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Paid off my private student loan!

July 23rd, 2015 at 07:47 pm

One debt down, many more to go Smile But it feels good to have something paid off! It was a $2500 student loan at 4% interest and now it's gone. Next up is $4500 on my Discover card, which should be paid off in 3-4 months.

I'm supposed to interview for the permanent manager position next week, so hopefully there will be a big raise in my near future as well!

Updates on job, debt payoff, etc

July 9th, 2015 at 09:11 am

So I have been made the interim manager at my job, which came with a 5% pay raise. I will begin interviewing soon (I hope) for the permanent job and will then negotiate my permenent salary. The job is a lot more work than before, but I am loving it because I was bored to tears before!

As for debt payoff, I had been focusing only on credit cards for now, but decided to add in my smallest student loan (a private one) and our pop up camper. I had been trying to pay off the highest interest rate first, but have found myself losing steam since I wasn't paying anything off as quickly as I'd like. So I've gone back to the Dave Ramsey way of smallest balance first. My student loan will be paid off in another 2 weeks, then the next smallest credit card about 3 months after that. I feel like doing it this way will give me the motivation to keep at it. It is nice to know that I will soon (most likely) have some extra money due to the new job to put towards everything.

We had an unexpected mini vacation last weekend... my in laws had a beach house in North Carolina for the week, so we decided to join them from Friday to Monday. My kids had never swam in the ocean (we've only gone to the beach in the winter for a Christmas event) and they had a blast playing in the ocean and hanging out with their grandparents, aunt, uncles, and little cousin. The house was right on the ocean, and they didn't let us pay for a thing, except one grocery trip that my husband made and then we paid for his parents at the aquarium. All in all, we spent about $300 for everything, including gas to get there, which isn't bad for a family of 4 on a 4 day vacation!

We certainly could have used that money to put towards debt, but my brother in law is leaving for Marine Corp boot camp this weekend and sometimes you can't put a price on family time (especially when the price is pretty modest!)

Placed my first Zaycon chicken order this week to be picked up in November! $1.88/lb for 40 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts. The quality is supposed to be much better than the cheap store brand chicken that I can get for $1.99/lb so I am excited to try it! I'll have to make my deep freezer is relatively empty to make room for all of that chicken. I will be spending some time planning what meals to make with all of it! I plan on leaving some whole, cutting some up for chicken nuggets or stir fry, and who knows what else.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

Paid off another CC!

May 20th, 2015 at 06:38 pm

I had a balance of $555 on a Chase card that had a 0% promo until next month, and I paid the whole thing off with the paycheck from my 2nd job today Smile Next card to tackle is my Discover card, balance of $4K at 3.99%. I should have that paid off in just over 3 months. Great motivation!

Need to vent - DH not cooperating

March 19th, 2015 at 06:05 am

So we embarked on this debt payoff journey just over a year ago and have paid of $16K in credit card debt since (Still have $74K to go). I have 5 credit cards in my name and DH has 3. The vast majority of our balances are on my cards and he now has about $13K on his. So when I was setting up our debt avalanche, I asked him what his interest rates and balances were, and he was very wishy washy about it. Most of his balances are currently under various promo rates from doing balance transfers, and he assured me that they were all less than what my highest interest card was, so he has just kept paying the minimums on his cards while I throw all of our extra at my highest interest credit card.

Several times over the past 15 months, I have suggested to him that he let me take care of all of the credit card payments and he take over all of the monthly bills. See, we still have separate checking accounts and we each just have certain bills we're responsible for. We lived together before we were married and did it this way then, and have just always kept it that way because we were comfortable with it. We are both very responsible in terms of paying the bills, so neither of us ever worried that something wasn't getting paid or anything like that.

So anyway, we sold our kayaks yesterday and made $800. I took this opportunity to ask him AGAIN to please look up his balances and interest rates and let me make note of them so I can make sure we're attacking our cards in the proper order. I'm a bit type A (okay, more than a bit) and it has been driving me crazy that I don't have complete control over how much we're paying on what. He has been paying more than the minimums on cards with 3.99% interest rates when I would rather put that extra towards my 12.74% card. So anyway, he did check them, and it turns out that he has a $1200 balance on a card with a 15.49% interest rate!! I imeediately told him to take that $800 and pay that card, and on my next paycheck I would give him the balance to pay it off.

SEE!! This is why I want control over it! I am shocked that he didn't even realize what his interest rate was. Of course my obvious irritation with him turned into an argument, and now it's practically giving me heart palpitations to not be in charge of all the credit cards. I am hoping he'll give it some more thought today and realize that I am right and we should adjust the way we've done things for the last 13 years.

