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debt free journey

November 2017 Debt Repayment Recap

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I AM SO EXCITED TO POST THIS! I feel like I’ve waited for EVER to get back to my monthly debt repayment posts! I started my debt-free journey 2.5 years ago, and this is the first month that it’s been done as a team with Justen. We’re learning how to budget and have chosen to be a little light on our debt repayment right now because we’ve had to get a few more things for our apartment (like a printer and a Christmas tree!) and didn’t want to be tempted to put any Christmas gifts on a credit card.

All of that considered, we dropped our debt by 4% this month – we paid roughly double the minimum payments. We’re doing this in true snowball fashion so we paid off our smallest debt, the rings and then moved on to the Disney card. We creeped up on paying off half of the Disney card! Unfortunately,  our Southwest card also creeped up a little bit because there are some recurring payments that are processed there and since we were focused on the Disney card, they didn’t get paid off immediately. That’s the danger of putting those things on a card! Once we have a $0 balance on our cards that will be easier to manage.

I’m really excited to pay off Justen’s car. Having my personal debt repayment journey be $1000 credit card and then a $15,000 car payment was daunting because it’s hard to feel the power of a snowball with a debt that big, but now we have one right in the middle of the two! Plus Justen’s interest on that is BRUTAL. The minimum payment of his car would nearly double the payment on mine, so by the time we get to my car we will have 1. a smaller hole and 2. a much bigger shovel.

To see the plan we’re using at a glance, check out this post I wrote about Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover

You know what feels SO GOOD, though? Having $0 to pay on our wedding. We do have some of the honeymoon reflected on these cards but it’s not going to linger with us very long.

 

Rings: $416.39 $0 {-100%}
Disney card: $984.24 588.48 {-40.20%}
Southwest Card: $1,012.89 1,229.35 {+21.37}
Justen’s Car: $6,533.46 6356.62 {-2.70%}
Stephanie’s Car: $14,820 14,595.50 {-1.514}

Total Debt:  $23,766.98 $22,769.95 {-4.19%}

 

Okay so here’s a question for y’all! Do you ever get overwhelmed with Christmas spending? Does it kind of creep up on you or do you enter into the season with a plan of what you’re getting and how much you’ll be spending?

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Debt Repayment Recap 2.0 – The Beginning

Oh. my. gosh.
Y’all, it feels SO GOOD to be able to start blogging about my Debt Repayment journey again. It’s been a huge theme in my life for the past 2 years, and as we’ve been cash flowing our wedding, aggressively paying off my debt has been on the back burner.

and now I AM MARRIED (omg what) and it’s time to get going on my our debt snowball. There is a LOT that has changed since I first started my journey to get out of debt. I’ve become an avid listener of Dave Ramsey, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about finances with people, and more than ever before I can see the Financial Freedom Finish Line way off in the distance.

There is a LOT that has changed since my very last debt repayment post. I now work for myself. It is crazy and scary but so good. I’m now part of my own family unit. Justen and I both moved out of our parents homes into our own apartment.

Right now I’m going to start with two things: the numbers and the WHY. First, the WHY.

WHY are we making a plan to get out of debt? It’s easy to wander into debt, it’s impossible to wander out. I want to be financially free. One day, I want to own a paid-for house so that we can sleep easier at night because our living arrangements are secure and paid for. Eventually, I want to be millionaires. Not because I want a lot of money, but because I want to work hard and live on less than we make and be in a place to be outrageously generous.

The numbers. They’re a little different than before, because now Justen is a part of this as well. We cash flowed our wedding !!!!!! but we did end up with some balances on our credit cards because of hotels, rental cars, etc. The numbers are all smallish, but still too big for me. They’re listed smallest to largest in true debt snowball fashion.

Debt Repayment 2.0 – November 1, 2017

Rings: $416.39
Disney card: $984.24
Southwest Card: $1,012.89
Justen’s Car: $6,533.46
Stephanie’s Car: $14,820

Total Debt: $23,766.98

That’s it. That’s the snowball. That’s what we need to plow through before we can start saving money to buy a house. Justen and I are figuring out the whole budgeting thing, but as we start to get our feet underneath us I’ll share more details about the money and how we’re snowballing and what that looks like. For now I’m just SO EXCITED to start throwing all the dollars at this debt and getting our head above water.

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April 2017 Savings Update

In March I saved $1,000 towards our wedding. I realized that I’m actually attempting to cashflow TWO things – one is a wedding and the other is a trip to and from Nashville, where I’ll be spending the summer.

