1 Million Dollars

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Once a Hater, Now a Lover. Why you should love private loans as well.

I have long been an opponent of private loans as I mentioned in this post.  But I have to eat my words, some what.  For undergraduates, this year, direct federal loans can't be beat.  They are 4.66% fixed, for both unsubsidized or subsidized. The lowest fixed rate I saw was sallie mae at 5.74% but that can get all the way up 11.85%.  Ironically, the same lowest rate applied for graduate students but the max for them is much lower, 8.56%.   And the rate for federal loans for graduate students are 6.21%.  You also have to keep in mind that federal loans have an origination fee, but private loans do not.  So, if you have a good FICO score and are a graduate students there is no reason to get a federal unless you plan to use income dependent repayment.  You could have a .47% lower rate plus, you would not have to pay up to 1% of the loan back to the government.

Let's assume you needed had a choice of pulling out $5500.  If you took out a federal loan you would only get $5,445 and your monthly payment would be $61.64 assuming you paid the interest of $28.46 every month before you graduated.  But if you pulled out $5500 from sallie mae, you'd pay interest of  $26.31 until you graduate and $60.35 as your monthly payment after graduation.  Plus you'd have an extra $55 in your pocket.  Over the lifeline of the loan, if you took 10 years to pay it, you'd owe $1741.48 (not including however years you spent in school) vs $1,897.15 for a private loans.

Now I am not a fan of private loans, I'd much rather go with a federal loan because you have more options, for example interest only for a period of time or income dependent repayment but can you really turn down an extra $210?  I can't.

And that assumes you can want to be the most conservative and get fix rate.  There are 2.75-3% variable rate out there for private loans so if you have gotten a job set up before you graduate and want to kill off your loans quickly, those can be an even better help.

This all assumes you have a good credit score, which for most undergrads is not true.  But lucky for them, the government is offering decent rates.  For graduate students, we don't have subsidized loans and rate are insane.  Time to look to industry for help, not the government.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Frugal Student Hosts: Financial Carnival for Young Adults

 More wonderful articles for my readership to enjoy: 
 Just a note for my loyal readership, I have decided to move the carnival hosting to the second weekend of the month. I have too much to talk about in the beginning of the month so this will be the last month that you will see it on the first Sunday!  And with that, on to the carnival:

Kayla @ Shoeaholic No More writes Holiday Parties and What’s Going On? - Holiday events are in full swing. I’ve got 3-4 holiday parties taking place in the next week.

Maria @ The Money Principle writes Four Ways to Skyrocket the Value of Your Home - The more additions you make to your home, the higher its value – and the heftier your wallet will be when you sell it.

Justin @ iPlugin writes Apple just sold 10 Million new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units - The new iPhone 6 was recently released and, in its first weekend alone, Apple sold over 10 million units, which was better than their previous record of 9 million that was sold during the weekend launch last year of the iPhone 5.

Danielle @ TeacHer Finance writes How Does Cash Advance Work? - A cash advance is very similar to a payday loan, except the terms are generally a bit longer.

Aaron @ Aaron Hung writes Watch out for these Back to School Spending Mistakes - Much to the chagrin of children everywhere another school year is about to start, and that means that parents across the country are busy stocking up on school supplies.

Justin @ Edward Antrobus writes 6 Ways Shoppers are Deceived! - Brands and advertisers use specific marketing tactics to convince shoppers to make purchases There are some tactics that they use that, while not illegal, border on being unethical.

Marissa @ Thirty Six Months writes You Should Always Seek Value - To get yourself financially free, to make good investments and to get through life in a calm and relaxed manner – you should always seek value.

Marissa @ Finance Triggers writes Best Way to Collect Superannuation Funds during Retirement - If you work in Australia, then you are likely to have at least one superannuation account set up to help you out financially during your retirement.

Sam @ The New Business Blog writes Want to be Successful? Avoid These 5 Emotionally Charged Habits - There are, to be sure, many things that contribute to your overall success. Things like your attitude, your ability to lead, your people skills and so forth all have a big influence on it, no doubt.

