Paying Down Debt – October 2016

Oh my gosh, you guys.

Oh. My. Gosh.

We are SO close to being debt free {other than our home}.  Click HERE to see our current balance.  Eek!

I am hoping this is the last post I will ever write as a person who is enslaved to debt.  And if you have debt, a slave is exactly what you are.  The Bible even says so:

Proverbs 22:7b – “The borrower is slave to the lender.”

Debt ties up the financial freedoms you could have to give, invest, retire stress-free . . .

So it is my dearest hope that I click and clack on this keyboard as a FREE woman next month.  I already have what I want to share with you all drafted in my mind.  It’s been drafted for months, actually.

Today I want to focus on how it feels to be “Almost There.”

First, it’s hard to grasp the concept that we are “Almost There.”  For the past 12 years of our marriage we’ve been drowning in debt.  It seemed like it would just always be around. Actually, if we would have paid the minimum payment on our student loans, it would have taken 30 years!  No, thank you.  When we got serious about paying off our debt, we figured we could get it done in five-six years instead.  The mindset changed from feeling like we would just be in debt forever to: “Man, I guess we have to work our butts off for a long time . . .”  We did work our butts off, and after countless nights of only getting about five hours of sleep in order to make extra money, we have gotten “Almost There” in just three short years instead.  It kind of snuck up on us, so it’s truly difficult to believe.

The “What If’s” are starting to creep in.  We are only $2,426 from being debt free, y’all.  Now I’m thinking back to every unnecessary purchase we’ve made in the past three years.  Like: “If I hadn’t bought that package of Ramen Noodles, we’d be $0.20 closer, dangit!!!” Seriously though, we’ve cut out so much from our lives the past three years and we’re like practically the poster children for the word FRUGAL, but it does make me think: “What if I wouldn’t have traveled to Ohio over the summer . . . ?” or “What if we wouldn’t have dined at that restaurant . . .?” or “What if I hadn’t taken the kids to that amusement park . . .?” All of those expenses could have added up to almost $2,500 over time, and we could have been done already.  Meh.

On the other hand, by being “Almost There” I’ve noticed that the desires to be more lax with my budgeting/spending are so strong it ain’t even funny.  We’re miraculously slightly ahead of schedule, so I constantly have thoughts like: “Oh, it won’t be a big deal if I buy those shoes . . .”  I have to really watch myself.  Don’t be alarmed if you see me slapping myself in the face as I walk past department stores at the mall . . . drooling at the cute outfits on the window mannequins and uttering, “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”  Have no fear – I didn’t buy the shoes . . . but I do have a small bruise on my cheek {wink}.

Lastly, let me tell you about interest.  This part always fascinates me—probably because I love crunching numbers.  When we were $82,000 in debt we were dishing out $11.79 just in interest A DAY.  That’s $353/month and $4,246/year.  Now that our balance is a wee $2,426, our interest is only $0.35/day.  It’s super fun seeing more and more of our payments go to the principle instead of down the drain.

Anyway . . . let’s get to the hard work.  In the month of October we paid off $4,220!  Here is how we did it:

  • I had an unusually profitable month with my Bondbons business again.  That included catering two weddings.
  • My husband continued painting and working on cars for people.
  • I supervised the ACT test bright and early on a Saturday morning.
  • I supervised several Saturday morning detentions and subbed during my plan period.
  • We referred a friend to the school our kids attend.  The school was doing a special offer this year {thanks to an awesome donor} that gave a HUGE credit toward school tuition for referrals.  Because of that credit we didn’t have to pay any tuition in October, so that money went to the debt instead.  We also won’t have to pay for November or part of December.  Talk about perfect timing!

Please stay tuned for our update next month.  Like I said, it’s already drafted in my head.

Love,

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Paying Down Debt – June+July 2016

I recently started using the MyFitnessPal app in order to better track my caloric intake.  I was a bit depressed when it was discovered that to lose any weight, I could only consume 1,200 calories a day.  By the way, my husband is allowed over 3,000 calories {and I hate him}.

