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February Debt Repayment Journey Recap

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It’s been a month, y’all.

We finally got some of our medical bills. Which is great because I just want them gone, and we can’t get rid of them if we don’t have the amount. We decided to pay them off via credit card, and here’s why:

  1. Consolidate payments
    Instead of having to pay two extra accounts, the two accounts we’ve been throwing money at will just get a surge in balance.
  2. Easier payments
    Because both of the cards are with my primary bank account and my income is almost completely dedicated to debt repayment, I can log into one account and make all of our payments from there.
  3. More vision on the numbers
    I check the credit card totals daily, because I often transfer my Poshmark earnings out daily. That means I see our goals every single day, and I try to make payments as often as possible.

It’s mostly a mind game, I guess. What is the most accessible way to pay our debts off faster? is the question I asked, and this was it. We swapped out owing new debt on new accounts for owing MORE debt on familiar ones. At the end of the day, do whatever you need to do to stay motivated and pay things off at an aggressive speed.

We received $1,851.12 in medical bills this month. UGGGHHHH. We put them on our Disney card to get the reward points (we’re going to Disneyland in May) and then paid them off. Just know that in addition to the debt repayment, we’ve been cash flowing our medical bills. I’m just glad to pay them off and not carry that balance!

We also decided that while we are going to pay my phone off as part of our debt repayment, we’re keeping it out of the snowball for now because we can’t throw extra payments at it – we have to pay it off in full. Once we’re done with the credit cards we’ll start saving for paying that off, but we need to keep up the momentum of $20 payments here and there that result in the number dropping. SO ANYWAY!

Here it is, y’all. Phew. I actually literally cannot wait to no longer be posting these because we’re debt free. One day!

Stephanie’s Phone: 814.99 779.02 {-4.41%}
Southwest Credit Card:  $314.81 0.00 {-100%}
Justen’s Car: $5,987.04 5,619.12 {-6.14%}
Stephanie’s Car: $14,394.65 $14,144.65 {-1.73%}

Total: $21,064.91 $20,542.79 {-2.47%}

2018 Total Payoff: $23,661.40 $20,542.79 {-13.18%
We’re 39.93% of the way to our 2018 goal of paying off 33% of our debt!

 

To catch up on the whole Debt Repayment journey, click here.

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January 2018 Debt Repayment Recap

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Y’all. I have been opening the draft of this post SO MANY TIMES this month and I’m SO EXCITED to finally publish it. This month, Justen and I had a “no spend” month. We had $5/week to spend, we pre-loaded $35 each on our Starbucks cards, and all of our income went towards paying off debt (we still used wedding money, gift cards and birthday money).

Because guess what started rolling in. The hospital bills from my gallbladder surgery in December. and the insurance hadn’t been applied yet. So I got $27,000 in hospital bills and that lit the HUGEST fire under my butt. We called and had them all re-processed with insurance and they’re slowwwwwly starting to trickle in… but we know we’re going to have thousands of dollars to pay. We needed to kick the year off with something to get us going on our goal of paying off 33% of our debt this year.

and hey. Having a no-spend month is on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days so I get to cross that sucker off, too!

Justen’s Phone: $251.02 $0 {-100%}
Disney Credit Card: $547.26 $0 {-100%}
Stephanie’s Phone: $849.99 814.99 {-4.11%}
Southwest Credit Card: $1,631.44 $314.81 {-80.71%}
Justen’s Car: $5,987.04 5,807.70 {-2.99%}
Stephanie’s Car: $14,394.65 $14,127.41 {-1.85%}

Total: $23,661.40 $21,064.91 {-10.97%}
2018: $23,661.40 $21,434.25 {-10.97%}

 

Catch up on my journey to being debt free by reading all the posts here! 😀

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2017 Debt Repayment Recap

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Happy last few days of 2017, everyone! It’s been a crazy December for me. I got my gallbladder removed and there was a death in the family right before Christmas. I’m not one of those people to say an entire year sucked, but 2017 was probably one of the most emotionally challenging years of my whole entire life. The highs were high and the lows were rock bottom lows.

But I am alive, I am breathing, and I have made it through every high and low I’ve faced this year and for that I am so grateful.

SO MUCH happened this year. I’ve been doing a lot of looking forward to 2018: figuring out what is important, setting goals and coming up with a plan of action. But I’m excited to keep on keeping on with my our debt free journey.

At the beginning of the year, I was one year into dating Justen. We’d talked about getting married but nothing had happened. I was working two part time jobs. I started to aggressively pay off my debt, and in February I was credit card free. In March, we got engaged and I decided to spend the summer in Nashville with the Halters. I stopped paying off debt so I could pile up money for my move across the country, for a place to live with Justen, and for the wedding.

I didn’t get a job when I came back, and instead casually began babysitting and reselling clothes on Poshmark. We got married (with $0 owed on it when we came back from our honeymoon) and furnished our apartment and decided to hold off on aggressively tackling our debt until after the new year so that we could be prepared for Christmas.

That’s the overview of 2017. Here’s where I started and where we ended up.

