Re: Obama’s Student Loan Initiatives

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Like many of you who have been to college, we have mounds of student loan debt.  I know that my heart sunk the first time I signed an MPN (master promissory note); my wife cried when she first signed hers.  In fact, most of the $160k+ that we have in debt is from going to college.  Mr. Obama proposed a change in the student loan program on two fronts: 1) better educate incoming college students as to the costs of college and 2) make loan consolidation payments comprise only 10% of one’s income.  The Republicans countered with a proposal of their own: slow the growth of tuition.  Hear about my thoughts after the break… Continue reading

CT State Withholding Follow-up

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Hey, all.  Yes, my suspicions were correct.  My withholding is not supposed to be 20%, like on my last paycheck!  The program my employer uses made a HUGE boo-boo, so now we’re having to finagle the program to make it withhold the correct amount, which my CPA says should be 5% in my current bracket.  We think that the program is trying to withhold for the entire year that I haven’t worked in CT!  Oh, well, we’re going to get it straightened out at any rate.  Even if Connecticut is still giving tax refunds, I don’t want to be in a situation like some California tax payers where they are getting IOU’s from their government instead of tax refunds!

~Seth

The Joys of a New State

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As if planning and actually moving my stuff 1,600 miles wasn’t hard enough, I am now engaged in bureaucratic warfare with my home state.  Soon upon arriving, we were fortunate for both of us to find jobs within a week.  My wife, a special ed paraprofessional by trade, was asked to get fingerprinted soon after beginning her new position.  However, we both still had our Oklahoma licenses and the cop just cocked his head at us like the RCA dog when we tried to have her fingerprinted.  (For those of you too young to remember those commercials, here’s that beloved dog).  “I’m sorry, but I can’t use your Oklahoma license because the address is no longer valid.  I need a current address.”  Sigh… We have no current address since we cannot get into the duplex for another two weeks…  More on what we do, right after the jump… Continue reading

On the Topic of “Mad Money”…

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Hey everyone! It’s Stacey writing today’s post. Today was payday for my restaurant job — woohoo! I deposited 75% of my check into savings, kept back a little over 10% for tithe and offering, and the rest went into my pocket for a little “fun money” — which to me, equates to “coffee.” You have to understand how important the concept of “mad money” is to me. My husband could cash an entire check and put it in the bank without missing a cent of it. Not me. It’s just the way God wired me, and my own money personality. “Mad money” is SUPER important to me. Seriously. When I don’t have a little fun money in my pocket — even if it’s a couple dollars — I feel frustrated and somewhat powerless over my financial situation.

It’s not like I go overboard when it comes to fun money. I just need a little…even if it’s as pathetic as checking the couch for spare change and finding enough to get a dollar brew of coffee at Mickey D’s. As we’ve tightened our collective financial belts, I have found some creative and less expensive alternatives to the “evil S,” as my husband calls Starbucks, for my caffeine fix.  For example, I can go to Big Y and stock up on Frappucinos, which cost me a little over $1.50 a piece, versus the $2+ you’ll pay at Starbucks. I’ve also found that I really enjoy a pumpkin coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, which is in season at this time of the year, and costs about $1.58. I’ve also learned to taper off the sugar in my brews. Not only is not sugaring down my coffee better for my waistline, it costs me much less when I order a plain coffee “black,” as opposed to a “grande skinny white mocha, extra hot, no whip” at the Evil S.

I say all that to say this: if you are the kind of person who is like my husband and can squirrel away money like nobody’s business, count yourself blessed. If, however, you find yourself saying, “I really want to pay off my debts, but I need a little flexibility in my budget for some mad money,” don’t feel as though you have to beat yourself up for your personality makeup. Just make sure you and your spouse communicate about money and what spending or saving means to each of you personally. For example: to my husband, his way of showing me he loves me is by saving me money on a purchase, or by purchasing something that will save me money in the long run. But for me, there is no better way to show me that you love me than to purchase me something on the fly just because you were thinking of me, even if it is somewhat trivial or seemingly useless. It makes me feel loved.

God designed us all with different money personalities, and what makes the difference as we journey toward debt freedom is not whether we’re a spender or a saver, but rather whether we are working together with our spouse, being honest, and always using money to show that we love them — whether it’s spontaneously buying a Starbucks drink for them or stopping by the bank to deposit their check as a whole.

Here’s to one day closer to debt freedom! *sips Dunkin’ Donuts coffee*

Blessings,

Stacey

The Beginning: $163,715.89 to go

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“Hello, world!” Those words were used to introduce students and programmers to the C programming language in the 70s. Helloworld… hmm. We echo those momentous words today: “Hello, readers!” O brave new world, that has such people in it!

We are Seth and Stacey, two former students now entering the professional world. We attended a small private Christian college for our undergrad degrees, where we first met, and a larger public university for our graduate degrees. Consequently, we walked out with a large sum of debt. After avoiding the inevitable, we sat down with the help of Mint.com and wrote down all our debts:

$163,715.89

Most of that figure comes from our student loans, with only about $2000 of that figure being revolving debt. We normally carry a much smaller load in this category, but we recently moved half way across the country to Connecticut, where Seth’s from, because his stepdad passed away suddenly. Family comes first. As the months and years pass by, we expect to make smart financial decisions to eventually eliminate this debt.

We welcome your input, support, and comments. Please feel free to write us once we get our contact page put up, but feel free to comment in the mean time. Never be afraid to ask us questions, but we ask that you take any of our comments with a grain of salt. But before we get started, we should let you know that these posts are never intended to be qualified advice or be your sole source of information on a subject: PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE MAKING ANY FINANCIAL DECISION, and certainly consult a professional in the field. With that said, we invite you to join us and read about our journey!

Be blessed,

Seth & Stacey