I’m being cheeky) which meant the balance didn’t update until 10:30PM EST. But it finally did, and it was glorious.

And that’s all she wrote folks. PSL3 is official dead and gone. Well, maybe not all there is to write…

Private Student Loan 3 Payment Recap 

This student loan was targeted for repayment after the Pennyfolk weighed in and because I hated it for so many reasons. Unlike PSL1, a little luck, a little hard work, and a little momentum were on my side and I was able to start chopping away at this student loan pretty aggressively from the start.

Minimum Payment: $153.82

-$11,207.28 – Balance on December 4, 2020 when I began targeting it for repayment.
-$10666.59 – January 1, 2021 balance
-$9646.94 – February 1, 2021 balance
-$8454.39 – March 1, 2021 balance
-$6136.07 – April 1, 2021 balance reflected a portion of my tax refund and an increase in my monthly payment as a result of the generosity of my parents letting me to stay with them, rent free, after my apartment flooded.
-$4307.78 – May 1, 2021 balance
-$2466.86 – June 1, 2021 balance
-$2325.63 – July 1, 2021 balance reflected only a minimum payment in June as a result of me needing to pay off my month long gallivanting with my best friend in May.
-$847.07 – August 1, 2021 balance reflected a return to disciplined spending in July and my foray into the world of gig apps.
$0.00 – August 2, 2021 balance; will be reflected in student loan balance update on September 1st

Within the span of one week I have celebrated making it under $100,000.00 in student loan debt AND paying off PSL3. It has been kind of amazing. When you have as much debt as I do, weeks like this are often few and far between. So I am just trying to take this moment in and enjoy it…until tomorrow when I will turn my attention to the next student loan up for aggressive repayment.

As always, THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!