Tag Archives: Student Loans

January 2012 Wrap-Up

It’s hard to believe that January 2012 is coming to a close today!  It started off as a really rough month with lots of bad news regarding the health on Nick’s side of the family, but we just got word last night that the scary health issues that the women on his side of the family are battling both got very good prognosis from doctors, so we are ending the month on a good note!

I just got word today from one of the jobs I interviewed for that they have a hiring freeze so I didn’t get an offer from them.  I’m still waiting to hear back from the other job I recently interviewed for.  It’s torture waiting to hear if they will offer it to me or not, but I’m trying to embrace the exciting part of the unknown of where my career will take me next.

I started 2012 with just a couple of “resolutions”.  The first of which was to do strength training three times a week.  I’ve done okay, not great, with that goal, doing strength training somewhere between two to three times a week.  Another goal I had been to prep meals ahead of time, on the weekends, to make cooking dinner a quicker process during the week.  This goal has been a TOTAL FAIL.  I have yet to do it, but I’m not that upset about it.

With February starting tomorrow, I thought I’d make a couple of goals for the month.  I recently read in a magazine that you should take your body weight, divide it by two and drink that number in ounces of water every day.  Rounding up to a nice, whole number, that would be 65 ounces of water every day!  I’m going to make that the first goal of February.  That’s a LOT of water, though.  I’m not much of a drinker by any definition of the word.  I don’t drink much alcohol, but I also don’t drink that much of anything else.  My typical choice beverages are water, milk, and wine, and maybe occasionally orange juice.  If I do a tough workout, I’ll probably consume 24 ounces of water in a day, otherwise, it’s usually closer to 16 ounces.  Wine is usually 5 ounces pretty much every night with dinner.  Milk is usually 16 ounces every few days.  So in liquid consumed on a good day, I’m looking at 45 ounces total.  But as you can see from my math, just under half of that is not water.  This goal is going to be a challenge for me, but I know it’s a healthy thing to do.

My second goal is to be able to do a real tricep-push up by the end of the month. Right now, I struggle to do them on my knees, girly-style.  I can do regular push ups on my feet (as long as I’m not in Bodypump class, where I’m so fatigued by the time we get to push ups, I end up doing them girly-style).  I have such weak triceps it’s embarrassing, but I can change that by the end of the month!

On another note, Nick asked me to track my student loans as part of our merging finances (the most progress we’ve made in planning to get married… sorry, it’s not more exciting than that right now).  Up until I did this yesterday, I did not like to look at the total amount I owe.  It’s way to big and it stresses me out.  Instead, I just deal with the monthly amount, and while that is large as well, it’s a heck of a lot smaller than the big total.  Plus, I’ve just pretty much been paying interest over the last four plus years, so the grand total doesn’t seem to change that much.  Anyway, to confront the ginormous number and tackle the debt, I thought I would really track it every month.  On here.  Scary!  I’m scared to face it myself, let alone let be out there on the world-wide web, but eventually that number will shrink to nothing and actually writing it out every month will hopefully make me feel better about it (unless it ends up depressing me)!  So to make it simple, there are four student loan entities that I pay.  There are more than four student loans.  Some of those entities have multiple loans, but for simplicity’s sake I will list the payoff amount of each loan entity along with the grand total and the amount paid towards each entity and total amount paid.  I hope that makes sense.  And I hope you all don’t judge me.  It’s a lot of student loan debt!  Deep breath.  Okay, so here we go:

Pay Off Amounts:
Loan Entity 1: $57,971.67
Loan Entity 2: $2,585.95
Loan Entity 3: $63,485.83
Loan Entity 4: $42,195.72
GRAND TOTAL: $166,239.17 (YIKES!!!)

January Monthly Payments:
Loan Entity 1: $328.46
Loan Entity 2: $44.41
Loan Entity 3: $902.98
Loan Entity 4: $321.59
TOTAL PAID 01/12: $1,597.44

Okay, honestly, I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse 😦   Ugh, I hate money, especially when it leaves my bank account!  On the upside, credit card debt = $0.

This has gotten way too long, but I hope to keep track of my February goals for you all and will report back at the end of next month with a (similar) getting-out-of-student-debt status!  Happy end of January everyone!

A Journey In Mary Kay: Why I Did It

I’ve had this post topic in the back of my mind for a while, but I’ve put off writing it because I didn’t really know how it fit in to my blog.  But heck, it’s my blog, so I’ll write about whatever I want.  If you remember from The (un)Lucky Little Blue Dress post, I mentioned that I did Mary Kay for a while.  Here is the story of why I became a Mary Kay consultant.  Tomorrow’s blog will be part 2- why I got out.  (I’m breaking it up over two days because I know it will be long.  That, and I want to keep you keep you curious!)