So . . . 1,200 calories.  That’s it.  I quickly realized that I had to make conscious efforts to meal plan, measure portions, research, and find healthier alternatives.  Oh, but fun news! If I exercise, I can eat more.  Like, if I walk about 300 steps, I can have an extra cup of kale.

Yay . . .

Dieting is so much like budgeting.  It’s no wonder that so many Americans are overweight, broke, or both—it’s way easier and fun just to eat and spend how you want.  But weight isn’t going to magically come off and debt isn’t going to magically go away.  You have to be proactive about both.  My 1,200 allotted calories is like my budget.  I can’t “spend” more than that or I’m not going to see results.  But if I want to eat a little more, well . . . I’ve gotta take a few laps around the block.  If I want to see my debt go down, I have to live within my means and work some extra hours.

Working extra hours.  That is something my husband and I have done nonstop since we started this journey to become debt-free almost 3 years ago.  Luckily we have a lot more time over the summer since we’re both teachers.  We’ve cut back so much on spending the last few years, but the key to our success has definitely been a lot of overtime.

I am happy to report that June and July have been way more auspicious than April or May. We were able to pay off $6,966 of student loan debt in those two months!!!  This does not even include all the business debt my husband had to pay off as well.  To see our current balance, click here.

Here is what we’ve been doing over our summer “break”:

  • I worked on a curriculum committee for several days
  • I taught summer school during the month of June.
  • Randy has been painting nonstop {like 12-14 hours a day at times}
  • I helped Randy paint, again, and it was horrible, again
  • I supervised the ACT on a Saturday morning
  • Randy fixed up a couple of vehicles and sold them {he used to be a mechanic}
  • July was extremely busy for my Bondbons business.  Not only have I had a lot of orders {when summertime is typically slow}, but I’ve been hired for several future weddings.

I thought I’d share a strategic move I made for those of you number-crunching-nerds like me.  One reason our payout was so high in June {which in and of itself was not an awesome month} was because my husband and I both received our June, July, and August paychecks at the beginning of the summer {well . . . after the Kansas legislature decided it was important to adequately fund public education}.  Anyway, I took the amount that we pay toward student debt every month from our salaries and made one big payment in June instead of making those payments in July and August.  I did this for two reasons.  1) April and May were so horrible that I needed to see that balance go down in a big way to get me motivated again. 2) By paying a large chunk sooner allowed our lovely interest that accrues daily to go down.  We ended up saving us around $25, just by making those payments one and two months ahead of time.  Not a ton, but every bit helps.

Oh, and by the way, since starting MyFitnessPal in late May, I’ve only lost about 2 pounds. I’m clearly better at budgeting the checkbook than the snacks.  {wink}.

Stay tuned for our August update.

Love,

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Paying Down Debt – March 2016

I usually try to come up with something funny, thoughtful, or inspirational to share at the beginning of these posts, but I just don’t have it in me this month for our debt update.

Sorry, kids.

Nothing particularly interesting happened this month, but we were still able to pay off $2,973 in March.

Holla.

Click here to see our latest balance.

We’ve done the same old same old this past March:

  • I have continued tutoring a home bound student
  • I have subbed as much as possible during my plan period
  • Randy and his crew have done a lot of painting
  • We sold some stuff around the house through Facebook
  • I’ve supervised detentions
  • I had a successful month with Bondbons
  • I have done some committee work through school
  • We’ve made a point to be exceptionally frugal

I am happy to report that we have now paid off 70% of our debt.  Eek!

This March we celebrated both our son and daughter’s birthdays.  Birthdays can get expensive, but since we budget for birthdays, Christmas, and other gifts throughout the whole year, this was not an added financial stress this month.  Do you know how much more enjoyable it is to celebrate your child’s special day when you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for everything?

Well, it’s glorious.

Stay tuned for our next update.

Love,

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