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 4 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: April 2013

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This is the fifth post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To read more of them, visit this page.

 

April was a good month for our debt free journey. Nothing special happened, but we were able to Snowball a pretty good chunk of money by sticking to our budget. Here’s a rundown of what we’d contributed to our debt payoff through March:

Debt Payoff Progress through March 2013

And here’s where we stood at the end of March:

Debt Balances through March 2013

In April, I had to pay the final $50 to close out our contract with Dish Network now that we had returned all of the equipment to them. Since I had decided I wanted to keep groceries around $440, it had pretty much been a breeze. In April, I spent $442.80 on groceries. Of course, I estimated what I really thought we could do, but I was very pleased with our ability to stay within the $440 budget.

We added another line item to our budget in April. It’s what we refer to as “Blow” money. Basically, it’s a weekly or monthly allowance of a certain amount that you can kind of spend on whatever you want. We were already spending the money, so we hoped that by creating a budget item for it and limiting it to a certain amount would help with some of the frivolous spending. We decided on $160 for the month, which was $20 each per week.

The stomach issues I went to the doctor for in March ended in a Colonoscopy in April, so we paid $598.17 towards that, mainly using the leftover $515.74 from March’s Snowball.

We were also able to make a $664.27 payment on the Chase and redeem points for a $25.98 bill credit. That brought our Chase down another $690.25!

Isn’t it crazy?! A few months earlier we were adding to our credit card debt every month and now we’re making $500 and $700 payments on those credit cards every month!

Do you have a realistic budget? Would you benefit from budgeting software like YNAB ($6 off here)? What’s keeping you in debt?

 

Month 3 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: March 2013

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This is the fourth post in the Our Journey to Becoming Debt Free series. To read more of them, please visit this page

 

Let me start by saying that I am absolutely loving the feedback I am getting on this Our Journey to Becoming Debt Free series. It is great to think that I am inspiring someone else to tackle their own debt to better their life. I know several of you have even started using You Need A Budget. (If you use my referral link here, you’ll save $6!)

Like Dave Ramsey says, if we’ll live like no one else now, later we’ll live like no one else.

We’re a little bummed right now about our debt payoff though, to be honest. As I mentioned Monday, Lucas had an overnight hospital stay this past weekend. Obviously, I know that it was necessary.. but I feel so defeated. Who knows how many months the bill will add to our journey!  I just need to remember to be thankful that Clint has a job that provides such a great insurance plan. Help me remember that when I get the bill, please?

So, let’s talk about March. Here’s what we looked like at the end of February:

Total Debt Month Ending February 2013 Clint gets paid bi-weekly, so twice a year he gets 3 paychecks for me to budget towards one month, instead of the usual 2. March was one of those months for us which meant a nice Snowball.

I hit just a little bit under my $440 grocery budget in March, coming in at $438.42. Go me!

We used the rest of the tax refunds and some of the Snowball and made a $500.00 payment on the Chase. I also finally went to the doctor to have some stomach issues I’ve had going on for around 3 years looked into, so we had an extra $175 in co-pays.

After all of that, we still had another $515.74 to Snowball. But I’ll admit it, I was scared. The idea of throwing every extra penny to debt is hard for someone who has always tried to save, which is silly because what’s the point in building a savings account while you’re building debt on the other side of your finances.  But I was scared, so I held onto that $515.74 into the next month. Don’t worry though! We reaffirmed our plan in April and used every bit of it. Come back next week to read about that.

Do you have a “savings” and debt? Why not just put that savings onto your debt? What do you think about the concept?

 

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