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Goal For The Next 6 Months 11-3-11


Zaga

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Things have changed up a bit in the last few months. The heating oil tank was becoming unstable (it's behind a retaining wall that's falling down) and it's about 50 years old. So since we really wanted to have an energy efficient we got a ground source heat pump furnace/ac and insulated the house. That said here is where we currently stand:

 

Sallie Mae - $1.8K

HEL - $24.4K

Dept of Ed - $70.8K

I'm sure there are lots of wet noodles out there about this step backwards, but here is our plan going forward:

 

1. Pay Sallie Mae off by the end of this year, this should be relatively easy.

2. Fund Roth's enough to get to 15% before the end of Feb. I anticipate needing $3K for this. For next year we have the 401-K's up at 15% so there will likely be no Roth contributions next year, we needed the tax break in 2012 more than ever.

3. Send huge tax refund (which is because of getting the geothermal system) to the HEL.

4. Decide at that point how much money can be sent each month to what is left of the HEL, set that on automatic.

5. Save for other goals throughout the year such as property taxes, repairing the back porch, and a nice vacation (it's been a few years and May will be our 5th year together).

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I am not going to get out my noodle.....since we had that happen to us last year with our well going out. When you only have $1k between you and disaster.....Well, we have to have water.

 

And you need heat and it sounds like you had to have it. Now you have a plan to get it paid off. So I would just chalk it up to that and move forward. If I remember right (and believe me, that's a HUGE if......you were in 4/5/6 anyway) and your SLs were your step 6 because you own your house outright.

 

I would just keep on hitting it like you are......you guys are doing great!

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Well we may have been able to nurse the oil tank through another winter if we'd tried, but I really hated that thing, and it's age does worry me quite a bit. Now I wonder what it will cost to have removed and I really hope it never leaked!

 

You're right, we're in step 4/6 with student loans as BS6, and now a HEL is in there too and up next.

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It is personal finance. I can say however, that being free of the SL is such a huge relief! You will not believe how nice it is to have that monkey off your back. How much of that HEL will be covered with your nice tax break?

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I'm also totally jealous of your geothermal heating system. How are you liking it? I've always wondered about the air quality vs. forced hot air. Did you already have the ductwork in or did you have to redo it? How did you go about really evaluating it? How much backup heat do you need?

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I can't answer most of those questions yet, it's only been finished for a week. The air is cooler and runs more often than the oil furnace, but it's almost silent so no biggie. We also have a humidifier integral to the system, so the air is much more comfortable than with the old system. The ductwork is pretty much unchanged, they hooked right into our existing ductwork.

 

The part I am most looking forward to is the summer, previous to this we were only using window units. Those are loud! And not very energy efficient. I'm looking forward to sleeping well in the summer instead of with ear plugs.

 

We will be getting 30% of the cost back in a tax credit, so over $6,000. That plus whatever else we get back in taxes from overwithholding and deductions from getting our house insulated (pretty sure there is a credit or deduction for that this year) will go to the loan.

 

Yes, I know, I really do want the SL gone, but I guess DH and I are not nearly as motivated as you and your DH were!

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I'm curious to know how much it increases your electricity cost over the next month. Do you have a backup system for heating? What was the total cost before tax breaks? Thanks so much being willing to share.

 

We were so motivated because I wanted to have the option to work more part time if I really wanted to if I eventually can have kids.

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Total cost for our system was about $19K, then the insulation which was needed to get the most out of the system was the rest of the HEL. It was so high because we got it injected into the outside walls all around. That's been done for a few months now and it's been amazing to have the house insulated! If I could do it all over again I'd do the insulation again in a heartbeat! We had no furnace until last week and other than a space heater in a few rooms we were just fine, I just can't say enough good things about having a properly insulated house finally!

 

Yes, there is a backup, it's a part of the system. There are heat strips in the furnace that will kick on during super cold times. Hopefully that won't happen often because the heat strips are pretty expensive to run.

 

I do have 4.5 years of electric bills on my budget spreadsheet, it has it's own tab. I'll be watching very closely to what this does to our electric consumption. I do expect it to increase some because we were on heating oil previously, but the total between electric and oil should be a lot less.

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Also I have another year and a half before finishing up my MBA, my income should increase at that point and our tax bill (because the free education is a taxable benefit) will decrease also. That's where most of my energy and focus has been going this past year.

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We insulated the attic. They would like to shoot insulation under our roof because we have cathedral ceilings. I am wondering if it would be better to just wait until we have to replace our roof and then insulate it better then.

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Hmmm, I don't know about that kind of roof. I will say that the injected insulation process was pretty fast, even drilling through the mortar between our bricks. We also had the ceiling of the garage injected because our bedroom is above the garage and it made it rather cold in there.

 

When we had our roof replaced a few years ago they did not take off the wood, just the shingles, so injection would still have been needed if our roof was like yours.

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