Holidaze

Brace yourself, this is a long one!  I know I’m super overdue for a post, so here goes the holiday recap…

To start, Avery had some fun school festivities in December. First, he had a Polar Express Day! Everyone dressed up in PJs, brought stuffed friends/toys, watched the movie, and had popcorn!
When we got to school that day, the door was decorated

IMG_4578

And there were train tracks in the hallway….IMG_4579

Avery chose his fire truck PJs, and Simon and his blue blanket to bring with him.IMG_4581

When he came home, he was raving about everyones different PJs, and how he loved the popcorn (one of his favorite snacks!)

Next up, was the holiday party at school.  The kids were so cute, with reindeer hats they made using their handprints.

IMG_4639

They had red pom poms on popsicle sticks for noses too, so cute!!

The preschool & afterschooler’s sang a song:

Avery is on the left, in the green and white striped shirt… you know, the one whose nose won’t stay still… haha.

And the kiddos exchanged gifts (books)
IMG_4647

Avery gave a friend a ‘Frozen’ book, and she gave him a construction pop up book.

And to top it off, the kiddos had some special holiday cake (Well, Avery had frosting, haha)

IMG_4651

Our next holiday celebration was Valyou Family Christmas.  And somehow I fell into the role of planning and prepping for it (not complaining, I just think it’s funny – and so happy with how it turned out!).  So, our big family came together

Thanks to my cousin Danielle, Uncle John, and Brittany, homemade decorations covered the room, making it look so festive!

IMG_4606

This year we had it at the Eagles Club (Thanks Grandma), so with Grampy watching Avery, Mom, Sarah and I got to decorate.

IMG_4604

Mom made some homemade centerpieces too – mason jars filled with candy, wine bottle corks, popouri, and an electric candle.
IMG_4608
I even setup a DIY photobooth that was a hit, especially with the little ones.

IMG_4601

IMG_4602

I used leftover streamers, and gathered props from around the house.  We bought 3 mustaches, and mom made a couple beards, but otherwise, it didn’t cost anything to make… and the pictures came out pretty funny…
Capture1

Oh and following last years tradition, we wore ugly sweaters, and Avery and Grampy wore shirts from their favorite Christmas Movie, Elf.
IMG_4627

Grampy’s shirt says ‘Son of a Nutcracker’, a quote from the movie.  Avery’s says ‘Grandson of a Nutcracker.’

Capture7

Our family members arrived and the yankee swap table quickly filled up…

IMG_4622

We played a 28 person yankee swap, with a twist!  Everyone had a number on their card, and inside was instructions to either keep their gift, swap with anyone, or something silly like swap with the tallest person, the person with the biggest feet, or whoever looked most like Santa.

Capture0

Uncle Mike brought his new puppy, Willow.

IMG_4621

And thanks, to my cousin, Amy, we got lots of family pictures- Our little family.Capture

Gram, Gramp, and Dad’s siblings (the parents & their EIGHT kids):

Capture6

The ELEVEN grandkids (only 1 of us is missing, Miss you Eric!):Capture4

The NINE great grandkids (2 missing, Benj & Ellery):

Capture5

And the whole fam (missing Eric, Lindsay, Benj, & Ellery)

Capture3

Next up… Christmas Eve.  We played games, had snackies, and Avery enjoyed his first shirley temple!

IMG_4674

(Toddler Tip: Make a shirley temple with apple juice instead of ginger ale)

IMG_4656

We played Avery’s favorite board game… candy land!

IMG_4673

Aunt Sarah was home from Grad School – Avery was very excited to see her.

IMG_4663

Avery and Grampy got a little gift to wear to bed… matching PJ’s!  (A tradition my sis and I used to do every year as kids, and we are happy to hand it off to them now, haha)

IMG_4675

Avery set out cookies, cheese, and milk for Santa (Yes, he asked to leave santa cheese… the kid loves cheese), and we sprinkled reindeer dust (he made at school) on the back porch and left a carrot for them too.  We read the night before Christmas and said goodbye to the Elf on the Shelf.  Avery was very excited for Santa to come, and fell asleep pretty quickly.

Then the ‘grown ups’ stayed up for some more festivities…

IMG_4677

Dad and Steve had way too much fun, obviously.  A couple drinks and a long golf card game later, we all headed to bed to wait for Santa.

IMG_4672

Christmas morning… Santa had come and Avery was very excited!