April savings update // stephanieorefice.net

April Savings Goals
Starting: $1,250
Goal: $750
Actual save: $850 (113% of my monthly goal completed)
Total Saved since March: $2,150.04 (43% of my overall goal completed) (that .04 is massive amounts of interest being paid by my bank)

May is going to be hard. I’m only working two weeks in May… AND I need to spend some money at the dentist, and I need to make my car payment, and I need to travel to Nashville. As much as this sucks, I may need to pause my savings for the month in order to fund those things. I’m going to use the extra I paid this month to offset my goal for next month. Instead of a goal of $750 for May, I’m going to work. my. butt. off. to save $600 in addition to the aforementioned expenses.

Wish me luck… I literally have no idea how I’m going to do all of this!…any suggestions?!

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March 2017 Savings Update

Nearly two years ago, I began a debt repayment journey. I was $23,983 in debt and desperate to get out of the town I live in. I began the start-stop-pause-rest-run-sleep-repeat journey of getting out of debt. Last month I finally paid off my 16.82% interest credit card (PRAISE HANDS EMOJI!!!). I still owe a gross amount on my car, but I announced in my last debt repayment recap that I was going to pause the debt repayments and start saving money – for my upcoming summer in Nashville and something that was on the horizon. A wedding. Nailed it.

Until Justen and I get married, my monthly financial check-ins are going to be Savings Updates.

March Savings update // stephanieorefice.net

For March, I decided I wanted to save $1,000. Here’s how I did:

March
Starting: $0
Goal: $1,000
Saved: $1,250
Total Saved: $1,250
125% of my monthly goal completed / 25% of my overall goal completed

From here on out, I want to save $750/month so that by September 1, I have $5,000 to be used for our wedding. I’ll use the format I used above to show where I started, what my goal was, how much I saved, the running total, and the % of my goal(s) completed. I freaking love those percentages, you guys.

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February 2017 Debt Repayment Recap

I’ve been waiting for this day for awhile.
Let’s just start and then we can talk, okay?

January 30, 2017
Car: $16,894.50
Credit Card: $699.16
Total: $17,593.66

February 28, 2017
Car Loan: $16,702 (-1.13%)
Credit Card: $0000.00000000000 (-100%)
Total: $16,702 (-5.06%)

ZERO DOLLARS AND ZERO CENTS OWED ON MY CREDIT CARD. Praise hands emoji times infinity.

I’ve had this idea in my head that once I paid off my credit card, I was going to quit one of my part time jobs so I could have more space to focus on some creative ventures like this blog and helping others with social media stuff and this new world of re-selling clothing I’ve discovered and made a few hundred dollars from so far. So I did that. I quit one of my part time jobs.

I’m still a few-days-a-week nanny, but here’s what I’ve been realizing:

When I work for someone else, my earning potential is limited. It doesn’t matter how hard I work, I get paid the same amount of dollars per hour until/unless we discuss a raise. If I work for myself, I step into a limitless earning potential. The sky is the limit, and I have flexibility, which is something I love. It’s almost like all of the small little decisions of my life had led me to this place that I’m so excited about.

Instead of aggressively paying off my car, I’m pausing the debt snowball for two reasons. First, I’m going to be driving to and spending the summer in Nashville, watching Lucy and Layla. Best summer ever, and this is the first time I’m saying anything about it publicly. So you’re the first to know 😉 . I want to have money saved up for the trip there and back so I don’t have the temptation of putting it back on my credit card. Second, I’ve made a goal of saving up $5,000 for something that’s on the horizon. I’m in a cash flow right now.

I’m switching my Debt Repayment to a Savings Update for right now, and then after the summer and the $5,000 savings goal, we’ll get back to the Debt Repayment to pay off my car ASAP. Jamie from Earnest.com sent me my personalized 2017 Financial Goal infographic. I told him my goals and areas I needed help budgeting/spending less, and he created this for me! I love that it’s broken down into small, realistic goals. I’m all about that. Anyway. Thanks for being on this journey with me, everyone. <3

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An Introduction to Dave Ramsey

It amazes me how many people don’t know who Dave Ramsey is or what he’s really about. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard of him for awhile, but I thought he was kind of a no-brainer in terms of household name personalities.