I'm so frustrated Frown

Goals for 2015

December 30th, 2014 at 10:04 am

Since everyone else is doing it Smile

According to my debt avalance worksheet, I will have paid off another $26,000 in credit card debt by December 2015. My biggest goal is to actually achieve that without setbacks. That is counting on a $2K tax refund, which there is a chance it could be more, but this is my first full year working my 2nd job, and so I am not sure yet how that will affect my tax return. If I still get a decent refund for 2014, I will adjust my withholdings for 2015.

If anyone saw my post about DH getting a company car, that is part of the next goal. We have decided to hold onto his pickup truck until June, and camp as much as we can during the spring (the time of year that we do most of our camping anyway). In June we will sell the truck, expecting approximately a $7000 profit, which will also go directly towards the credit cards.

That will reduce our total amount of CC debt by $33K, which would be incredible to achieve in one year!

I have been pretty successful at keeping our grocery budget at $400 a month in the last few months, and hope to keep that up as well.

I've also lost 18 pounds this year and want to keep it off!

CC #1 paid off!

November 17th, 2014 at 09:54 am

My Chase card is completely paid off and now I am working on the Discover card. I have about $1700 in monthly charges that go on that card (daycare, gas, home security and home warranty, etc) but I am paying just over $3100 on it each month. The Discover card and the Chase Slate card will be paid off in April, then the Bank of America card will take another year. Then the Capital One and Citibank cards will take another 8 and 9 month to pay off, respectively, with $75K of credit card debt paid off by January 2017.

DH has about $15000 on credit cards in his name, which all have pretty low interest rates, so those will take another 6 months after that, and then the pop-up camper will take 3 more months.

So by the end of 2017, we'll just be left with mortgage, car loans (DH's truck will be paid off by then though), and student loans. Still seems so far away, but this past year has gone so fast and has really motivated me to keep at it!

Also, my youngest will start kindergarten a few months before my CCs are paid off, so that will be extra money to throw towards the rest of the debt as well.

Been MIA for a little while!

November 6th, 2014 at 06:35 pm

Not too much to report on the finances front, just plugging along Smile We did decide to go to Disney world in February. I have cashed in a lot of my vacation time, enough to pay for more than 2/3 of the trip. Also, I bought Disney gift cards at Kroger when they were giving 4x the fuel points, and then used those to pay for the trip (plus earn cash back on my credit card and then paid it off with the vacation time). By doing it this way, I'll save almost $200 in gas and earn $40 cash back. I realize that we could/should have used the money I'm getting to pay down more debt, but I'm working REALLY hard and sacrificing a lot of time with my family. We're looking forward to this trip together!

I've done an awesome job staying within our grocery budget (trying to stick to $400-500 a month). Instead of buying frozen meals for lunch, I'm making whole boxes of pasta and then portioning and freezing them myself. I'm planning our meals out for each week and only buying what I need for those meals. Tonight was bowtie pasta with light alfredo sauce and bacon, and green beans. Why have I never put bacon on my pasta before?? So delicious!!

I didn't update my debt for October because I had the charges for the Disney gift cards on my account and in't be paying them off until next Friday. I didn't want to see the increase and get depressed. Will update when I do my November balance check!

Finding a balance

September 3rd, 2014 at 05:13 am

So I got my schedule for October and half of November for my part time job last night, and they put me on a lot more evenings than I had wanted. I talked to DH about it last night, and he is fully supportive for whatever we need to do, but it is hard. I asked him what he thought about the schedule and if he thought I should tell them I need to be off a couple of the evenings, and he asked "well, do you want the money?" Well duh, of course I do, but at what expense? I have 2 little boys who I get less time with than I would like, but what I am doing is for the benefit of our family. I worked last night and get home after they've gone to bed, and I had a 7 AM meeting this morning and left before they woke up. I hate going so long without even being able to get a hug and kiss from them (luckily this doesn't happen often).

I want to work as much as is reasonable to get out of this debt, but I also don't want to burn myself out and miss out on valuable time with my kids while they are still little. I can say though, that since I took this part time job, we value our time together more and do more things together when I am off, as opposed to sitting around the house in separate rooms.

There isn't really a right or wrong answer, I guess, just thinking out loud...

Paying off 1st credit card Friday!

August 19th, 2014 at 07:50 am

I have $89 left on it and that will be gone with Fridays paycheck and then on to that Discover card with the highest interest rate! I can't believe I have paid off over $8000 since the beginning of January. According to my debt avalanche spreadsheet, I will have the Discover card paid off next September. A year sounds too long to wait, so I will do everything I can to get it paid off sooner Smile I have been selling a lot on Ebay, and I may be able to cash in some PTO to put towards the card as well. Feels great to make progress!

Clarinet sold on Ebay for....