IMG_4734

He went right for the firetruck, checked if the cheese and carrot had been eaten, and immediatly wanted to open presents!
IMG_4687

We started with stockings.  Avery got a new toothbrush, socks, jelly beans, and a new loufa for bath time.IMG_4695

He got a new sled – which we still haven’t used.  It’s been below freezing here for a while and we have little snow.

IMG_4697

Aunt Sarah made pancakes, and Avery put out a fire while she was cooking.IMG_4699

After the stockings, we had a yummy breakfast…IMG_4700

Pancakes made with love :)IMG_4701

Then started the gifts… Avery got Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land.IMG_4710

He got food for his kitchen.IMG_4713

And a playmat for his cars and trucks!IMG_4720

I scored a pink headband for running in the cold.

IMG_4722

Aunt Sarah got this little something from me:

IMG_4631

She’s a college student, so I wanted to give her money, but didn’t want to be lame about it.  And we’re big fans of Forest Gump, so I think she liked :)

She got Avery and I a year membership to Echo (the aquarium & science center in Burlington)  We’ve already gone once – they had reindeer during our visit too!

Avery and Grampy got eachother ‘shooting things’ as Avery calls them.IMG_4725

We’ve since had fun making targets with stacking cups.. so much fun for when we’re stuck inside this winter.

IMG_4730

Avery even got a viewfinder.  He looked inside at safari animals, and says, ‘How’d he get in there?!’ haha

And a few hours later, Avery’s loot looked like this!

IMG_4735

I know, it looks overboard, but it wasn’t.  He needed some warm clothes, socks and underwear, and a new lunch box, so Santa brought those.  We were also using our 1985 versions of board games, so he was due for some that didn’t have faded colored cards that we couldn’t tell red from orange.  He got a few travel essentials, like the blue lap table, coloring book, preschool activities book, and three new movies (because honestly, we need a break from watching the same ones we have over and over!! haha).

Then we piled into the car and visited both sets of Grandparents, came home and had a yummy Xmass dinner together.

IMG_4736

Then after Avery was in bed (tired boy!), Steve and I exchanged gifts.  I was spoiled with a massage gift card (which I already used… ahhhh so nice!) and I made him a blanket (cuz he’s always cold!)
IMG_4654

Such a fun holiday.  Avery is at such a fun age that this Christmas was even more fun than the last… just keeps getting better and better. Now if I could only say that for Avery’s sleeping and eating habits!

Did I mention we had fun?  :-P

<3 Meghan

6 Loans in 6 Months

… and now that December is over, it’s become 5 loans in 5 months.  That’s right, I paid off a loan this month!  (insert happy dance – not to be confused with the potty dance)  Capture

This means I’m right on track to pay one loan off each coming month for 5 more months… then they are GONE!  Just over 2 years of scrimping and saving and look at the progress I’ve made:

27 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $10,408.41
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $31,460.12

I have just over 10 grand left… and you may be thinking I’m crazy, expecting to pay off that much in just 5 months… but the plan I made last month, is working, so I’m gonna stick with it.

studentloanpayoffdec2014

Red = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

My original big picture plan was to pay off the highest interest loans first, and of those, pay off the bigger ones.  So, we’re finally getting down to the smaller interest loans (all those pesky 6+% ones are GONE) and I’m not paying oober amounts of $ just on interest now.  Now it’s down to $30 a month, compared to $190 when I first started this.

November Review

  • Starting Balance: $11,917.63
  • End Balance:  $10,408.41
  • Payments Made: $1,538.92
  • Interest Paid: $30.60
  • Principle Paid: $1,508.32

So…. in December, I paid the minimums to all other loans, and paid off Loan 1-01.  I didn’t put my usual $1800/mo into loans, because of Christmas and an upcoming vacation, but I was able to pay the loan off and now I’m just saving up until I can pay the next one off in January.

Loan Pay Off Plan
Capture

  • December: Pay Off Loan 1-01 (usual $1800/mo)
  • January: Pay Off Loan C (usual $1800/mo)
  • February: Pay Off Loan B (usual $1800/mo)
  • March: Pay Off Loan A (Work Bonus & Tax return & usual $1800/mo)
  • April: Pay Off Loan 1-04 (usual $1800/mo)
  • May: Pay off Loan 1-03 (usual $1800/mo)

Oh and side note, Sallie Mae changed their company name to Navient.  Very annoying (mostly because I was looking forward to saying goodbye to Sallie Mae when all this was done), but luckily their website and everything stayed the same so it’s caused no hiccups with me actually paying the loans off, but still… would have really liked to end my relationship with Sallie Mae before she ended it with me!