Two years ago I started my  journey to get out of debt. I knew a few things about Dave Ramsey and his “methods,” but I wasn’t serious or committed to them. Then I discovered the Dave Ramsey Show podcast and started listening to it whenever I could. I’m definitely not a Dave Ramsey know-it-all, but I’ve gained a pretty good understanding of what he’s all about. Since realizing that not everyone knows about Uncle Dave (my new name for him), I figured I should share with you guys the information he’s handing out for free if you spend the hours listening to and reading his material.

an introduction to Dave Ramsey // stephanieorefice.net

Dave Ramsey was a millionaire once, but it all hung on borrowed money. When his accounts got shifted to a new creditor who took a harder look at his borrowing habits, they gave him 90 days to pay $1.2 million worth of short-term notes. He filed for bankruptcy. That’s when he began living what is now called the “Total Money Makeover.”

The Total Money Makeover is a 7-step process that harnesses the power of focus by giving you what they call Baby Steps. The idea is that most people have so many financial goals: they’re trying to pay off credit cards, cars, and student loans. They’re trying to save for big life events, they’re trying to buy a house and save for retirement. When you try to do 50 things at once, you do 50 things really poorly. Instead, the baby steps force you to focus ALL of your energy on tackling one baby step at a  time.

The 7 baby steps to financial freedom (aka The Total Money Makeover) are as follows:

  1. Have $1,000 in a small emergency fund
    Not more, not less. A survey released last fall said that out of 7000 Americans polled, 69% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Do WHATEVER you can to get $1,000 fast. If you have more than $1,000 you’re going to drop that down (you’ll find out what to do with it in step 2). If you have less than $1,000 you need to work extra jobs, sell things, eat every can of food in your house before going to the grocery store. Get $1,000 FAST.
  2. Pay off all debt using the debt snowball
    List all of your debts based on balance from smallest to largest, with no concern of interest rates. You are going to pay the minimum payment on all of them except the one that’s on the top. Then you’re going to attack that one like it stole your puppy. Extra jobs, selling things, over time, a scaled-back lifestyle. Whatever you can to get extra money, you throw it at the smallest one. Once that one is paid off you take the minimum balance on that one PLUS all of that extra money you’re earning and add that to the second smallest. Get the snowball idea? My friend Brittany wrote a post about it, so you can read more about it here.
  3. Fully funded emergency fund
    Having only $1,000 between you and disaster should scare you into destroying your debt. Once you’ve paid off debt, it’s time to start throwing all of that money into a real emergency fund that has 3-6 months expenses.
  4. Invest 15% of income into retirement
    Dave says to PAUSE all of your retirement investing prior to this step. Some people will say you can get rich on $20 here or there, but your greatest wealth building tool is your income and you need to free it up to build wealth before you really can. Having $120,000 in retirement funds that you can’t touch without penalties does you no good when someone loses their job and it takes 2 months to find a new one. Your emergency fund is what will save you, not a huge nest egg.
  5. College funds for kids
    4, 5 and 6 happen all at once because your income is yours, remember? You’re not sending someone else your money to take care of things you did before you could afford it. Start setting up college funds for your children.
  6. Pay off the home early
    Most people who commit to the Total Money Makeover pay off their house in SEVEN YEARS. We live in a society where debt is SO NORMAL and SO ACCEPTED that nobody even thinks of a mortgage as debt, but imagine if you have LITERALLY NO PAYMENTS. You don’t owe ANYTHING to ANYONE. That is the beginning of wealth, which is step 7.
  7. Become outrageously wealthy and generous
    The tagline of this whole thing is “live like no one else now so that later you can live – and give – like no one else.” The idea of the Total Money Makeover isn’t so you can sit and pat yourself on the back with how much money you have. When you have wealth, you are set up to give in ways that are unfathomable. You make sure your money is divided into three categories: enjoy, save and give. There’s really nothing else to do with money at this point. You’ve changed your family tree and can be a huge blessing to other people.

This is the foundation of all of Dave’s advice he gives on The Dave Ramsey Show and it’s a quick glance at what he writes in depth about in The Total Money Makeover. If you’re interested in the idea but think it might be a boring read, check out his daughter Rachel Cruze’s book Love Your Life, Not Theirs, which is a different spin on the Total Money Makeover.

PHEW! If you’ve made it to the end, I congratulate you! AND I want to know what your story is! Where are you at with your finances? I’m no Dave Ramsey, but do you have any questions?

ps never forget:

Me and Dave Ramsey // stephanieorefice.net

 


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