Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Braces: Parte the Third

The government has decided I don't need braces.

Every year, I submit my income so they can figure out my student loan payment. I'm on the income-based plan because it's the easiest for me. My loan payments have always hovered around $120 - $140.

Last night, I got a notice stating my payments are going up to $347.

Um, what?

When I graduated, my interest rate was 2%. During the 2008 bank bail-outs, my interest rate went up to 7%. But I'm not bitter.

I got a promotion in late 2010, which meant my income for tax year 2011 was higher than previous years. It wasn't that much higher, though, and certainly not enough to warrant a $200 increase in my payment.

I plan to call them today to make sure it's correct. The code on the payment plan looked wrong, so I'm hoping it was a miscalculation on their part.

In the meantime, I've canceled my appointment for panoramic x-rays and the "before" pictures taken with the Predator Appliance**. My braces were going to cost $200/month, the exact increase in my student loan payment.

It's as if they knew.

Now, I'm not complaining about paying the loan back. It is a loan, and I knew that when I was in school. I knew I couldn't skate by on it forever. I suppose I'm just miffed that it's such a large increase after becoming accustomed to the payment going up by only $20-40 every year.

Braces aren't totally out of the picture, though. I crunched some numbers last night, and it turns out I'll be able to re-visit the idea in a year or so, once I have another loan paid off. This will also give me time to set up my FSA at work, meaning the money for my braces is taken out pre-taxes.

If the government is going to screw me, I may as well screw them right back.

**Do a Google image search for "before braces". Now do a Google image search for "Predator". See the resemblance? Or just go to my first post about braces.

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