And for those of you who have been asking about the mystery house I mentioned last month, my great Uncle John (my Dad’s uncle) who lives just down the road (maybe 2/10ths of a mile) offered to sell me his house, without a Realtor so it would be a great deal, and although the house is super big (4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 car garage, bonus room over garage, and full 1 bedroom apartment in the basement on 1.2 acres),  it really makes sense for the future plans Avery and I have in store.  My uncle doesn’t have a deadline when to sell, so we’re working together on a time frame that works for him finding a new place (he’s downsizing) and me getting the downpayment ready – looks like this coming  fall – Octoberish.

Buying a house in my hometown, just down the road from my parents, on a dead end street… kinda perfect.  This would be a forever home too… Avery and I will FINALLY be able to set down roots, and never move again!

And you know me, I already have a budget laid out, to make sure the house is affordable, and after these pesky loans are gone, I have a plan to save for the down payment already in motion.

So much in store for the year to come…Happy New Year’s Eve!

<3 Meghan

Check out my About Meghan page for more posts on finances and paying off my student loans.

It’s Beginning to Look…

A lot like CHRISTMAS!

We put the tree up last weekend, and since then it’s been gathering a few gifts.  Avery’s been super good and hasn’t even tried to open them.  We do find Avery over by the tree sometimes moving ornaments, and stealing candy canes (usually with the help of Grampy because Steve and I put those up high on the tree so ‘someone’ couldn’t reach them…. and by ‘someone’, I meant Grampy).  I’m 90% done Christmas shopping too, so the gifts I have are wrapped and sitting under the tree.  One week away… gotta finish up fast!

Avery is very excited this year.  It’s such a fun age.  We started talking about Christmas the night of Thanksgiving when we read the Elf on the Shelf book.  Since then, Avery’s excited every day to look for the Elf.  He’s been super sneaky this year (he zip lined thru the living room the night after we put up the tree!).  I swear, we have more fun looking for him than Avery does!

IMG_4304

Some mornings I find Grampy wandering around the house and eventually coming to me asking “OK, Where is he?!’

IMG_4462

Avery tells us the Elf flies around because he has magic.  And if Avery isn’t behaving, we remind him that the Elf is watching and 9 out of 10 times, it helps :)

IMG_4479

Now, if you’re familiar with the Elf on the Shelf tradition (we started it last year), you know that the child(ren) get to name the elf.  Well, last year, Avery wouldn’t name him.  The only thing he would name him after I asked him was ‘Bunny’.  This year however, our elf had an identity crisis, and changed names.IMG_4491

Turns out, the elf also visits Avery’s daycare, and at daycare, the elf’s name is Henry.  So, one morning when I was getting Avery dressed in the bathroom, he looked up and saw the elf and pointed saying ‘Ah! It’s Henry!!’  Took me a minute to talk with Avery to figure out where the name had come from, haha.IMG_4543

Oh, bonus points if you can find the object the Elf has carried around with him every day…. ;)

It’s not Christmas without…. SNOW! (seriously, how do you people do it in Cali and Texas and Florida?! And you’re probably thinking we’re crazy with all this white stuff thinking how do we do it?! haha)IMG_4503

We got a big snowstorm last week that lastest DAYS.  First, it was freezing rain, then it snowed a bunch (8 inches-ish) one afternoon-evening.  Then it kept snowing (another few inches) the next few days.  All the schools around here were closed on Wednesday, and the snow finally stopped on Saturday.  Luckily, I work from home so I didn’t have to worry about commuting.  Plus, Avery’s school was open when school was closed (yay!).

Avery loves the snow.  He still loves his shovel the best.  I think we shoveled the front porch 3-4 times last week, haha.  And over the weekend, Grampy snow-blowed and we knocked the giant iscicles and snow off the roof.
IMG_4505

IMG_4507

The snow on the edge of the roof curled around and did this… pretty cool!

IMG_4509

Steve took advantage of the snow and surprised me with a snowshoeing trek up the notch Saturday afternoon.
IMG_4539IMG_4538

This is the same place we went hiking in October… look at the difference in scenery.

