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Archive for March, 2022

This and That

March 23rd, 2022 at 10:06 pm

Just a few mid (ish) month updates.

My vacation came and went.  Spent more than I would have preferred to but it will be my only vacation this year, and I'm very glad I went.  New Orleans is a lovely city, I got to have some special moments, and hope to go back soon to see and do more.  

Finally completed my taxes.  I owe about $3k to federal and about $500 to state.  I will pay state outright, and will have to do a payment plan for federal.  Between my bonus coming in May, and my homestead exception for property taxes that is paid out over the summer, that should pay them off completely.  The amount owed is more than I had hoped for, but an additonal $22k of taxable income was added for 2021 between bank bonuses and cancelled debt so it is not a surprise.  

I decided not to move forward with the refinance at this time.  It just wasn't a good deal, and even if I feel it would have gotten me further ahead than where I can get by staying the course and making the planned payments, it was at too great a cost.  There were a few helpful commenters, a few condescending judgemental commenters, and a few who clearly haven't read any of my other posts.  While all but the first category of commenters annoyed me quite a bit, I decided to ignore them and move on.  

The increase to my 401k contribution went into effect with my last paycheck.  My estimate for the impact to my net pay was fairly close.  Now I am just waiting for my annual merit increase to come out, which should be within a few weeks.  Once I have that, I can do a little more concrete short term planning.   

Looking for Advice on Refi

March 7th, 2022 at 05:32 pm

I am rarely looking for advice when I post, so I want to be clear that this time, I am!  Ha.

The bank with whom I had submitted an application for my refinance unfortunately denied me, saying that my credit score doesn't meet portfolio guidelines (mildly annoying since I was open with the team's assistant about where I believed it was when I spoke to her prior to formally submitting - and I was in the right range for 2 of 3). 

However, on the next page of the denial letter, it's a bit more detailed, and goes bureau by bureau.  Scores are 645 EXP/632 TU/600 EQ, and the reasons given are "serious deliquency" (2/3), "serious delinquency and derogatory public record or collection filed" (1/3), "proportion of balance to high credit on revolving accounts" (3/3), "number of accounts with delinquency" (3/3), "length of time accounts have been established" (1/3), "time since delinquency is too recent or unknown" (2/3).  So basically, my utilization is too high, and all of the derogatories, while resolved, are too many/too recent for this loan.  Not worried about the length of time one, I know the average age of my credit went down as some of my older accounts got closed, and that's only one report.  

There are no current delinquencies on my report.  There are a lot of accounts that were settled for less than the balance due, and the timeframe ranges from late 2020 through Aug 2021.  I need to go through account by account again and double check that all reflect $0 balance, but I believe they do.  

I got in touch with the gentleman who did my current mortgage (at a national bank), and using the info I fed him (ie, he did not do a pull, just entered my credit score as I gave him, based on the ranges from the denial letter (I did not see the 600, as it's on another page lol - perhaps subconscious denial lolol), so I gave him a range of 630-645.  He was able to do a quick estimate but obviously nothing is certain.  He was able to estimate that it would be a rate of 4.75%, I'd have to buy points to get that rate for a cash out refi, my closing costs would be around $8k, and, assuming my value is $220k, I would receive $20-21k at closing, and have a new payment of $918.  For reference, my current monthly payment is $830, rate is 5%. 

If I can successfully refi, I will be using the proceeds for payoff of the personal loan I took out to pay off the settled credit cards (this feels full circle lol).  The current balance on that loan is about $16.5k.  Without any extra payments, it is scheduled to be paid off in April 2025.  I do pay extra twice a month.  Currently the payment on this loan is $349.07 semi-monthly ($698.14), plus an extra $150 semi-monthly - for a total of $998.14 a month.  The closing costs are high, but this frees up so much cash flow ($900 a month after accounting for the increase in my mortgage payment) that I can put towards the revolving debt, and then hopefully start saving for my next down payment. 

My line of thinking is....I think I gotta settle for another crappy move in order to clear out of here, but I also may be not seeing it from all angles.  By my math, if I take this offer, the closing costs will have have paid for themselves in 9 months, which is a full 2 years before the loan would be paid off otherwise.  Much harder to quantify the positive impact this would also have on my other debt and my overall financial picture...with the freed up cashflow, I can probably have the credits cards paid off completely before the end of the year as well, not including other cash already budgeted to do so, and snowflakes that come in throughout the year.  The closing costs are high and will cost me money, but less money than continuing the pay the insane interest on this loan and the credit cards.  In my mind. two questions are....

1.  Is this line of thinking sound, based on the context?  Even knowing that this is an expensive mortgage to undertake, based on points/closing costs, I do still feel that paying the money will be better off in the mid term and beyond.  But I am looking for external viewpoints.  I may not end up agreeing in the end lol but seeing an opposing opinion is always good.

