For those who are new readers, I will just give a quick history. I am a part-time work-at-home insurance nurse and I am in grad school to earn my masters in nursing education. We had planned on using tuition reimbursement to cover much of my degree, but when I was forced to leave my full-time position to manage our children’s needs, we had to make a decision: do I hold off grad school, take out loans, or figure out how to pay cash?
We had just paid off my loans from degree #2 and we did not want to take out more loans. This graduate degree is #4, and we cash flowed and used tuition reimbursement for #3 while paying off the last of the loans for #2. Yes, it was a little crazy. We knew it would be tight if we opted to try paying cash, but we thought we could do it. That means we have to pay between $2800-3900 every three months between August 2015 and January 2017.
Is it really the end of April?
I have been doing some bare-bones posting the past few weeks. I know a few of my classmates in grad school read this blog, and they can probably attest that the past few weeks have been utterly exhausting and full of many late nights trying to get all of our work done in time. I have probably written 40 pages of text in two weeks on top of working a few shifts at my part-time job and managing three kids.
Where do we stand?
I was able to pay cash for my next set of classes that start in one week, a health assessment course for advanced practice nurses and a pathophysiology course.
We had a huge surprise a couple weeks ago when we finally finished our taxes. It’s been a year now since I dropped to part-time, and we have a better idea of how much I will earn in a year. Last year we didn’t have a clue, so we changed nothing about our withholdings.
We ended up dropping to a different tax bracket and got a crazy $8000 back in our taxes. Believe me, we try not to give Uncle Sam a free loan, so we were shocked. The upside of this is that this will cover two of the last three tuition payments.
That’s right- we only need to save enough for our last tuition payment, due in late December 2016/early January of 2017. That is going to be a piece of cake!
We are not going hog wild with our spending however. We still are saving to max two Roth IRAs for 2016, a replacement car for the mister, and a host of house repairs, so we are staying the course. We have decided to adjust our withholdings, in the meantime, and my husband is going to increase contributions to his 403(b). This may bring us higher than our estimated 14% of gross income retirement savings for 2016. Woot!
I am still applying for scholarships, and will apply for a few more this weekend while I am on break from school. I know I got an A in one class, and am still waiting for grading to be done in another, so my GPA should rise. Even a little bit will help!
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