IMG_4513IMG_3526

Love this state! #ilovermont
We soooo have to get Avery a set of kids snow shoes now that hunting season is over and we can go wandering in the woods around the house.

Tis the season to give gifts, so I sent out cards to our friends and family.

IMG_4472

It took me a couple weeks to take a few minutes here and there to order them, address them, and send them out.  Last year I ordered 50 and ran out, so this year I ordered 75 to be safe and I think I have 4 left.  Phew, close call.  I need to stop making so many friends!

And instead of giving gifts to each of Avery’s teachers, we chose to give the Preschool a gift: Snowman and letter foam sticker kits.
IMG_4281

Avery had played with a fall version of these at the Turkey Trot, so we found them on sale (50% off!) on Black Friday, so we snagged them and the kiddos had fun making snowmen and their names.

Our latest holiday project was thought up by Mimi and Grampy.  We took gingerbread house making to the next level and made a candy log cabin!

IMG_4532

Avery had so much fun putting the candy on….IMG_4562

But I think he liked it so much because he got to EAT the candy too, haha.IMG_4549

We had waffer cookies for roof shingles, gummy bears, gum drops, necco waffers… and marshmellows.  Yum!IMG_4551

Avery was so proud when we were done :)IMG_4560

Grampy even drizzled some chocolate on the roof… looks so yummy!!!IMG_4561

Only 7 days until Christmas, and Avery knows it!  Mimi made a couple advent calendars for him and he never forgets to open his number every day!

IMG_4279

He’s got cars, candy, play doh, and an ornament.  So fun!  (Mimi made the calendar out of a muffin pan – pretty cool!!!)IMG_4280

We have a busy week, and our holidays start this weekend with Valyou Christmas on Sunday!

Happy Wednesday!!!

<3 Meghan

 

if you don’t already, follow us on Instagram – lots of photos of our daily shenanigans posted more frequent than blog posts ;)

Oh Christmas Tree

It’s a winter wonderland outside, thanks to the snowstorm we got here over the past couple days.  Schools were closed, roads were a mess, and the power threatened to go out.  Now there’s 8 inches or more of snow on the ground…. Avery is thrilled!  And I’m happy we got our tree last weekend because trekking thru this lovely white stuff would have been pretty funny.

On Sunday, we took a drive to a tree farm to pick out and cut down our Christmas tree.

IMG_4378

This was Avery’s first trip picking out a tree.  In years past, we used a fake one, and Mom and Dad even brought a tiny one down to Boston from Vermont one year.  Growing up, we would always go out looking and cutting down our Christmas tree, so it was very exciting for Avery to join in the tradition this year.

IMG_4375

We arrived, grabbed a sled and saw, and walked around in search of the perfect tree.  The tree farm had lots of rolling hills and roads.  Grampy and Avery piled into the sled and took the fast way down – sledding down the hill ahead of us.  Grampy said Avery was pretty excited when they got to the bottom (defined by the tree they crashed into) and yelled and cheered when they finished.

So, after looking around, we found a few contenders.  Avery picked the winner, and before chopping it down, we snagged some photos.

IMG_4374

IMG_4372

Avery helped Grampy saw the tree down…

IMG_4376IMG_4377

We hauled it to the road and put it in the truck.  Before we left, we stopped to see Santa!IMG_4369

We brought the tree home and later that night, we decorated it.  I asked Avery to demonstrate where the tree was going and how big it was…IMG_4379

And after clearing a path, Grampy and Mimi brought the tree in…IMG_4385IMG_4386IMG_4389IMG_4391IMG_4393

IMG_4396

Grampy clipped the branches down low – to make room for all the presents, of coarse!  Simon and Avery were intrigued…

IMG_4397

Avery helped pour water in the tree stand.

IMG_4401

It’s very exciting putting up a Christmas tree, especially with Christmas music playing and a broom stick to dance with…

And then it was time to decorate!  Lights first….IMG_4404IMG_4407IMG_4410

Avery likes colored lights best, so those went on next…

IMG_4412

While we were working on the tree, Grampy was making homemade pizzas for dinner.  Avery wanted in on the fun, so Grampy showed him how to stretch the dough…

Next, garland…

IMG_4414

Someone made a little house out of the furniture shoved on the side of the living room.  Avery had me put a blanket over his ‘house’ too, haha.IMG_4415

Next, ornaments…. see that concentration!?