Katie @ IRA Basics writes 4 IRA Withdrawals that Actually Make Sense - Withdrawing funds from a traditional IRA before a person turns 59 ½ usually means that they’re going to pay a lot of taxes and penalties.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes Some Facts to Consider before Filing for Bankruptcy - For many consumers the thought of having to file bankruptcy can cause quite a bit of anxiety.

Bob @ Dwindling Debt writes Looking for a Store Credit Card? Don’t Look Here -

Andrea @ So Over This writes You’re Handling Retirement Savings All Wrong! - Saving money for retirement is something that is very near and dear to me.

Hadley @ Epic Finances writes Stock Investing Myths and Truths Part 4 of 4 - Even though there's plenty of information about what works and what doesn't when it comes to investing in the stock market, many myths still refuse to die.

Lenny @ Best Money Saving Blog writes Stock Buybacks are Booming! - After faltering for a couple of months, buyback announcements from many major US companies shot up to a three month high recently, putting 2014 on track to be one of the biggest years ever for buybacks.

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes These are the Biggest Money Mistakes Couples Make When Divorcing - When people get divorced, it's the spouse who hasn't had a whole lot of experience with the family's finances that often ends up on the short end of the stick.

Jack @ Money Saving Ethics writes These 5 Savings ‘Tricks’ might not be so good after all - Even the best intentions that you have for saving money can sometimes lead to financial problems.

Matt @ Budget Snob writes Investing Doesn't Take Genius Intelligence, Just Common Sense - A quote that's attributed to Albert Einstein goes something like this: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Danielle @ Saving Without a Budget writes Common Money Mistakes - If you're not keen on throwing your money away, the mistakes below should definitely be avoided.

Jay @ Daily Fuel Economy Tip writes How to Save on Gas – Uncommon Ways - I will describe a few less common ways you can save on gas – I hope you will find them useful.

Oscar @ Money is the Root writes Paying Off Debt Smarter and Faster - There are few things better for your financial health than paying off any debts that you have as quickly as possible.

Daniel @ Make Money Make Cents writes The Expenses of Buying and Owning a Home - From finding the perfect mortgage with the appropriate fees, to the year round upkeep and maintenance, this investment requires a lot of time and capital.

Natalie Bacon @ Financegirl writes A 5 Step Guide to Setting Your Priorities So You Win in 2015 - Instead of a resolution try this 5-step guide of reflecting, taking inventory of your values & planning for your future. Intentional living in the New Year.

Brock Kernin @ Clever Dude writes The Things We Do To Save Money - People do some crazy things to save money....would you do this?

Ryan @ Better Credit Blog writes 3 Ways to Fix Your Credit Score for a Mortgage Loan - Many readers have asked me the quickest and easiest way to fix up their credit report and credit score when they are ready to buy a home. The steps below will help you improve your credit score so you can get the best possible mortgage rate.

Natalie Bacon @ Financegirl writes The One Reason You Should Make Paying Off Your Debt A Priority in 2015 - It's the start of a New Year and this is the perfect time to get organized and set goals. Find out why you should prioritize paying off debt this year.

Jill Gatsby - Earth's Personal Dummy @ www.earthspeaksout.wordpress.com writes Earth Speaks Out - Earth has been sitting in the dark for 4 billion years and now she is finally speaking out! Now get Earth's personal take on the news straight up and personal. And she's actually got solutions that could save the human race! So human up and visit www.earthspeaksout.com

Randall Ball @ Discovering Prosperity writes New Year, New You - Tips for conquering the New Year- 2015

Randall Ball @ Discovering Prosperity writes How to succeed in college: 9 Do's - 9 effective tips for succeeding in college

Randall Ball @ Discovering Prosperity writes How to succeed in college: 9 Donts - 9 things that you should not do if you want to succeed in college

Tyler @ Debt Reckoning writes 7 Best Low-Cost Ways To Learn About Investing - Seven low-cost ways to learn about investing, from books to online materials to formal classroom settings.