July 31st, 2014 at 06:08 pm

$711!! Holy crap! Pardon my French Smile I'm unbelievably excited. I was already going to have the Chase card paid off in the next 2 or 3 weeks thanks to the insurance payment for the camper, and now this extra $600ish (after Ebay fees) will be a great start paying down the Discover card!

Big sale on Ebay!

July 26th, 2014 at 06:08 pm

So I decided to sell my clarinet, which was a high school graduation gift from my parents. It was a tough decision, because of the sentimental value, but it's been in the top of a closet for the last 10 years and I figured there was no point in keeping it. I took it to a local instrument store and they said that they thought I could get about $200 for it without doing any of the needed repairs. Well, I was very clear about the work that it needed (corks, pads, and a general tuneup), and after 12 hours on Ebay, the highest bid is $405! I am so excited Smile I guess it's worth more than I thought!

Was so proud of my cheap date day with my son... and then...

July 22nd, 2014 at 06:56 pm

So my have my 7 year old out of summer camp this week to spend some time with him on his birthday week (he'll be 7 Thursday). One of the things he wanted to do was go to work with me, so that was great - took him with my yesterday and saved a vacation day! Today we went to our city's botanical gardens, bowling, and for ice cream.

I was really proud of how frugally I planned this day. We did buy the season pass for the botanical gardens - $60 using my husband's old military ID, and the place is awesome! Great place for my husband to bring the kids on the weekends I work as well. Otherwise he would easily spend $60 in one single day taking them out.

We packed lunch from home and ate it on the way to the bowling alley. I signed him up for a kids bowl free program on weekdays all summer long. So it only cost us $11 for shoes and for me to bowl. Then we went to get ice cream, had a buy one get one free coupon and used a gift card for the balance.

So I got home and checked my credit card statement. $60 for the garden membership, a $55 EZ Pass charge hit today, and then we also went back to school shopping which cost $100 at Target (that's just school supplies, no clothes). So much for a cheap day...

That said, all of those things were going to happen anyway, so I guess my date day with my son still only cost $11. But I was still disappointed to see all that on my credit card. I'm so close to paying it off, this will just be more motivation!

Decided what to do with our snowflake

July 3rd, 2014 at 05:13 am

So of the $5400, we are going to take about $1000 to do some thing around the house (gutters need to be cleaned, house needs powerwashing, etc). We've been in it for 6 years and have done little to no maintenance because of finances, so this is badly needed. Then I am going to take $2K to get my Chase card paid off, and hubby will put the rest towards his credit cards. I am so excited to get the first card paid off! Not sure when the money will come, we have to get the check from the insurance company, send it to the lienholder of our camper for them to sign, and then we can deposit when they send it back. And since it's such a large amount, I anticipate the bank holding it for a while (do they still do that? I had a bonus check years ago that I had to wait 10 business days for it to clear.) I would think by the end of August it should be all set!

HUGE snowflake!

July 2nd, 2014 at 09:50 am

So almost a month ago we had a storm and a branch fell on the roof of our popup camper, making a little hole in it. We got the insurance estimate yesterday - $5400. For something that we can patch ourselves with no problem. My husband asked them if we were allowed to keep the money and fix it ourselves, and they said absolutely. %5400, I can't believe it! Now what to do with it...

My list of credit cards on my sidebar are just the ones that I pay and are in my name. My husband has about $18000 of credit card debt in his name. A good chunk of his debt is at low promo rates, and even the part that isn't, is at lower rates that mine, so we haven't been putting any extra towards his cards yet, which is stressing him out. I really wanted to use that $5400 to pay off my Chase card and then put the rest towards the Discover and get that going, but there's only a % or two difference between my cards and his, and if it will make him feel better, then it's worth it to just let him use it all for his cards.

At some point (as we get things paid down) I'd really like to combine everything, but we'll see how it goes and who has the best rates and balance transfer deals.

Excited to pay off that big chunk though!

First UPromise payment to studen loans!

June 19th, 2014 at 07:53 am

it's was only $23, and it's taken me like 7 years to get that much, but hey, it's something!!

Any advice on how to maximize the UPromise program? I had looked at their credit card but it didn't seem like the rewards were worth opening another line of credit when I'm trying to hard to get my credit cards paid off. Thanks!

Had a backslide this month :(

June 18th, 2014 at 09:55 am

I knew I wouldn't make any progress, since I had that $1100 personal property tax bill to pay, but I didn't think I'd go backwards! I owe $1700 more in my credit cards than I did last month, so I charged $600 in random other "stuff" in the last month. I know $200 of it was Fitbits for my husband and I for our birthdays, the rest was gas and groceries that were more than what I had on the debit card I've been using for it.

After my minimum payments, I have $412 a month left for gas and groceries, which is impossible to do for a family of 4. I can barely keep us under $400 for food alone, and my gas is typically just over $200 a month.

