Month: February 2015

I hired a housekeeper!

In the spirit of getting serious about paying down debt and finding a common saving goal, I hired a housekeeper. Not to be outdone, Hubs hired a live in cook! How fancy!

How can we afford such luxury? I’ll give you a hint. My housekeeper’s name is Hubs and our chef answer to “Kate.” The chef and housekeeper are also willing to work for free. 😉

About a month ago, Hubs and I talked about the state of our apartment. We had two nagging problems. There always seems to be a mess and we stress about food. When we got deeper into it, we found that we had divided interests that weren’t being maximized properly.

He cares about the mess. I don’t. So long as the house isn’t disgusting and I can find what I need, the mess in the house doesn’t bother me. I, on the other hand, stress about the food. I worry about what’s for dinner, if there is enough variety, and the nutrition of our meals. I care about how often we are eating out and what we are eating. Hubs would be totally cool going to Five Guys every night. He’d get a Bacon Cheeseburger with mayo and onion with an order of little cajun fries. He’d be a satisfied man, and quickly weigh 500 lbs. Even with all his eating shenanigans, he’s still slim. I’m not so lucky.

To help manage both of our expectations, we split the responsibilities. I am the chef. I do all the grocery shopping and plan all our meals. I do any meal prep for the week and make dinner every night. He is the housekeeper. He keeps all things clean and tidy, which is his nature. He cleans up after dinner. My only job is to not make a mess. He’s even been doing the laundry lately, which wasn’t part of his accepted duties. Perhaps my housekeeper deserves a raise!

Since we divided our duties, we’ve both had lower stress levels. I’ve been more excited to cook and he’s been tackling nagging cleaning projects. (Hello spare bedroom where things go to die!) For me, knowing that I only need to cook has been a huge relief. I have set expectations and I’m working to leave behind what society says I should be doing as a wife. I’ve actually been helping out more with the cleaning! I guess, knowing that I don’t have to has made me want to. Bonus: My knife skills have improved!

I strongly suggest you get yourself a housekeeper!

How do you divide chores at home?

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Debt doesn’t have to be Forever

I’ve been thinking about the upcoming chapter in my life: Recent Law Grad, No Student Loans.

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. However, as I get closer to being debt free, I’ve found it more and more difficult to talk to others about it. Whenever loans come up with my law school friends (which happens all the time and not just because I’m focused on them), they are so buried in debt they can’t imagine being debt free. Usually, I can’t even get to a point where I could comfortably share my story before the conversation turns sour and the subject is changed.

I don’t know what to do with this. I want to celebrate my achievement, but I don’t want others to feel bad.  I want to show others that you can get out of student loan debt, but the excuses come faster than I can answer them. The conversation shifts so quickly into unrelateable worlds that I don’t know what to say.

For example:

My local bar association put out a survey recently about student loans. They wanted to know what you were paying each month, but not how much you owed. They wanted to know how your student loans were impacting your life, but not what you were doing about it. That bothered me. Are we all supposed to be suffering a hardship? I can’t be the only one standing up to my loans. I am genuinely curious to know how many people are accelerating their loans, so I asked a classmate what she thought. She didn’t really understand my question. She said her minimum payment should be $1400 on 10-year standard repayment. There was no room in her budget for anything at or above that. Instead of paying $1400, she’s on income-based and barely denting the interest. I suspect her overall balance is somewhere around $140,000.

With $140,000, she’s accepted that student loans are forever. Maybe they are for her. I can’t relate to her situation and she can’t relate to mine.

Having more than $100,000 in student loan debt isn’t abnormal in the law school graduate circle, but just because someone has that much, doesn’t mean that they can’t do anything about it. Yes, it will take sacrifice, but wouldn’t it be worth it? It can be done!

There isn’t an absence of people online paying off their law school debt early. At the high earning end of the spectrum, Mrs. DebtFreeJD is paying off $125,933.50 in the time it took to build the Empire State Building: 1 year and 45 days. In the middle, Natalie at The Finance Girl is tackling $206,000. She’s paying an extra $1,100 per month and has her debt down to $155,000. On the low (but growing!) end of the earning spectrum is Stephanie from SixFiguresUnder. Her husband graduated from law school in 2012 with $130,000 in student loans. They are down to $80,000 and hope to have it all paid off by the end of 2016.