Geny @ GenyFinances writes Four Personal Finance Tips For College Students - College can be a fun time. You are making new friends, trying out new experiences, and probably have the time of your life. However, it can also be very expensive.

724Credit @ 724Credit Blog writes 4 Tips To Pay Down Your Student Loans - For me, I am all about paying down student loans as quickly as possible. They are probably your biggest or one of your biggest monthly payments each month, and the stress that comes from that can be very high.

BudgetingForTravel @ BudgetingForTravel writes Saving Money On A Ski Vacation - Skiing is a fun hobby, but it can be a very expensive vacation if you want to make a trip out of it. Skiing and “frugal vacation” are not exactly words that are often in the same sentence together.

Michelle @ DiversifiedFinances writes 5 Tips For Renting Out a Room In Your Home For Extra Money - A great way to make extra money each month is to rent out a room in your room. If you have a spare room, a separate apartment (such as above your garage), a finished basement, and so on, then this may be a money making option for you.

Alexis @ FITnancials writes How To Find A Place To Live On Craigslist + Scary Personal Experiences - Before I moved to Chicago, I had to find a place to live. I was a little hesitant to use Craigslist at first, but I wasn’t sure where else I could try. I was looking on Craigslist for a while and it didn’t take too long to find a place, but I feel like I should have done more searching to find somewhere closer to work, etc.

If you want to show off a piece just go here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Millionaire Update!!! January 2015 and 2014 round up

What a way to start the new year!  We now have $26,752, not a huge jump from the beginning of December but a huge jump from the beginning of 2014 when we only had $16,462.  That was a 62% increase, wow!  In addition, it looks like we invested $9714, saved $4391 and paid off $18194 of  over 2014, 59% of our gross income of $54150.  Wow!  However, it is not fair to say we saved 59% because part of the debt pay off was from savings.  If we remove the $11,000 we save before 2014, we only saved 39% of our gross income. So we still have a ways to go to get to saving 50% of our gross income, but we are definitely on our way up.  My goal for next year is saving 50%!  This will take some side hustling because even in the best case my budget shows me $6213 short of that goal but what is a goal but something to reach for?

I'm still struggling with grocery and restaurant spending, though the restaurant spending has gone down. You can follow my fight with our grocery bill here.  If I want any chance of saving 50% I need to get spending within budget.

But I am proud of my 62% increase and if the market cooperates, even just our auto transfers to my husband's 403b will get another 62% increase.  Here is to both 2014 and 2015!  Let's go!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last grocery update of 2014

We spent $255.98 in December and were able to, for the first time EVER, have only one major grocery run.  This meant we only spent $56.50/week over the four weeks.  A good savings but our cupboards sure feel empty.  It has been a struggle not to go out to eat recently and I can't wait to shop this weekend.  But this did save us $32.08 this month which mean, for year I was over $334.11 or $6.43/week.  That is almost 10% higher than I budgeted, wow!  But, I do have small budget.  But that small budget is going to continue in 2015 and I can't afford to go over like that.  So, we are keeping our noses to grindstone and will continue to work on keeping the grocery spending low.

I'm going to continue to push for once a month shopping, with little purchases to supplement during the month.  I'm going to work on crockpot meals as well as finding a new recipe to try once a month to keep variety and not cause me to eat out.  Does anyone have any other ideas on how to keep the grocery bill low?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fully Switched to Ting, And Loving IT!!!

My husband switched to ting four months ago.  We were on a family plan with Verizon paying $55-60/month together, and had previously talked about switching but had planned to wait till January when both our contracts were up.   But then his phone up and died on us.  We switched him to TING using a flip phone we got off freecycle.  We used a referral code so he started with a $25 credit so no matter what we would be ahead of the game.  Two weeks later he said, I'm buying a smartphone, ting is fine but not having a keyboard is not.  Up until then, both DH and I had dumb phones with a qwerty keyboard but that was it.