IMG_4420

Awe, it’s so cute to see Avery’s baby ornaments… he was so tiny…and bald!IMG_4425IMG_4430IMG_4432

We have ornaments from when I was a kid… so many art projects, gifts, pictures that make for a very eclectic tree!

IMG_4436

Next – tinsel!

IMG_4437IMG_4440

And finally… the star!

IMG_4444

Sarah and I would take turns every year putting the star on.  This year, it was Avery’s turn!  And to prep for the tree skirt… we needed to do some clean up…

IMG_4447

And so, the tree is up!!!  The next morning… the elf went zip lining with candy canes!IMG_4449

Now, we just need some presents under that tree!  Avery is really understanding Christmas this year – he’s got an advent calendar adding the days up until Santa comes.  He’s helped pick out and wrap gifts.  It’s going to be a fun holiday season!

<3 Meghan

Thanksgiving Weekend

I have to admit, after a long 4-day Thanksgiving weekend, I was ready and excited to get  back to work on Monday.  I know, who says that after days of turkey, family, and… no work. Haha.  When Thanksgiving came last week, I was sooo ready for a break!  And I got such a nice break that I was ready to hit the ground running this week.

As with most things in my life, thanksgiving did not go as planned.  First of all, every Thanksgiving since I could remember, we’ve been going to my Aunt Debbie’s.  The entire family on Dad’s side gather in her house, watch football, go sledding outside (cuz we always have snow on thanksgiving in VT!), eat some yummy food, and play games/cards. Well, this year we weren’t doing that (Grandma wanted a small gathering this year instead), and Avery was supposed to spend Thanksgiving in Boston with his Dad and Grandma, AND my sis was in Texas, so Thanksgiving ‘plans’ were really up in the air.  I had friends in Boston I could join (Thanks everyone for offering!), or I could do the trek to and from Boston twice in the long weekend and come back to VT to spend it with my parents – and I was really leaning to doing that because my Dad kept teasing my Mom about taking him to Olive Garden for Thanksgiving (since Sarah and I weren’t around), and I couldn’t let that happen!  Plus, Mom had plans to decorate the house for the holidays and I was game for some downtime and helping her while Avery spent some time with his Dad and Grandma.

But as it turned out, on Tuesday night, Avery’s Dad and Grandma cancelled, so our plans were quickly changed.  We stayed in VT and had a fun and relaxing long weekend!

Wednesday: Our office closed early, so I made a run for it, and got in 3.63 miles before the snow hit that afternoon.  It was cold… sooo thankful for my cold weather gear I snagged weeks ago.IMG_4163

We had a fun evening, and while I was putting Avery to bed (he’s still struggling to go to sleep at night), I made some yummy truffles for Thanksgiving.IMG_4170

They took FOREVER, but the recipe was simple and I had fun decorating them…IMG_4174

I heard they were pretty yummy and Steve’s Mom wants my recipe, so I think I did OK!

Thursday:  On Turkey day, we woke up to inches and inches of snow!IMG_4185

So, we spent the morning outside… Avery helped Grampy shovel the decks off:
IMG_4181

And we did a little sledding in the backyard where I would sled with my sister when we were kids.  Avery was a trooper and other than his first trip up, he pulled the sled up behind himself (and was so darn cute when he fell every couple steps – but he would get back up and trek on!).IMG_4200

The snow wasn’t sticky at all, so we couldn’t build a snowman, but we had fun painting the snow blue!

IMG_4194

Avery went down for a nap, and I headed over to Steve’s house for the first of two Thanksgivings for the day.  I got my much needed glass of wine, yummy food, and some good laughs!  Although everyone liked my truffles, next year I might show up with some fancy buns and pecan pie ;)

Back at MiMi and Grampy’s house, Avery was dressed up for Turkey Day.

IMG_4202

We all (all five of us) sat down for Thanksgiving dinner and enjoyed some yummy food and deserts.  So Thankful for everyone around this table!IMG_4212

Avery wasn’t too thrilled with the spread… he would have preffered hot dogs and mac n cheese… but he doused his turkey in ketchup and enjoyed it :)
IMG_4208IMG_4209

Friday:  Guess who showed up on Friday morning?!  The Elf!  Avery has had so much fun looking for him the past few days.  Last year, he named the Elf, ‘Bunny’ but this year he’s just referred to as ‘Elf.’

