monthly updates, numbers, student loans


Ok, time for a monthly update! Here’s how things went in August:

Debt payoff numbers update: I put $1,000 towards my loans in August, and my balance is now down to $48,797. That’s almost exactly $8,000 below the point where I started in January.

I’ve actually put a total of $9,518 towards my loans since January; the ~$1,500 difference is due to the interest that has accrued over the past eight months. However, because I’ve paid down a bunch of the principal, interest is not accruing quite as quickly as it was initially. Back in January, interest was accruing at a rate of $10.15 per day; today, it is accruing at a rate of just $8.79 per day. This basically means that I am saving myself $1.36 per day, or $9.52 per week, which is roughly equal to the cost of five packages of Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Which is awesome because I love Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (and that’s not an affiliate link – I just really love them!).

Debt payoff emotions update: It’s complicated (see last week’s post).

Job update: I now have two jobs.

Extra income update: Zilch in August. Oh, but get this: Capital One (I have their Venture credit card) sent me a letter saying that if I opened a new checking account with them and made two direct deposits into it within 90 days, they’d give me $400. And I said, sure, absolutely, I will take $400 any day. So now I have two checking accounts instead of one.

Emergency fund update: Still at $1100. Well, $1103.86 to be exact.

Retirement fund update: I hit my monthly goal of $500, split between my Roth IRA and 403(b).

Travel fund update: Currently at $451 (up from $398 last month). My travel fund consists of my travel rewards dollars plus the balance of my Digit account.

*          *          *

I had sort of forgotten about this, but I’ve technically had this blog for just about a year. I think I created it on August 20 or 21, 2015. It blows my mind to think about everything that has changed in my life over the past year. Every year brings some degree of change, but this past year brought an unusual amount for me.

A year ago, in September 2015, I was still a student. I had been working in the same windowless lab for the past five years. I had not yet started writing my dissertation. I owed almost $57,000 in student loans. I did not know what I was doing after graduation.

Today, in September 2016, I am no longer a student (and hope never to be a student again in any official sense). My dissertation is written, defended, and published. I have several more papers that are in press or under review. I’ve presented my work at two conferences in the past year. I have a job that I’ve now been at for six months and am starting a second job this month. I owe a little under $49,000 in student loans.

It feels like a lot of change.

This upcoming year will almost certainly bring a lot of change too. I won’t spend time speculating about details here, but I’m definitely curious to know what updates I might be writing about in a blog post in early September 2017.

Speaking of change, I’ve also made a couple of small changes on the blog recently.

One is that I’ve removed all of my half-hearted attempts to make any type of affiliate income (or at least I think I have—there weren’t that many in the first place, but I still could have missed some…if you see any remaining, please let me know so I can get rid of them). I want this blog to be a space for writing, not selling. Some other blogs do both, and that’s fine. But right now I feel really strongly that I just want this blog to be about writing.

On a related note, I’ve also changed/simplified my bio and logo on the main page. As it now reads, the theme of the blog is figuring out how to pay off your student loans while also living your life. Because that really is the theme that has emerged slowly over the past year: I want to get rid of my loans, but I don’t want to compromise my health or relationships or sanity in doing so. So how do I find a balance? That ‘s the question I’m trying to explore here.

I think this is the shortest post I’ve ever written, but it says pretty much everything I have to say at the moment.

So bye for now, and happy September!

18 Comments on “Change

    1. Haha, I’m glad you agree! I especially love these particular peanut butter cups because they seem a little bit like a health food. 🙂

  1. Mmmm. Peanut butter cups! I love watching us all grow and develop as we blog. Think of all of us a year ago! This community is so helpful and awesome and congrats on all your changes. I hope your two jobs isn’t ending up being too much.

    1. Yes, think of us a year ago! It’s funny that there was a group of us that all started right around the same time: you, me, Penny, Des (or maybe she started a little earlier?)…I feel like I’m missing someone, but anyway, yay for change and growth and development! 🙂

  2. So, I think we need to make Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups a new unit of currency. 😉 I never buy them with my own money, but I definitely get them when I’m traveling for work… work has become, quite literally, my sugar daddy. Haha.

    Congrats on hitting your one-year blog mark! You know I love your blog, so I’m glad you’re still at it. Find whatever pace feels right to you, and we’ll all be happy to read whenever that is. 🙂 And I so completely appreciate your going ad and affiliate-free. No disrespect to those who do it (many of our best blog friends do!), but I think for me at least it has the potential to introduce the subtlest bias, or make me question why I’m doing it to begin with, so I totally feel your intent of making this a space for writing, not selling. 🙂

    1. I have to say that Justin’s peanut butter cups are surprisingly cheap. I feel like they could charge up to $3 because they are marketed as a sort of designer health food dessert, but I can easily find them for $1.89. Too bad MY boss won’t reimburse me for them, haha. On the bright side, I found out that my boss *will* reimburse me for Uber rides (within reason), so that is definitely a win. I still mostly take public transportation and walk, but it’s nice to have a backup option if I’m in a pinch or running late.

      Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts about the whole affiliate income phenomenon, most of which I did not include in this post. But I suppose the most important one is that it did make me feel a bit confused about why I was blogging in the first place. So I feel like, better to just leave it behind. Now if only companies would stop emailing me asking me to do collaborations and sponsored posts…

  3. I’m not sure how I stumbled on to your blog – it was somewhere down the rabbit hole of one blog linking to another blog, linking to another. Over the past few weeks I have read most of your posts starting at the beginning. You are inspiring! I am a generation older than you and fortunately I was not caught in the overwhelming student loan debt load situation that you and many other people face today. Paying off such a large amount in such a short time is really amazing. Your awesome financial habits will serve you well as you look for more experiences with less planning. I look forward to your updates. You have a great writing style.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Jean. I’m hoping to keep writing regularly this fall, though it’s a bit harder now that I have two jobs! I’ll try to do monthly updates at the very least. 🙂

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