Since then, my dumb phone's speaker has stopped working for private calls, so all I can use it for is speaker calls and texting.  Therefore, I have been using google talk much, much more and since the person I text the most is my husband I have gotten used to using google chat for texting.  DH still has not paid a penny for ting because someone used our referral link and the first time one gives a referral one gets $50.  Every other referral is $25.  So, so far all DH has spent on ting was the phone, which he bought used for $120, and a case for $20.  I have still been spending $35/month and the savings of $20 has been going to pay off the phone and case.  We have budgeted $10/month for the phone costs but the case cost went into our miscellaneous spending.

This weekend I too bought a phone and case for the same amount of money (total $120).  Our bill now is $26 plus tax and since we set aside $10/month for phone costs, we will upgrade every other year, just like the big plans with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, but for much, much cheaper.  $36 compared to $55-60 and to even get that low on Verizon we had dumb phones, another person on family plan and often we had to spend some amount for the phone (often less than $50).  I am not sure we could even find a similar phone to what I have without paying about $50 which adds an additional $4 expense per month.

Since Ting is on sprint's network I have not seen much difference and am loving the money savings.  This does require some preplanning and money upfront but for us it has been a win.  What do you do though, if you don't have the money up front?  Well, you don't have to buy the phone from ting, you can buy it from amazon and you can earn gift cards from swagbucks so no cash required.

It will take bit to earn the swagbucks needed, so start now with an extra 150 swagbucks. You will start a third of the way to your first gift card.  If you are unmotivated like I am, you'll only get about $5/month but if you are like some of my friends who are always running swag videos in the background and playing video games on their site, you can get about $25/month.  So it is up to you, can you afford a new phone and a cheaper plan by the end of the school year?  Let me know if you are up for the challenge.  If you are up for it, start off with a free $25 by using my referral code.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Join or create a buying co-op to save money

When I first started looking around on blogs to learn tricks to save money many people talked about how wonderful stores like Costco are.  But often unless gas is much, much cheaper and you drive a lot, as a single person, Costco is not a good deal.  But what if a whole group of people went in on the large box items together?  Sometimes then it is a good deal.  And what if one of those people can get free access to a big box store via their parents?  It might become a wonderful deal.

And you can take this idea further than just Costco.  A local butcher shop in Buffalo will occasionally have major deals on chicken and steak but you have to buy 40lbs in chicken or 15lbs in steak.  Besides the fact that 40lbs won't fit in my freezer, I can't afford 15lbs of steak.  But if a bunch of grad students chip in, we all can get a little bit and save a lot of money.

That is the idea behind co-ops, groups of people getting together to buy large amounts.  I have notice quite a few high end co-ops for organic groceries, but you can create your own as well.  So all you need to do is fine one person with a car, one person with a membership to a big box store and a few people who want to buy in and you are set.  Each person picks a store to watch and then a text or email to the whole group when a deal comes and everyone benefits.  

This collaborative approach towards saving money can save you money, time and space, all things many college students lack.  Are their any readers that have tried this before?  Or do you plan to try this during the new year?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

School Health Care Clinics, savings?

I went to my college health care clinic for the first time last week because money is tight around the holidays but I needed a refill of some prescriptions but because my insurance is grandfathered in, it would cost a pretty penny to see the doctor.  I did not need much, just basically signature. I have been taking these meds for nearly ten years now yet once a year I need to see a doctor to stay on them.

So I called the clinic to see if they could help me.  And it was great.  They made an appointment in the evening, no copay and I sent in the script to my online pharmacy.  The pharmacy accepted the script and I got my meds just like I would have, if I had spent $50-100 and gone to a private doctor.

So, how much did I pay? Nothing, my school fees covered it.  They don't care blood work or such but for simple problems, I can't see going anywhere else.  I am so excited to find a new savings and be able to remove that cost for next year!

As I always say, never stop looking and you'll never stop finding a way to improve!  So that is my holiday cheer, what about you?