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

December 2017
Stephanie’s Car: $14,394.65
Justen’s Car: $5,987.04
Southwest Credit Card: $1,631.44
Stephanie’s Phone: $849.99
Disney Credit Card: $547.26
Justen’s Phone: $251.02
Total: $23,661.40

A few things to note. One: our credit cards now have a balance. Honestly, I only recently activated my card for our credit union, our main bank account. I’ve had a LOT of mental hurdles to get over with sharing a bank account with Justen. I’m trying to break out of the habit of saying “your bank account” or “my bank account” and being a team. My credit card has taken some of that heat, because when “my” bank account was running low, I’d purchase things on the credit card. Or we’d budget for things that were automatically charged to the credit card but wouldn’t factor those into our monthly payments. It as messy. But we sat down and got on the same page and today I used the credit union card for the first time ever. Little victories, people!

Two: We’re counting our phones. I want all of the money we can squeeze out of our monthly budget, and that means paying off our phones. We added them to our debt snowball. Debt is debt. If I’m paying someone back for something I already have/experienced/enjoyed, then that’s debt, phone included. Plus, Justen pays $11/month for his phone and I pay $35, so we’ll be getting $46 back in our wallets each month for paying off debt once we trim down our phone bill by getting rid of device payments!

Three: I currently have a bill for $20,487 due for my hospital stay. We’re waiting for our insurance to be applied to that number, but our debt is either going to go up (worst case scenario) or stall (best case scenario) in the first few months of the year because of those bills. I had a meltdown one day as we were talking about this, and so Justen and I sat and budgeted out his paycheck and took care of necessities and bills and figured out a plan of attack and now I can breathe.

 

Now. Specifically. December.

Disney card: $588.48 547.26 {-7%}
Southwest Card: $1,229.35 1,631.44 {+32.70}
Justen’s Car:  $6356.62  5,987.04 {-5.81%
Stephanie’s Car:  $14,595.50 14,394.65 {-1.37%}

Adding:
Stephanie’s Phone: $849.99
Justen’s Phone:  $251.02

Total Debt: $22,769.95 23,661.40 {+4.19%}

While it sucks to see that number go up (sucks is quite possibly the biggest understatement of the whole entire year) I’m trying to be easy on myself. This month, I lost a week of work because of my gallbladder. I was sad because of the death in my family, and I was busy with holidays. Life happened and I wasn’t able to make as much ground as I’d hoped. But that’s why we have a plan so that we can get back up and move on forward.

One of my goals is to drop our debt by 33% this year, which means that at this time in 2018, that “total debt” number would be $15,853.14 and we’d be THISCLOSE to paying off Justen’s car.

We’re kicking off 2018 with a No Spend Month for January. I’ll share more about the parameters soon, but we’re hoping to start the year throwing a crap ton of money at this debt.

Keeping this at the forefront of my mind, though:

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Cozy winter movie nights with WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #WinCoPizzaNight #CollectiveBias

Is it just me, or does it seem like the days go by faster once the sun starts setting earlier? Suddenly it’s “night time” at 4 pm and it’s hard for me to want to do ANYTHING once the sun goes down.

Pair that with being a newlywed whose husband takes on an overtime project and making dinner when he gets home + eating it + cleaning up after dinner is LITERALLY followed by pajamas and bed. Y’all, that has been our glamorous life. When people ask how married life is going for us we’re like IDK we really don’t see each other that often.

Luckily, we make time to try and get time to slow down. We’ve adjusted our language from not “having time” to not “making time,” because we have as many hours in the day as Beyonce, according to Pinterest. Anyway!

On my 101 in 1001 list is a goal to watch a bunch of movies Justen wants me to watch, one of them being A Christmas Story! We made time by picking up a WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola® (for him) and a Diet Coke (for me)!  Really, is there any better way to pair pizza than with Coca-Cola?!

WinCo (follow them on Facebook and Pinterest!) is an employee-owned company with consistently low prices. Their Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (ilovewinco) are full of behind the scenes and employee stories, which I LOVE. They limit their advertising, which helps them pass that savings on to their customers! Cozy nights in that don’t break the bank? Double win. The cozy night savings go even further. Save $1 when you buy any WinCo Pizza and (2) 2-Liter Coca-Cola Beverages (in-store coupon offer Ends 2/28/18)! We picked up a take and bake pizza at the deli and grabbed our Coca-Cola on our way to check out.

We popped in the pizza, got on our pajamas and queued up A Christmas Story. The pizza was done just in time, and thanks to our festive paper plates + cups, there were ZERO dishes to do afterwards! Which meant that we got to spend the rest of the night all cozied up, watching the movie.



Here’s the thing, y’all. It’s not about not having time. It’s not that we don’t have enough time to make memories or spend quality time or pause life, it’s that we don’t MAKE time to do those things.

If you live near a WinCo (check their site for store locations), pick up one of their deli pizzas (you can even get them HOT and READY TO GO!) grab a bottle of Coca-Cola and make time to have a night with someone you love.

Also – if you had a list of MUST WATCH movies for your spouse or best friend, what would be on them?

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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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