To start this story, I have to go back before the beginning of Mary Kay, all the way back to graduating from the University of Michigan.  The day of graduation brought mixed emotions.  I was finally done with school, seven years of higher education, and no job lined up.  I was eager to be employed.  The grace period of the first batch of student loans was something minimal, like 60 days.  I didn’t want to waste time and money by going into deferment so I took the first job I was offered, packed up, and moved to Texas.  Unfortunately urban planning, and really the field of architecture, is the lowest paying profession that requires a professional degree (compared to doctors and lawyers), so my starting salary was measly.  I was getting by over those first few months, but another round of student loans were about to come out of their grace period.  Now, seven years of higher education didn’t come cheap.  I went to a private liberal arts school for undergrad, which my mom helped to pay for (thanks Mom), but I still had to take out loans to pay for the rest of it, and well, grad school, that’s another financial rant, but to give you an idea, all in all, I racked up six figures in student loans.  (I actually don’t know the exact number, but I have a rough idea.  Thinking about the exact number is too depressing for me.)  After calling the loan companies and changing the payment plans from regular to graduated (in other words, the same payment over what seems like a million years was changed to the same payment over two years, then increased to another level for the next two years, and so on over again what seems like a million years), I realized that I still didn’t make enough money.  It was getting close to the holiday season, so I decided I could pick up a retail job to bring in a little extra cash each week.  I landed a sales job at Pier One.  It was convenient, just across the street from my apartment (again, this is Dallas, so just across the street means crossing six lanes of traffic, lack of sidewalks, and walking through a huge strip mall parking lot).  So three days a week, I would go immediately from my day job to Pier One for a four-hour shift.  I didn’t get home to eat dinner until 10:00 PM.  It sucked, but a little extra cash was nice.

I stuck it out at Pier One until right around Easter, at which point I was dreading the shifts.  I wanted to have some time to myself and a second job in retail wasn’t giving me the “Me” time I needed.  Somehow, I was able to make due on just my full-time income and I did without a second part-time income.  And then the recession hit.  I saw coworkers being let go left and right and somehow, I still remained employed, but at a cost.  Our salaries were quickly cut to 80%.  My lease was up and uncertain of my future employment status, I packed up and moved in with a former coworker, renting a bedroom from her.  It was a month-to-month deal, no contract.  It was perfect for the uncertain times and it was cheap.  A few months after I moved in with her I hit the two-year mark on my loans, which meant a graduated increase.  Now my federal loan had a nice, easy increase of about $20.  While $20 was a lot during the economic circumstances, it didn’t compare to my private loan that had a one-time graduated jump of $300.  I couldn’t afford the $300 increase on this one particular student loan but I couldn’t find a way to make it go down.  Since it was private, I couldn’t consolidate it with my other loans.  I looked into moving it over to another private loan provider, but I was denied because I didn’t make enough money to support the loan (um, yeah, I don’t even know where to begin with that rejection statement).  I refused to go into deferment since the interest would keep building while I wasn’t paying.  To make the payments every month, I had to charge all my monthly expenses (food, gas, basic living needs) to my credit card.

The months passed by and I kept an eye out for other part-time employment opportunities that were worth their while.  (I learned that retail really just isn’t worth the money).  All the while, my credit card debt went up and up.  Then, by chance, a friend through the Delta Gamma Dallas Night Alumni Group asked if we could do a Mary Kay party for her.  A bunch of us girls got together on a week night some time in the middle of August of 2010 and she told us all about the company.  I had one other experience with Mary Kay several years back, but was never told all the information about the company.  She listed off all of the great things that you could earn as a Mary Kay consultant or director.  There was the cars, the trips, the jewelery, the extra cash, and the flexibility to do it when I wanted to do it.  It sounded great.  The business model was already set up.  All I had to do was follow it, and I could make some extra cash.  I filled out a “Tell Us What You Think” form and circled, “I’m interested, but need more information” and went home to tell Nick about the experience.  Nick’s first reaction was “Don’t do it”.  I told him I needed to think about it and that I was going to talk to my friend’s director later that week.

That night I went to sleep and I had a dream about Mary Kay.    Now what person in their right mind has dreams about Mary Kay, especially someone who wasn’t a consultant or director!  I took it as a sign and as I drove to work that next morning, I thought, really, what do I have to lose?  With the 90% buyback guarantee, there really wasn’t that much risk in giving it a go.  So within a day or two of my “revelation” I signed up and became a Mary Kay consultant!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Why I got out!