Debt timeline

I’ve re-done some math and have determined that, even with buying our ‘new’ used car, we can get out of debt by the end of 2013, not February of 2014 as previously posted. This is less than 2 years from now, fewer than 24 months. We actually recently discussed cutting everything unless it was absolutely necessary, to see how much of an impact that could make on our debt snowball. We determined we could shorted up our debt timeline by a couple months, but it wasn’t a significant enough dent to forego some of the things we love–our lunch dates out, for instance–so we decided we’ll just try to stick to the spending plan as closely as possible so our timeline doesn’t get longer. I’ve set up one of those annoying tickers to track our debt:

The end is in sight!

Student loan saga continues

I logged into my student loan servicer account last week to check on an extra payment I made that hadn’t gone through yet, and discovered my loan balance was listed as $0. I immediately wondered where in the world my loans went this time… if you haven’t been following the story of my student loans, suffice it to say that I’ve dealt with so many servicers, I’ve lost count. I’m guessing this is somewhat normal, but it seems my loans do a heck of a lot more traveling than I do.

I called the customer service number and quickly learned where my loans had been moved, and promptly signed up for a new online account. Honestly, I think the best part of being debt free will be never having to think about where my loans are at any given moment.

I e-mailed the new servicer because my account is not fully active yet, and I’m unable to make payments. They responded within 24 hours that it will take 1-2 weeks for all of my files to be transferred. My main concern is that I’m going to miss a payment date, and that interest is still accruing at an unknown rate (because I qualified for an interest rate deduction for having auto payments set up with my previous servicer).

I’m just glad that, even having bought a replacement vehicle, these loans can still be completely gone by February of 2014, give or take a month or two. That’s less than 24 months from now, so the end really is in sight.

Grilled cheese sandwiches

I am eating a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch today, as I have for many lunches in the past couple months. I had this bad habit of not bringing anything to work to eat for lunch, and then I’d run to Wendy’s, which is the nearest quick lunch location from where I work. And if you go to Wendy’s, you can get chili, or a salad, but I always have to get the fries… they are so darn good. This habit was not helping me in two ways: my health and the spending plan (aka budget).

So I decided I needed to come up with something that I can just toss in my purse each morning, and I came up with grilled cheese. I keep a stick of butter in some tupperware in my office so all I need is bread and cheese. It’s a surprisingly awesome lunch (and better if I can grab a piece of fruit to go with it). It sticks with me and brings me back to childhood. It’s fast. And anyone who sees me making one in the breakroom is immediately jealous. Seriously, I’ve had so many people comment on my lunch. Cheap, easy, delicious, healthier than fried potatoes (I use whole wheat bread and American cheese).

I know that for most people, bringing dinner leftovers is probably the easiest/cheapest lunch around, but I’ll admit that I don’t really cook dinner. I mean, I do eat dinner, in that I eat food sometime after I get home from work, but it might be 3 olives, a piece of toast, a banana, and a glass of orange juice. Because my husband works many evenings, and eats work-provided food, we don’t cook unless we’re both home. This usually means Tuesdays, Fridays, and every other weekend. One area we both know we need to work on is grocery shopping, both in terms of what we buy and how much we spend. We have food in our fridge and cupboards, but we are bad at ‘meals.’ It usually ends up being pasta, easy soups, stir fry, chili, enchilladas, or ‘breakfast for dinner.’ I generally don’t do #2 on this list:

What do you do when you’re lazy and you only need to cook for one? Any ideas for easy meals with minimal prep and 7 or fewer ingredients?