Last week, my boss asked me to take care of travel arrangements for an event coming up in October. I responded with “Already?” because in my head it was still May and we had plenty of time. Where did the summer go? It’s been a busy one. I enrolled in summer classes to lighten the load for my second year. I also started blogging. So I’ve yet to experience the slow period promised by my co-workers.

When I started the blog, I didn’t realize just how much there would be to learn. From branding, to creating appealing visuals, and promoting content on social media, I find myself going down rabbit holes of information and coming out with to-do lists as long as my arm. Usually this would stress me out, but for once I’m enjoying the ride. This is due, in large part, to how welcoming and wonderful the personal finance blogging community has been (#DCMoneyNerds). I expected things to be competitive, but there’s much more cheering each other on than there is competing. The posts from other bloggers I most look forward to reading are the income reports, the net worth updates, or the goal check-ins. It’s really exciting to read about other bloggers kicking ass. I also find it really motivating. My original goal was to publish a July wrap-up/August goal outline on July 31st but here we are. Time for a August wrap-up/September goal outline instead!

August 2017 Debt Update

August Highlights

• Moved into a new (and cheaper!) apartment at the end of July
• My brother and my cousins visited from Colorado (during our moving weekend)
• Took an intensive four-week summer class to knock out another 3 credits
• New job title and pay raise went into effect
• Went on vacation to Canada and was maid of honor in my friend’s wedding
• Started fall semester classes

August felt like a whirlwind for my wallet as well. My partner and I caught up on our August expenses this week and I was really nervous. We had budgeted for the move and the vacation but I was sure we had overspent. Turns out, we did pretty well! We went over our vacation budget by about $60, but that only happened because our flight back to DC from Toronto was cancelled and we got stuck with an unexpected extra day of travel. I’m only slightly bitter towards the airline responsible.

Rhymes with Shmishmerican Smairlines

Despite the whirlwind, I was able to make a $347 student loan payment at the end of August. It’s a small amount, but I can’t even begin to tell you how good this feels. Back on the path to being debt free!

Remaining Student Loan Debt

Here’s how my remaining student loan debt breaks down:

Stafford Loans:

Principal: $47,912.93

Projected (for Spring 2018): $7,574*

Accrued Interest: $1,715.85

Graduate PLUS Loans:

Principal: $13,000

Accrued Interest: $149.80

Grand Total:  $70,352.58

I’m working on paying off the accrued interest first since it will be capitalized at the end of my deferment period. Capitalization is this fun thing where accrued interest is added to your principal loan balance, which causes you to pay even more interest over time. See Student Loan Hero for more info.

I tend to be an overly ambitious goal-setter and am really hard on myself when I fall short, so I’m trying my best to be realistic with what I’ll be able to accomplish in September. I’ve decided to focus on just two categories for now: finances and the blog.

September Goals for WVL:

• Publish one post each week. Time to get back on track!

Annnnd that’s it for the blog. I don’t see the point in setting goals for followers or page views if I’m not publishing consistent content.

September Money Goals:

• Limit Lyft/Uber use to once a week. I have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester. The Tuesday class gets out at 11:00pm. It’s horrible and way past the time when my brain is functional. The Thursday class is more reasonable and get outs at 8:00, with nearby public transit access. I took a Lyft home from both last week, but I’m going to try to limit that expense to Tuesdays only. I spend quite a bit on my Metro pass and I plan to milk it as much as possible.

• Make a student loan payment of at least $375. I’d love to hit $400, but I’d like to be a reformed overly ambitious goal-setter one day.

*I’ve made the choice to begin paying off my loans with the understanding that I still have Spring 2018’s tuition to pay. While I could put aside the money I’m paying off now for my future tuition, the dent would be small and I would need to borrow no matter what. And I’m not sure that I trust myself to save that money and actually use it for future tuition. So accrued interest it is.

That’s it for this check-in. Have a wonderful September! If you’ve set some goals for the month, please share them in the comments!


  1. Yay #DCMoneyNerds and congratulations on the loan payment in August!

    I have evening chorus rehearsals once a week and I feel you on the temptation to Uber/Lyft home late at night instead of using the metro, especially when it’s horribly cold out! I did pretty well last year so I’m going to try to keep resisting the temptation to have a much faster commute home.

    • Thanks, Erin! Also, I thought I responded to this like a week ago but the reply did not save. Whoops. I took this metro this week, but you’re right it’s much harder to resist Uber/Lyft when it’s cold out. We can do it!

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