2.  Based on the reasons for denial from the first bank, is it even reasonable to think I will get approved from another bank?  Is it worth taking the hit for the inquiry to see, and go from there?  If I get denied again, then I guess I have no choice but to wait a bit longer, and continue paying things as I am right now.   I have reached out to a mortgage officer at another national bank (who just did a refi for a friend), but have not heard back.  A broker nearby basically told me the closing costs were too high and he didn't recommend even trying then stopped responding to my emails <insert eye roll>.

February Spending & Summary

March 1st, 2022 at 05:25 pm

February is my least favorite month, so I am not sad it's over.  The good news is that it's a short month, and it appears to have been a less spendy one, that's something anyway...

Off we go!  As always, this captures just my "discretionary" spending, not my bills.  I do not consider bills to be spending as I have less control over them in the short term. 

The convention here is Category - Feb Spending/YTD Spending:  context

Car/Gas - $41.60/$77.38:  this was a tank of gas and some parking.  I have definitely noticed gas prices going up, but since I don't get gas often, I haven't started to "feel" it yet.  I average once a month or so.  

Clothing/Accessories - ($2.48)/$581.54:  after a lot of shopping in January, I had a bunch of returns that ended up leaving me with negative spending for Feb.  I've talked about this before, but a lot of the time clothes shopping for me is necessary since my body has changed so much.  Anytime things start to ease up and there is an opportunity for socializing, I realize how many holes there are in my wardrobe now!  

Dining/Entertainment - $319.52/$664.12:  this month included a birthday dinner that I covered for one of my best friends, as well as my share of drinks and dinner out with a friend I haven't seen for a long time.  The rest was takeout and delivery.  Blah, higher than I'd like, but my grocery category was fairly low, so I guessss it balances?  Sorta?

Grocery/Household - $253.24/$743.11:  as mentioned above, pretty low this month.  I guess I just didn't need much.  The amount I budget for groceries is $400 a month.  If I can keep it on the lower side in March, that would also be helpful.  

Health/Wellness - $473.42/$537.97:  this number is misleading, as I purchased something that will be covered mostly by a wellness stipend from work, which I will receive reimbursement for in March, so there will be an offset.  Otherwise, this includes something I moved from the FSA category as it was denied so I had to reimburse the account and my monthly Peloton membership.  

Home Decor/Furniture - $0/$387.70: a no spend category!  

Medical (non FSA) - $89.22/($110.78):  this category is still negative YTD due to a refund I got in January.  This month was some delayed medical bills from last year, so I could not pay for them using my FSA.  

Miscellaneous - $0/$115.16:  another no spend category!

Office Supplies - $0/$126.26:  another one!  This category should remain low this year, it pretty much gets used for printer ink, which I just bought in January.

Personal Care - $148.03/$674.71:  it was my month to pay for mani/pedi with mama.  

Pet - $151.96/$151.96:  the usual.  Cat food and litter.  Got a good deal at Target so I stocked up, so I shouldn't have much if any spending here in March.  Looks like I hadn't bought anything yet this year so that works for me.

Subscriptions - $2.99/$134.95:  just my monthly iCloud this month.  In March, I have a streaming service renewal coming (I prefer to pay annually rather than monthly).  

Travel - $710.02/$710.02:  this is the cost for the flight and my share of the hotel for my upcoming trip to New Orleans.  The hotel actually didn't technically charge me yet, but my friend already paid me back for her half, so I figured it was easier to just leave it in February.  With two major surgeries this year, I don't foresee much traveling this year, so while I would have liked to pre-fund a travel category to cover, it is what it is.  

Total excluding FSA - $2187.52/$4794.05:  not a very spendy month, even with the large travel expense.  I'll take it Smile 

Medical (FSA) - ($146.06)/$204.85:  I don't include this in my spending, since it is not money directly out of my pocket.  I am aware that it's my money funding the account, but I don't have to directly budget for it Smile  This month ended up being net negative, since I made a return/reimbursed the account for a purchase I had made with it in January that was subsequently denied.  Otherwise, it was used for the usual - co-pays, prescriptions, etc.  

Grand Total including FSA - $2041.46/$4998.90:  Funny how it goes down when I include another category!

Below is this month's summary:

Debt still continuing to go down, still struggling to get those credit cards back down to where they were at the start of the year and beyond, but working on it.  Cash savings took a hit this month to pay for upcoming travel, but at least it didn't go on a credit card.  As always, this does not include the 401k contribution/loan payment from my end of month paycheck.  Doesn't feel like a ton of progress was made, but I know I'm chugging along.