IMG_4211

We usually go out shopping on Black Friday: not super early, but in the morning to snag some deals, so we continued the tradition.  We hit up a bunch of stores, got poinsetta flowers for the entry (Mom gets them every year and they look so nice, especially for $1 each!), hid a few gifts from Avery, and some stores we just looked around and walked out empty handed.  I already have 90% of my shopping done, so I was good and didn’t go too crazy.  IMG_4216

Avery was super well behaved too.  It did help that Grampy took him driving around in shopping carts while Mom and I got the shopping done, but man, was he a trooper.  He picked out this tractor as a prize for being such a good kiddo for the day:

IMG_4213

Oh and guess who we saw… Santa!IMG_4215

I can’t believe how adorable this picture came out!! I was expecting Avery to throw a fit like this one from two years ago…
Capture
I don’t have a picture from last year’s visit to see Santa, because Avery refused to sit on his lap.  So excited this year he was into it.  He asked Santa where his reindeer were and that was it, haha.  He was so shy he wouldn’t even tell Santa his name.  But candy canes were good incentives to take a nice picture :)

After our holiday shopping, we had a yummy late lunch at the Olive Garden (got to use a birthday gift card, finally!), and Avery was so super well behaved.  He colored, did stickers, played on the iPad, and ate so well.  Their kids’ menu is actually pretty great.  Avery even showed the waiter how to correctly tap the cheese grater after turning it (cuz we have one at home).  When we were getting up to leave, Avery said ” I’s sad because we not be here anymore’… so darn cute, and glad he had a good time.

Our last activity of our busy day out (which by the way, didn’t involve ANY accidents.  We hit the bathroom multiple times and Avery did such a great job!), was going to Church Street for the Tree and street lighting.  We got there early, and it was freezing out… so what was there to do??? Get Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, of coarse!

IMG_4238

Then we stood outside for a few minutes, got some cool antlers, and counted down the tree lighting.

IMG_4222IMG_4227

IMG_4237

Oh and we couldn’t leave before taking a ride on this train… oh Avery.  We went through sooo many quarters that day!IMG_4232

Saturday and Sunday: We spent the rest of the long weekend around the house.  The snow got sticky, so Avery got his snowman… with a little help from Grampy :)

IMG_4259

IMG_4261

IMG_4262

Oh and I snagged this cute pic to compare with the one I took months ago…

IMG_4239IMG_3299

I snuck in some time at night to wrap presents.

IMG_4171

We played cars, trains, and spent some time in Avery’s tunnel.IMG_4241

Avery helped Mimi decorate with window clings:IMG_4242IMG_4246

The holiday cards I ordered came in the mail, so Avery and I sat down to ‘work’ on art projects and addressing cards in front of Frosty the Snowman (Avery loved it – so we kept it on the DVR!) while sporting his ‘giraffe ears’ as he calls his antlers, haha.

IMG_4252

So, after a couple days at home, I was relaxed, and had spent lots of time with Avery, so when Sunday night came, I was ready to get back to our usual routine.

IMG_4255

Although it wasn’t what we planned, or what we have done in the past, it was a nice holiday weekend :)

This coming weekend we’re getting the Christmas tree, and Avery is already two days into his advent calendars… ’tis the season!  I’ll share more soon –

<3 Meghan

6 Month Countdown Begins

It’s December!!  That means many things…. 1. I’m sick of Turkey 2. Elf is back! (Avery has yet to give him a name other than call him Elf) 3. My Mom made a zillion DIY Christmas projects (and they look amazing!), and 4. Time to recap my student loan progress for last month:

26 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $11,917.63
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $29,950.90

I’m under $12k in student loan debt and paid off almost $30k.  Eek, that’s crazy!  And it’s even crazier looking at all the little numbers I keep track of… like interest.  When I started this, I was paying $190 a month in interest… JUST interest.  This past month, I only paid $40.  That right there goes to show how paying off loans faster saves you money in the long run.

November Review

  • Starting Balance: $13,725.94
  • End Balance:  $11,917.63
  • Payments Made: $1,814.36
  • Interest Paid: $40.19
  • Principle Paid: $1,774.17

I’m staying on track paying around $1800/mo. towards loans: The blue line is taking quite a dip!

