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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%}

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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December Goals

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This month was a bust, goal wise. You know something funny? Somehow in my head, if I haven’t officially posted a new month of goals, it’s still the previous month. I didn’t factor in being gone for a week or Thanksgiving or anything, so.. well, yeah. But it’s okay.

I will say, though, I’m pretty mad that I didn’t buy fresh flowers. One of my 101 in 1001 goals is to buy flowers for myself every month for a year. I was on a 3 month streak. Dust yourself off and try again.

  1. Try a new recipe we tried this salsa verde chicken recipe that I can no longer find on the internet but it was SO GOOD.
  2. Buy fresh flowers
  3. Call the library about my library books
  4. Change my name
  5. Watch one movie Justen wants me to see & one Harry Potter movie
  6. Have 800 active listings on Poshmark
  7. Try 2 new coffee shops Sleepy Monk in Cannon Beach, OR &
  8. Try 1 new restaurant Pelican Brewing.
  9. Order Christmas Thank You cards
  10. Post at least one blog post a week

December Goals //

December Goals

  1. Try a new recipe
  2. Buy fresh flowers
  3. Get a new social security card
  4. Try 2 new coffee shops
  5. Create a bullet journal for my 2018 goals
  6. Leave a $20 tip for a bill under $10
  7. Consume 64 ounces of water a day for 2 weeks
  8. Read 2 books
    I know that I often suck at reading two books, but I’m like 20 pages shy of finishing one. To say read 1 book seems cheap.
  9. Read a book of the Bible
  10. Memorize and make a blog post about my most FAVORITE curry chicken recipe.

Sometimes my goals seem repetitive (the recipe & flowers) but it’s because they help me stay on track with my 101 list! A few years ago I did this “year of intention” that was kind of cool – I took my 101 list and scheduled monthly goals posts to go live and tried to force myself to accomplish them. It actually worked well for a few months and then I lost steam because life happened and I wasn’t able to accommodate that. I’ve tried a new recipe for 4 months in a row because it’s been on my list!

Every month as soon as my goals list goes live, I copy/paste the month’s goals to be at the top of the next months goals and I keep track of them that way. Some months it works better than other months, usually depending on how often I open my computer, haha. 😀

What are your end of the year goals?


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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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Clawfoot Tub Storage and other things.

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I KNOW. I haven’t posted like… ANY pictures of our apartment even though it’s super cute. I know this. I’m sorry. First it was because it wasn’t TOGETHER. Then it was because it wasn’t CLEAN. So maybe one day I’ll share some pictures. But right now I want to tell you something.

One of the selling points for me was the clawfoot tub in the bathroom. I saw that and my brain exploded into confetti. Like what? Who has a clawfoot tub in their apartment? WE DO, in our cute little apartment above the antique store. It’s so cute.

But it should have come with a pamphlet about how different a clawfoot tub is from a regular shower or tub. It’s stuff you wouldn’t think of either, I swear.

This morning as I was showering and making note of all the weird things about having a clawfoot tub I realized I just wanted to share them. Especially because I’m really proud of myself for something and I just need to brag for a moment.

Here are some things you don’t realize about clawfoot tubs until you have to use a clawfoot tub.


I moved into the apartment with all my cutesy things and soon discovered a problem. The shower got water EVERY. WHERE. Like literally all over the walls and the floor and it was a mess. We realized that clawfoot tubs, when used for showers, actually need TWO shower curtain liners. Or one big-a one but I wasn’t about spending all that money on a shower curtain. Instead, we bought TWO of these cheap ones from Target. One for the back, which now keeps the water from going all the places, and then the normal one for the front.


Okay a little less than a zillion – but if you need two shower curtain liners… you need two sets of shower curtain hooks. Lucky for us our apartment came with like TWO two full sets. We had so many shower hooks. We finally went and bought our own shower hooks, but look at all of the shower hooks I took off!!!

Like… what. But be forewarned: you’ll need TWO SETS of shower hooks!


The first few times I climbed (literally climbed because the sides are so tall!) into the tub, my life flashed before my eyes because my feet were landing on a slippery surface and I wasn’t supported enough to feel like I wasn’t going to die. We bought a mat from TJ Maxx – it has plastic brush-like things because our situation means that any flat surface is going to also be questionable.


There’s nowhere to put your stuff, which logically makes sense. You’re bathing in a standalone tub, so there’s nothing really ATTACHED to it. We tried using a stool, keeping it on the sink, leaving it on the floor of the tub, and finally I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Water got EVERYWHERE when they were kept outside of the shower, and having stuff on the floor just sucks. So I took to the internet for inspiration on clawfoot tub storage and ended up creating this:

It was SUPER EASY. All you need are wire baskets + zip ties. You just zip tie the wire baskets to the shower pole. I’d purchased a bunch of these gold baskets I found at Walmart. They were on clearance 2 for $1.50 so how could I not? We already had ˆzip ties on hand for our wedding, so it was a REALLY cheap solution.


Here is everything we eventually ended up having to buy:

Once we figured those things out, we began to LOVE our shower! I see all of these home improvement blogs writing about installing a clawfoot tub and feel so grateful that we have one in our APARTMENT.



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