Category Archives: debt

Thankful

I just felt I needed to share how thankful we are for the generosity of fiends and family. I’ve mentioned in posts before, how we have received gifts for the baby and how the only new items we purchased are some shelving for the baby’s closet.

That still holds true.

Since those posts, we’ve received a few more gifts – a couple of which were duplicates, which actually is completely terrific! Because duplicate gifts mean I can return one and get a store credit. We are now a little over halfway to purchasing the car seat with gift cards & in-store credits.

It’s one of the few items we felt it would be best to make sure was new.

Other than that – in a week or so, May by the Numbers will actually have a bit of an update. The debt snowball is still on hold, but we’ve made some unexpected progress.

Stay tuned…

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Still Pushing the Boulder Down Hill (AKA April by the Numbers)

As you know, our debt snowball is on pause. A status it has maintained since November. In the meantime, as we build up our crisis fund with extra money, we still pay our minimums. And just because I like round numbers, I’m actually paying 4 dollars more on something each month just because it makes it a nice number ending in a 5 instead of a 1.

Even with very slow momentum, this boulder of debt is still rolling down hill.  It makes the pushing feel just a little lighter each month.

We have around $14,500 left. Since December, that means we’ve chipped away another $1,000. EVEN in a time of slower income. It’s the little victories that keep us excited and motivated.

If we maintain this really small 4 dollars extra a month (which we won’t — we’ll dump in a lot at some point hopefully this year) but even that small amount, added to last year’s work, all of our debt would be gone, March 2019.

My student loan, when consolidated in 2008, was set for 20 years. So – even this would be 9 years early!  CRAZY. 

In the battle against debt, math can sometimes be very discouraging. But when you start pushing that boulder just a little harder, and the down hill momentum works in your favor, Math becomes your greatest friend and encourager.

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February by the Numbers

And, not much to report.

Baby is still on its way. Hubby’s work is still slow. Debt Snowball is still on pause.

However – I did a bit of math the last few weeks and was amazed at – with slower work, the payroll tax holiday ending and my insurance premiums going up – how much less in income we take home each month than a mere 6 months ago.  This realization (along with news headlines this week pointing out that across the country, income has dropped significantly) – I was so thankful that we started getting out of debt last year.

I think we have somewhere around $500 LESS a month in payments because of all the items we finished paying off.  So not only did we save a ton of money (on interest that we won’t be changed), we created a decent bit of margin in our monthly budget. That is really helping us get through our current drop in income.

[March sneak peek… Might be ‘Consignment by the Numbers’  🙂 ]

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A Debt Snowball Setback

So… in November I posted about how we were putting the debt snowball on hold due to a slower than expected fall. This was, and is still true.

However – we also had a second reason – which we could not share at the time… and while it’s a debt snowball setback – it’s also terrific news.

We’re expecting a baby!

Due this summer – so our debt payoff is on hold – but we couldn’t be more overjoyed.

And we are so thankful for all the hard work we put in last year.  Baby will be born into a family that is only a few more payoffs from being debt free!

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December by the Numbers

To start with – no new progress was made on debt this month. We are still putting the debt snowball on hold due to lower than expected income.  We are adding to our “crisis fund” which we hope will we will convert into debt pay-off one day.

One specific number I thought I could highlight from this month was our Vacation Fund.  We planned since May to go to Washington State to have Christmas with my family. Every month, we put aside money for the vacation. From this fund, we paid for our plane tickets, our rental car, and all of our on trip expenses and purchases. We still worked to be frugal on the trip, not spending excessive amounts. We are pleased to report we were at least $600 UNDER budget.  SWEET! Because you know what that means… the extra $600 goes into the Crisis Fund.

Since I don’ t have any other numbers to report, I thought I’d do a quick summary of 2012 by the numbers.

This year, we sold items on CraigsList, re-purposed gift cards, and turned coins into the bank in order to drum up some extra income. We also had several items come up that we had to figure out how to cash-flow. We cash-flowed enough money to cover a Garage Reno, an MRI, a Washer, a mattress set, and the closing costs on our home refinance. And of course, squeezed every cent we could find out of the budget for extra debt payments.