Capture

Red = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

I stuck with my plan from last month, to pay less on the VSAC Loans, and pour that extra $ into Loan 1-01.  I only have $1376 left on that loan, which means, I’ll be able to pay it off this month, which was my goal when I mapped things out months ago.

Loan Pay Off Plan

Capture2
Ugh but Christmas is tricky.  We usually get a bonus at holiday time at our company, but the bonus plan changed and we get it in March, so I stashed $25 away every week since June, and it made a nice nest egg, but I’ll need to pay some bills from holiday shopping this month, oh and a couple plane tickets to California (vacation in February…woohoo!!!), so let’s hope I pull it off before the new year and knock out one more loan this year.  Yay!

I’m right on track… 6 months and I’ll be student loan debt free! Let the countdown begin… cross each one off the coming 6 months and it’s OVER!

  • December: Pay Off Loan 1-01 (usual $1800/mo)
  • January: Pay Off Loan C (usual $1800/mo)
  • February: Pay Off Loan B (usual $1800/mo)
  • March: Pay Off Loan A (Work Bonus & Tax return & usual $1800/mo)
  • April: Pay Off Loan 1-04 (usual $1800/mo)
  • May: Pay off Loan 1-03 (usual $1800/mo)

Oh and to help motivate me… I found THE HOUSE to buy.  Not just a house I spotted online and like and hope it’ll be there a year from now.  I was made an offer to buy a relative’s house nearby, and plans are in motion to make that happen.  So once loans are paid off (so I can afford a mortgage!), then I’ll have the summer to save for a down payment, and this fall, the house will be ours :)

Happy December!

<3 Meghan

Check out my About Meghan page for more posts on finances and paying off my student loans.

Turkey Trot 2014

So, I ran the turkey trot again this year in my hometown.  Don’t get all excited for me yet.  I only ran the 3k, not the 10k this year.  I know, I know.  Slacker!  Life got away from me, working crazy hours and trekking back and forth to Boston the past couple months – running was not on the priority list.  But I didn’t NOT run.  So, don’t hate!

On Saturday, although it was frigid and WINDY, me, Avery and my dear friend Ayla all ran the Turkey Trot!  Yep, you heard right, Avery ran too!  His first race NOT in a stroller!

We got all decked out in our cold weather gear, but got to keep warm in the gym pre-race.IMG_4115

Thanks, Mom for the blurry photo!

Avery was signed up to run the kids 100 yard dash (that’s the length of a football field!) But he was not having it.  Typical toddler.  He eventually let me put his bib on him, and proceeded to tear it off.  Oh, Avery.  Which lead to this pleasant photo…IMG_4116

He did NOT want to race.  And that was fine.  We headed out of the gym to the start of the race, and on our way out, Avery changed his mind and said he wanted to race.  I left him with Grampy at the start line, while Ayla and I headed to the finish to cheer him on.  There were 15 or so kiddos, mind you they could all barely move with the hats, mittens, boots and cold weather gear they had on (it was 25 degrees out!), but when they were told GO, they booked it!  Avery ran like a champ, smiling and turning his head to see the other kids run with him.  He finished running into my arms laughing.  He was pretty fast – finishing 4th or 5th.  All the kiddos got a chocolate turkey as a prize (which was later ate in a matter of minutes!).

I apologize for the lack of pics and video when Avery ran… every time I take my phone out to take a video or picture of this kid, he gets shy and stops whatever he’s doing, so I didn’t want to jinx his first race.  It worked!

I handed Avery over to Mimi and Ayla and I headed into the crowd to run… can you find me?IMG_4137

Avery played with Mimi and Grampy as we ran.  Thanks to my Dad for snagging these nice shots as we came into the finish!IMG_4138

I was so proud of Ayla.  She’s a new Mom and is keeping in shape post-baby.  She ran further and faster than the color run a couple months ago.

IMG_4139

We came to the finish line smiling and Ayla wanted me to finish first, but I did a studder step right before the finish line and she finished before me :)IMG_4140

After the race we all got to play with Ava, Ayla’s daughter.IMG_4141

We played in the warm gym as we waited for the 10K racers to finish.  Avery spent some time at the craft table and played with another boy he made friends with.  Then we grabbed some goodies at the raffle before heading home.

No idea what our time was, we were just happy to get some girl/mommy time in together and have a fun time.  So proud of Ayla and Avery :)IMG_4118

And that concludes my races for 2014….

<3 Meghan