For most, taking out student loans was the only way they could pay for law school. I get that. I wouldn’t have been able to go without them. However, just because the Government gives you up to 25 years to pay them back doesn’t mean you need to pay on them for that long. There are so many things you can do.

Student Loans don’t have to be forever.

2015 Goals

2014 was my first year setting goals and following up with them. I really enjoyed it, but I also found that some of my goals were too wishy washy to be effective. “Eat Clean-er”? What the heck was I thinking!?

I tried to be more deliberate in 2015. Each goal comes with a plan.

I turned my priorities upside down this year. I gave too much of my focus to my loans in 2014 and let my other priorities fall off the radar. My health and fitness are priority #1 in 2015, so it comes first. Second for the year is my lifestyle goals. Here is proof that for once in my life, travel is not number one. Be shocked, because I am. I won’t be able to see and do the things I want to do if I don’t have a body that can support me. So, travel is #2. My third priority for the year is my finances. It is easy to put this third because so much is mentally automatic now. However, nearly nothing is automated because I’m too much of an intermeddling dweezel to pick numbers and leave them alone.

So here goes!

Health

1. Lose 40 lbs.

There it is. Priority Number One. I’ve let my weight creep up over the last few months and it needs to stop. My focus is going to be on strength training and running. The strength training could prevent me from dropping 40 lbs, but I’m willing to accept < 25% body fat as an acceptable substitute.

2. Complete 3 races.

Last year I completed three 5ks. I plan to run the same 3 again and am looking to possibly add a fourth. I am playing with the idea of running a longer race (10 mi), but my body will decide if that’s right. (Hips! Don’t fail me now!)

Life

1. Read 12 Books.

Last year, I read 16. So far this year, I’ve read 2.  I turned into quite the book worm last year and I’d like that to continue at a more reasonable pace. There is no need to read all the things, just 10 more books.

2. Hustle into $1000.

Though I snagged my first side hustling gig in November, I’m still an uncomfortable hustler. With a full time job, and a lot of weight to lose, $1000 seems reasonable. I would love to increase this, but I need to put my actions before any lofty aspirations.

3. See the Caribbean and Florida!

We’ve already booked a Caribbean Cruise, but we need to finish planning and paying for it. We are also planning a 3 day stop over at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. I am going to Harry Potter Nerd Out all over that place. It’s going to be epic. And by epic, I mean me explaining all my excitement to Hubs who could not care less about HP.

Wealth

1. Increase my Net Worth by $100/day.

Bridget over at Money After Graduation threw down a bold challenge of increasing your net worth by $100/day or $36,500 in 2015. If I can maintain my current expenses, I might just get there! Even if I can’t get there, I’m going to try. I’ve got my first net worth post coming soon!

2. Max out my Roth IRA.

Thanks to liquidating my House Fund, I fully funded my Roth in 2014. This allows me to start funding my 2015 Roth in January of 2015! I initially planned to fund it over 16 months (finishing in April 2016), but I decided to go for it in 12. Why rob my 2016 Roth when I could give my money more time in the market?

3. Finish my Student Loans

With only $6340 left, my loans are my top priority but in a weird way. I’m so close to the end and have so much momentum, it feels like I’ve made the cake and now all I have to do is clean up the kitchen. My goal is to have them paid off in April.

4. Save $17,000 for a Down Payment

After my loans are finished (There will be a funeral. You are invited. Save the Date!), 98% of my effort shifts to the Down Payment Fund (DPF!). From April 2014 to the end of the last year, I paid off a little more than $18,000. While I would love to continue at break neck speed, I foresee a few expenditures between now and then.

>>>Side Goal: Draining my House Fund to pay off my loans feels a little like cheating to me. To maintain my financial integrity, I strive to refill my House Fund to its initial level by September 2015 – my 29th birthday.

5. Leave my Car Loan Alone!

This seems a little silly to include this, but I want cooler heads to prevail over my car loan. Hubs has hinted several times that he wants to pay it off early. With our other priorities, I want to make sure that the car loan stays last. The interest rate is excellent and it’s completely automated.  Now, I just need to leave it alone.

 

There you have it: my goals for 2015! A few of these goals, I will be tracking monthly. The rest I will follow up quarterly. Here’s to Health, Life and Wealth in 2015!

Have you set 2015 goals?