Extra income for 2012: $2,121

Cash-flowed in 2012: $6,181

Over and above debt payments for 2012: $27,304

Total Debt paid in 2012: $31,018

Amount of Debt left – Aiming to be paid off in 2013.  Approximately $15,500

I look at those numbers and I think wow. You mean… we put enough toward debt to pay for a new car?

I find it SO encouraging. No, we don’t have that money to use now – but yes, we are avoiding even MORE than that in would-be-interest.  And once all the debt is gone, we have already established really great financial habits which will help us reach goals like paying cash for a car a lot quicker than we ever thought we could.

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October by the Numbers

So… again, a slow month. Not very exciting numbers – however, I guess for perspective, any number above 0 is better than what could have been. We did have someone give us $10 extra dollars for running an errand for them- so there was extra income this month 🙂

We’ve collected a few more items to craigslist or put on ebay, so hopefully we’ll have some extra income from selling those items soon.

Also, for my office Halloween luncheon, my department went as the social network, with all of us being different social media sites. I was Blogger, as in blogspot, where I blogged from 2005 – 2009. I had a Blogger shirt, very orange elements in my clothing and my prop, which was my “Pennies for Debra” jar because my “blog theme” was finances. (Not completely pretend. Ha!) Having the jar meant explaining what “Pennies for Debra” is. Which resulted in some contributions. 😀 So thanks for those that gave once purposeless pennies a new lease on life.

Anyway, here are the numbers:

Extra income: $10

Extra Debt paid: $403

Total Debt paid in October: $649*

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $30,768*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

Click here to learn more about the origins and purpose of “Pennies for Debra”

Or, for a listing of all “Pennies for Debra” posts, just go to www.penniesfordebra.com.

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September by the Numbers

Again – nothing to exciting to report (other than the fact that, yes, we did feel the DFW earthquake yesterday).  As I stated last month, fall work is starting to pick up again.  With work coming in, we were able to apply a little extra to the debt.

I’m still not sure if we will make our goal of paying off all the debt before the end of the year, but we are certainly getting close.

Here are the somewhat, non-exciting, numbers:

Extra income: none

Extra Debt paid: $905

Total Debt paid in September: $1,151*

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $30,119*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

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August by the Numbers

This is going to be a pretty short post.  We’re doing well and thankfully, the fall work is starting to pick up again.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, our biggest contribution to debt this month was deciding to put what we’ve saved for car replacement toward the debt.  We figure my car will last a while longer and should it completely breakdown, that’s what our emergency fund is for.

We just went on a holiday road trip and while driving listened to a few more Financial Peace University Lessons, giving ourselves a jolt of encouragement.

Here are the numbers:

Extra income: none

Extra Debt paid: $1,919

Total Debt paid in August: $2,165*

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $28,968*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

 

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August is nice

It won’t be as spectacular as months in the past, but we found some money we could throw at debt.  We’ve been saving up to replace my car as needed.  However, we decided that it should have enough life left in it to not need this fund up and running quite yet.

Should something horrific happen, well, that’s what our emergency fund is for.  So – we took it and put what we had so far at debt.  The numbers are decent this month, so I’m looking forward to my end of the month post.

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July by the Numbers

Not too much to report. Like I’ve said in previous posts, we’ve squirreled away money to provide for this slow time.  We are thankful that we were both able to make a smaller contribution above and beyond minimums, as well as buy a much-needed mattress.

Normally, big purchases would be on hold. All Wants ARE on hold. However, due to our particular health situations, so that we could get quality rest and not continue to have (sometimes fairly major) back pain, a new mattress, fell into what we considered a necessity.

We were thankful to hit a pretty large mattress sale, 50% off plus instant rebates.  I was surprised at how expensive high-end mattresses can be. It made me sad to think that people were probably walking in the store that weekend, financing a 1,400 – 3,000 dollar mattress. What great deals! 0% interest financing! No credit check! UGH! Lies! Tricks! Don’t do it!!!!

We didn’t sell anything, or make any extra income so here are the numbers:

Extra income: none

Cash flowed to new mattress: $802

Extra Debt paid: $627

Total Debt paid in July: $873*

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $26,803*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

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