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Savings and Debt Update

1 Jun

It’s the first of the moooonnnnnth!! Wake up, wake up. Cash your checks and come oooooonnnn!

Incremental progress is progress nonetheless. On or about the first of every month, I will post an update of my savings and debt totals.
By Sunday, I will have opened an online high-interest savings account (I’m looking at American Express @ 1.15% APR, but ING Direct does offer subaccounts) where I will direct the payments from my Direct Loans which total $330.11 monthly. I am going to set up automatic transfers of $165.00 bi-weekly from my Chase Checking Account until my loans are out of forbearance in October. To date, I have been unable to really save any of the funds due to my bar exam expenses.

SAVINGS TOTAL @ Wells Fargo: $1456.12

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To Forbear Or Not Forbear? That Is The Question….

2 Dec

The plan to relocate to New York is shaping up nicely. As I expected, reality has set in regarding just how much this is going to cost. Taking the Bar Exam is an expensive endeavor even with Mr. Terrific’s valued assistance.

He suggested a student loan forbearance a few weeks ago. He has used it in the past to save more money in case of a lay-off and has already applied for another.
I, Miss-Hurry-Up-And-Pay-That-Shit-Off, was a bit more apprehensive about it. I have finally started making headway on my Citibank Student Loan (read: I finally owe less than what I borrowed after THREE years of mostly more than the minimum payments). I mean, I am going to have to pay it back eventually why delay the inevitable?

Here’s where the EMOTIONAL side of money management is creeping in for me. I decided to stop being so cautious and spendthrift and actually had a LOT of fun this summer. So much so, I blew through most of my savings. My basic e-fund of $1,000 remained largely in tact. Then, I was blessed to begin a dreamy (did I just say that?) long distance relationship with Mr. Terrific, which DEMOLISHED my budget. LDRs and budget aren’t generally in the same conversation, although they should be. Now I’m relocating.

I would love to have enough money to save for emergencies, retirement, relocation and pay for my bar expenses, but there’s just not that much money to go around.

As a contingency planner, I usually start from a worse-case scenario point of view. For me that would be passing the New York bar, but being unable to secure employment there prior to my move in or around June 2011. In the meantime, I need to have a sizeable emergency and savings fund.

Currently I make payments totaling $441.61, which includes a debt snowball payment for $53.67 on my Citibank loan. I paid off one student loan with a monthly payment of $53.67 and rolled the payment amount to my next lowest balance loan for those unfamiliar with the snowball concept.

Obtaining a forbearance on my Direct Loans will free up $330.11 per month for saving. The potential saving for my Citibank loan is unclear because I believe I will still be required to make interest payments during that time. The minimum monthly obligation is only $57.83. In reviewing a past statement, it appears on a $57.83 payment, $16.99 is applied to interest. If this is indeed the case, a forbearance will free up $94.51 per month for saving (the difference b/w what I’m currently paying $111.50 and the interest of $16.99).

I am looking at saving $424.62 per month. I applied on 11/22. I’m not sure how long it will take to process, but I should know something for certain by January. If approved, I can project $2547.72 of savings from a forbearance alone.

Step One In Relocation Action Plan-the NY Bar Exam

30 Nov

The cost of taking the New York Bar Exam is pretty sobering. So far it’s $3,129 and counting. I have not yet secured my airfare and accommodations because I don’t know to which testing center I will be assigned. I will also spend additional money on supplies like note cards.

The cost breakdown follows:

1) Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE)
Cost: $63

2) Bar Review Course with Bar/Bri
Alumni Tuition: $2,400.00* plus tax

3) Bar Exam
NEW YORK STATE
Cost: $250 plus the technology fee of $100 to use a laptop.

4) Accommodations/Travel
Hotel, Airfare and Rental to test center , most likely Albany or Buffalo.