We’re DEBT FREE! Now What?

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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Let me just repeat this from my last debt free journey post (which can be seen here)–

“That means that yes, except for our mortgage, we are now DEBT FREE!!!”

Ahh! Like I said in my very first post of Our Journey to Become Debt Free, our goal is for me to be a Stay at Home Mom. So guess what, I’m now home full time with my 2 year old ball of energy. Of course, since my Etsy shop Aqua Anchor Designs has been doing so well, especially during the holiday rush I just made it through, I’m more like a work at home/stay at home Mama. But you get my point.

It’s surreal reaching this goal we’ve worked toward for nearly 2 years though. In 23 months, we paid off $23,491.25  in debt!

So surreal, I was afraid to quit my job. I kept telling Clint, but what if this, or what if that. I’ve told you, I’m a worrier.

But now I need something new to focus my busy mind on. And I’m a goals kinda gal. So we’ve decided to not let our momentum down and keep trucking it and set some new goals for ourselves. I mean, really, the last two years has not felt that depriving to us. We still eat out, more than we should, and we’ve been on two weekend trips since then.

Here is a little brainstorming we did to help us set our new goal(s):

  • We want Baby Girl to be born debt free.
  • We need a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.
  • We want to do some maintenance/upkeep on our home.
  • We may want to pay extra on our mortgage and/or save up for a downpayment on a bigger home.
  • We may want to save up for a vacation soon.

So we know these things now… we just have to make a plan of what order we want to do them in and how we’re going to do them.

For now, Baby Girl being born debt free is first and foremost. We’re praying that my shop income over the next few
months will build up enough savings to make that possible. Once that’s done, we’ll most likely focus on our Emergency Fund.

Do you set financial goals for yourself/your family? What do you do when you reach them: celebrate, make new goals, etc?

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Months 19-23 of Our Debt Free Journey: July – Nov 2014

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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Going from a full time income to a part time income really had an effect on our debt snowball. Of course, it had a major effect on my time to devote to spending with my 1 year old, Lucas and to housework. Last week, I told you that in Months 16-18 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free, we were not able to pay anything extra towards our debt snowball and only made the scheduled loan payment of $234 each month on the Civic. You can read that post here, if you missed it.
Well, as promised, things got exciting!
MONTH 19 – JULY 2014: We paid down $999.26 on the Civic, bringing the total down to $5125.08. This was made up of from some of my Etsy profit for the month, after the $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund we decided to create for Aqua Anchor. I was still too scared to put all of the remaining profit on the Civic though. 
MONTH 20 – AUGUST 2014: Paid down $634 on the Civic, bringing the total down to $4503.65. Same story for August, it was some of my Etsy profit for the month, but I was still too afraid to use all of it.  
MONTH 21 – SEPTEMBER 2014: Paid down $745.77 on the Civic, bringing the balance to $3,768.95. In September, I did use all of my Etsy profit. But only part of it went to the Civic, the rest went towards a weekend spent out of town for Lucas’ birthday at a wildlife exhibit. We decided to do it since we had just found out I was pregnant and Mama was having those “he won’t be an only child much longer” guilt emotions. But we had a BLAST! 
GWC Collage
 At this point, I knew we were headed to having the Civic paid off SOON and I started busting it to make that extra income in my shop, Aqua Anchor Designs to put towards it. I also decided to close out my little 401k that I had left at my previous job. There was only around $1100 in it, so they took the taxes required out and we’ll pay a little more on our tax return next year for it.
MONTH 22 – OCTOBER 2014: Paid down $2155.94 on the Civic, bringing the balance to $1622.90. About $1,200 of that was Etsy profit and the rest was my 401k check. 
MONTH 23 – NOVEMBER 2014: In November, we did it! We paid down the remaining $1623.22 and paid off the Civic! 
totalpaidoff
 That means that yes, except for our mortgage, we are now DEBT FREE!!!
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It’s an amazing feeling! So now we have a lot more decisions and planning we need to do, and some we’ve already made/done! I’ll make a Follow-up post and update you on all of that next week!
 
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Month 15-18 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: March-June 2014

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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Money, money, money! Let’s talk finances! Our finances have seen a lot of changes this year.

As you know from this post, I quit my full time job in January and started a part time one in February making around $800-$1000 less per month. And then.. you got no more updates about Our Journey to Become Debt Free. I would love to break down each individual month for you, but since that would several weeks, I’m just going to do it in 2 parts. 😉

If you’ll go back and read our Month 14 – February 2014 post, it may refresh your memory a little.

MONTH 15 – MARCH 2014: March is when the “part time” income really started to affect us. We only paid down $491 that month and $234 is our regularly budgeted amount- so really NOT MUCH. That brought the balance down to $6,765.27.

Through June 2014

MONTH 16-18 – APRIL –JUNE 2014: With a little overspending and a little extra money being put aside for the next baby, we were only about to make the budgeted $234 payments on the Civic each month for these 3 months. In June, the balance was $6,109.84. Even so, we had paid off over $17,000 in 18 months at this point.