The good news is that before having my 2nd job, I was in the same boat, and I was building more and more credit card debt. At least now I am making progress (most months). All in all, I have still paid off $4300 of credit card debt since January. I just need to get back on top of it and make some more progress! I have some BIG paychecks coming up from my 2nd job, I'm working 3 out of the next 4 weekends, 4th of July for holiday pay, and a few evenings. That should really help make a dent in it.

Oh so THAT'S what an emergency fund is for!

June 12th, 2014 at 05:42 pm

Big storms last night sent a tree branch through the roof of our pop-up camper. I saw that the branch was down, but DH was out of town and it was still storming, so I stayed inside with the kids. Turned out there was a 4x4" hole in the roof that the rain continued to pour into all night and into this morning Frown DH is home now and covered the camper with a tarp, and checked our insurance policy, and at least we only have a $188 deductible. I can think of better things to do with that money, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

I'm NOT a patient person...

June 6th, 2014 at 06:43 am

So every month I look up all of the balances on my credit cards and enter them in my spreadsheet and calculate how much I have paid off since January. It's a huge motivator for me. My issue is fighting the desire to check them every 3 days, even when I know the balances haven't changed Smile

My 2nd job pays opposite weeks as my full time job, so I have a paycheck every week, and I spend the 6 days in between paydays pretty much obsessing over how much debt I will pay down with the next check. While some may say it is good that I am so motivated, it gets a little overwhelming.

Plus this month I had to pay $1100 in personal property tax that I had not budgeted for, so that money went there instead of too my credit card. I know June won't show much improvement, yet I still can't wait to add up my balances!

Anyone else like this and how do you cope?

Oops... another forgotten expense

May 29th, 2014 at 06:41 am

So personal property taxes are one of those things that I always seem to be forget about until I get the bill in May - and it is a HUGE expense due June 5th. Plus this year we got a new minivan, so the taxes are even higher. So between the vehicles and our pop-up camper, I have to pay $1100 in personal property taxes. Since I would have used that money to keep paying down my Chase card, I'm just going to put the taxes on the card to get the cash back and then pay it. But I've been paying down about $1400-$1500 a month on my credit card debt, so this month I will pretty much make no progress Frown I guess at least I won't be going backwards!

Now I have to make sure I remember this bill for the future and plan for it ahead of time (although on the bright side, it goes down year after year as the value of the vehicles decrease.)

I'll get there!

It's the little things...

May 17th, 2014 at 07:18 pm

So I've taken control of both my weight and my finances... somehow, taking control of one area of your life makes you realize you can control a lot of it, and all good things spiral from there! So my co-workers at my 2nd job ordered out lunch today to celebrate the graduation of one of our students. Instead of joining them, I stuck to what I brought from home (a chicken lasagna that I had thrown together from leftovers and frozen) and saved myself both money and calories. I've lost a pound in 3 days and paid off another $1200 in debt with Friday's paycheck Smile Can't get better motivation than that!

First blog ever - thanks for joining me!

May 14th, 2014 at 09:04 am

So about 4 months ago I added up al of my credit card balances (5 of them) and the number was SOOO much bigger than I thought it was - to the tune of nearly $75,000. I don't even know how it got that bad. DH and I have great jobs, a nice house, drive nice cars, and have 2 beautiful little boys. We never had any problem paying the minimum payments on our credit cards and still covering the rest of our bills. Until one month my daycare payment didn't go through because I didn't have enough credit available (it gets charged to one of my cards so I can get the cash back). For several months I had to ask our daycare provider to wait a week to charge me, or to lower the amount and only pay what I could. Luckily for me the woman is an angel and has no problem that I am $3500 behind on payments now. She told me to pay everyone who is charging me interest first and worry about her later.

So after I added up my credit card debt and picked myself up off the floor, I knew things had to change. I got a 2nd job where I bring in an extra $700 a month on average. I have started couponing like crazy and have drastically cut our grocery bill (almost in half!) I lowered our cell phone plan, saving $20 a month. I have sold tons of stuff on mom's groups on Facebook and on Ebay.

I am doing the "debt avalanche" with the extra money and have paid off nearly $5000 of credit card debt in 4 months. I finally feel like this isn't hopeless and there is an end in sight. Estimated payoff date for all my credit debt is fall of 2017, which doesn't seem so far away!

Of note, this is just the credit card debt! I still have a pop-up camper payment, student loans (at extremely low interest rates, thank goodness), 2 car payments, and a mortgage. But by the time I have the credit cards paid off, I will have so much "extra" money that the camper will be paid off in a matter of a couple of months, and the cars will be almost paid off by then as well.

So I am here to be an example to any of you who have debt above and beyond what most people consider a "huge" amount of debt. So welcome and thanks for joining me as I chronicle my progress!