Monthly through June 2014

BUT in June, my Etsy shop Aqua Anchor Designs started to pick up and finally started showing a profit! At first, I was really scared to touch the money. I thought it was just a fluke and if I drained it, I’d be pulling from our personal budget the next month. Finally, Clint suggested that I should make a Baby Emergency Fund the shop, just in case I had a bad month or something, so we weren’t pulling money from our personal budget. I’d tell you a little more about that next week.

Things are about to get exciting… but I’ll get you updated from July to November in next week’s post. 😉

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Month 14 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: February 2014

Debt Totals through February 2014
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I’m a little late with this post, but Happy March! 🙂 Our February finances were only partially affected by my new part-time job, so we still made pretty decent progress. Our budgeted snowball amount for March looks pretty meek compared with what we’ve been doing. BUT, I am home with my little boy 2 days out of the week that I would not have been, so I’ll happily take it.

Here’s what we look like on our Monthly Snowball Totals:

Snowball Total through February

Like I said, don’t look for March to be as high next month. And here are our debt balances as of now:

Debt Totals through February 2014

So we paid the Civic down another $1,134 and are currently sitting at $7,242.71. That totals to 69% of our debt paid off. Yay!

If you’ll remember, I had set another small goal for us to have the Civic down to at least $7,000 by the end of March. We got this!

Not only do we have less income coming in now, but we’re also thinking of beefing up our $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund a  little bit. Our reasoning behind this is normally we have an extra $1,500 or so a month so if something did come up it was usually cash flowed through our budget. Being that we’re only going to have an extra $300 or so every month now, we feel like it would give us a little more security to have some extra. I’m not really sure when we’ll become “debt free” now though. Things are changing and I’m just so blessed that I have this opportunity to cut our income and be home more.

Our groceries came to $440.15 for the month. I am determined to get this D..O..W..N! Maybe March will be the month? We also went over in our clothing, eating out, and entertainment budgets by $25.70. We really need to get a handle on things like this now. We’re trying really hard to keep ourselves in check, but it’s HARD!

The CR-V also had some work done to it in February. It was leaking oil and had gasoline in the oil. It was in the shop about a half a day and cost us $190. The amazing thing there is normally when a vehicle needs work, it makes me mad. Somewhat irrational I know, but I think modern technology and we have this newer car and blah blah blah is going out and look at how much it’s going to cost me! Not this time. Instead I thought.. yep we knew buying an older vehicle might need more repairs here and there because some things are just wearing out and that’s okay. I mean at least it was only $190. I’m really excited that I have heat now! The thermostat had gone out so Lucas and I did not have heat on these cold mornings. Yes, Mississippi gets some cold weather too! It’s cold to us anyhow. 🙂

Have you started your Debt Snowball yet? How are you doing in 2014?

Month 13 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: January 2014

Month 13 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free January 2014
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This post is part of Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here
Hello February! 2013 went quick and 2014 is already flying. January was one of those 3 paycheck months for Clint so it looked very good for our Snowballing efforts. We did a decent job overall though.

Here is where we stand on our monthly Snowball totals:

Monthly Snowball Totals

And here are our debt balances:

Debt Balances through January 2014

As you can see, we paid $1,199.07 on the Civic in January. We’re now at 64% of our debt being paid off. Of course, things will slow down now that my income is only going to be half of what it has been.

We came in at $402.57 for the month in Groceries, which is great at right around our $400 budget. We did go $110 total over in eating out, clothing, entertainment and blow money. We did eat out 5 times though so that blew our Eating Out budget by $50 right there. In my defense, one of the meals would have been $25 less, but we had a gift card/coupon error. The other $60 worth was a new to me jacket that I absolutely needed, a Mickey Mouse chair for Lucas, and my first haircut in 18 months. Of course, I can justify almost ever penny of what we “go over”, but I really can’t do that starting NOW.

Speaking of justifying, our weekend trip came in at $570.90. Not bad for staying 2 nights in one of the highest reviewed bed & breakfasts around us.

Other than that, we’re just trucking along here. I’m pretty anxious about the finances right now, since I am starting my new job today. Going from full time income to part time income is scary. I know that He will provide and things will work out one way or another, but I’m still going to be anxious until I get used to things. We are going to have about $800 less a month in income…scary!

How was January on your finances? Have you started your journey to become debt free yet? Any words of wisdom to share with me about my anxiety over finances? 

 

Month 12 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: December 2013

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This is the 13th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. If you would like to read the others, you can find them here

We made it through a whole year! I’m so glad we did not lose steam and kept trucking every month on this journey to become debt free. Clint and I both have pretty short attention spans unless we’re doing something very rewarding.. and this definitely has been rewarding. Of course, it was our hard work that has made it rewarding 😉

I want to do things a little bit differently this month. Instead of posting the “where we stood” at the end of November, I want to tell you about December and all that we’ve accomplished this year.

We did really good in some areas and really bad in some areas in December. I guess that’s life. We spent $516.33 in groceries. We had a few special things with the holidays. I also bought a bunch of Lucas friendly stuff in an attempt to get him to eat more throughout the day. We’re having a hard time getting him to eat food over his milk, so it’s worth it.

We also ate out a lot in December. I mean, a lot! My Etsy store Aqua Anchor Designs was really busy around Christmas so rather than try to cook and make earrings, we just picked up something. We’re bad, I know!

I made payments on Lucas’ hospital bills from back in October of $727.24, all of which were budgeted for. That left $625.68 for us to use as our Snowball. And we most certainly used it!

The $625.68, along with the usual payment of $178, paid off the CR-V!! We made our goal for 2013!! We are SO happy about it!
Now, our only debt left is Clint’s Civic, which is $9,523.59.

So here are our monthly Snowball totals:

Debt Payoff Progress through December 2013

We paid almost $14,000 in debt off just this year! Last December, if you would have told me that we were going to be able to do this well, I would have laughed at you.

Here are are debt balances at the end of 2013:

Debt Totals through December 2013

The bad thing though, is that I have some stuff going on with my job. The position I was in was eliminated so now I’m doing something I don’t particularly want to do. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to just stick it out until we pay off the Civic (which would probably take around a year), get a part time job somewhere (which would take us about 1.5 to 2 years to pay off the Civic) or just go full time somewhere else and pay the Civic off even sooner. If I can get another position, I will probably make more money than I’m currently making. I just don’t want to get something just to keep it temporarily, so if I went full time it would be for the long haul. What would you do? Decisions, decisions!

Clint and I are celebrating the progress we made in 2013 this month. I’ll tell you more about that towards the end of January.

Reaching your goals feels absolutely amazing! Were you able to fulfill your goals in 2013?

 

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chunky scarf or pair of shotgun shell earrings! Deadline to enter is January 7 at 11:59 PM CST. You can find it here.

Month 11 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: November 2013

Month 11 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free November 2013
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This is the 12th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. To read the others, click here.

November was a great month. I didn’t think it would be, but it ended up being pretty eventful in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. We were waiting for Lucas’ hospital bills from October to be finalized and I was in the middle of opening my Etsy store. Both of those equate to a lot of nervous anticipation and money money money.

Here is the monthly progress we have made:

Totals through October 2013

At the end of October, this is where we stood:

Debt-Totals-through-October-2013-

At the end of October, Lucas stayed overnight in the hospital with Croup. He recovered very quickly, but it was a very scary ordeal for us. I was also terrified of receiving the hospital bills. Even with insurance, medical bills make me sick to my stomach.

Throughout November, I signed on every few days to our insurance’s website and looked at what claims had been filed. At one point, 2 claims for some doctor were filed for a total of $78.00. The insurance discounted and paid and we were left with $13.73. Then, the pediatrician’s claim was filed for $249.00, processed and we owed $216.23. It would have been less, but we still had a $500 deductible left to satisfy. Next, the Emergency room company filed for $617.38, insurance processed and we owed $274.37. At this point, at a total of $504.33, our deductible was covered but I knew the hospital itself still had not filed a claim.

Finally, the week before Thanksgiving the hospital’s claim was filed. It was a whopping $10,080.98! I estimated we’d have to pay about $1,000 of that and the $504.33 for a total of around $1,500. I had not made most of our Snowball payments in October and did not make any in November. I carried over $430.53 in the Snowball budget category from October and set aside $256.76 in November for a total of $687.29 to go towards the medical bills. Then on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I looked and we only owed $322.91 to the hospital!!

With the other claims and the hospital, it was $827.24 for his ER visit and hospital stay. A little over half of what I thought it would be! I decided to use the $430.53 from October to make a payment on the CR-V and carry the $256.76 over to December for Lucas’ medical bills.

Another great thing happened; I received my final refund from the OBGYN’s office for overpayment for my prenatal care from Lucas. It took over a year, but at least I got it. That was another $420 to put towards the hospital bill.

We spent $393.54 on groceries in November, which is great! I blew my $100 Etsy/Blog budget though, coming in at $176.94. Yes, you should go to my Etsy store and buy something to help me make it up. Just kidding, kinda..?

We made a goal to pay off the CR-V before the end of the year. Although the $827.24 hospital bill was less than I thought it would be, it definitely threw a wrench in those plans. I’m not sure we’re going to make it.

We’ve caught up the Our Journey to Become Debt Free series! Starting in January, I will post a summary of our debt payoff activities for December and will continue to do that monthly for the month before. Right now, I have December’s post scheduled for January 3.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a medical bill being LESS than you thought it would be? Or started a new endeavor, Etsy for me, that cost you to start up and you didn’t see any results at first?