Getting Out of Debt: First Update

Friday, May 19, 2017

It's time for my first update!  Since I just started this series I'm still playing around with how I want to organize each update, but for now I think sharing last quarters progress and this quarters goals is a good start.   I was going to update monthly, but since we're still figuring things out I am going to post quarterly for a while (once every 3 to 4 months).

February/March Progress:

I knew I wasn't going to make too much progress these first months since I didn't start my second job until the last week of February and we weren't sure where we were going to be financially with Josh's deployment because we were being told 100 different things (welcome to the Army, right?).   I am happy to announce that we were able to complete the emergency fund of $1000 this month.   I also wrote out all of my goals time wise and now have them hanging on my refrigerator.

April/May Progress:

April was when I really got started.  I'm not going to lie, I'm cheating a bit.  Dave Ramsey says to start with your lowest debt and work your way up.  However, we have a loan that has less than 2 years left on it (totaling approximately $6,900), so I am paying that one off first.  Plus, the minimum payment is super high and will majorly help is in paying off some of our lower debts.  Between April 17th and May 15th, I was able to pay my minimum payment of $320 as well as an extra $698.14.  The current balance on the loan is 5987.17 (I know that doesn't add up, but interest, ya know).  If you add in the minimum payments that we paid on all of our other debts ($723), we paid a total of $1741 this month!  To tell the truth, I'm super proud of us right now!  I honestly thought that we'd maybe pay off and extra $300, so to double that is super motivating!

I hit a bit of a "roadblock" at the end of April when my phone just stopped working.  One minute it was fine and the next it was totally dead.  Ugh.  Luckily I work at Best Buy and was able to get a new phone that day.  I am now the owner of a Samsung Galaxy S8.  Since my S6 was not yet paid off, I had to pay the balance on that which set me back a bit.

This month I started getting into Podcasts (totally open to suggestions for good ones, BTW) and Dave Ramsey's was the first I started listening to.  I listen while driving to and from work and I listen when I take Bolt for a walk.  With Josh being gone, I really don't have an accountability partner (which Dave says is super important) so listening to these podcasts really helps.  I also learning a lot about investing and different types of retirement funds that I didn't even know existed!

Goals Update

Way back in February, I posted some goals to help us get started on this debt free journey and I haven't revisited them since.  I took a look at them and I'm happy to say I've actually done pretty well!  These goals will also be my goals for the next quarter.

Start Meal Planning// This one is a pretty big fail.  I've not done any meal planning, but I have been better about being more intentional with what I buy.  And I've been making an effort to eat what I have rather than what I want, which is helping me get rid of stuff that's been sitting in our pantry or freezer for way too long.  So, I could do better with this goal, but it wasn't a complete and total loss.

Sell Things We Don't Need/Declutter// This has probably been my biggest win yet!  There is a Thrift Shop on Post which allows you to consign stuff.  They let you set the price and cut checks on the first of each month.  If your item is not sold in 90 days, you can either donate it or buy it back for a fraction of the price you set.  So, I set my prices and figure if none of it sells, then I'll just donate them and they're still out of my house for good.   I consigned some books, some DVD's, shoes, picture frames, and a whole lot of clothes!  I got rid of a bunch of DVD's;  I took them FYE the other day and they took all but 4 of them and I made $10.50 which I put with my tips to go into the snowball.  Of the 4 that I didn't sell, my sister took 2 and the others went to the Thrift Shop.  Books were the hardest.  I always ask my Mom and Sister if they want any of the books, and if not, I move on to my former boss who collects books, and whatever she doesn't want gets consigned.  I felt my soul die a little when I took some of these books to consignment, but I know I'd never read them again and if I wanted to for some reason, that is why libraries exist.  I am still working my way through all of the rooms in my house, but I'm so happy with my progress so far!

Work on a Written Budget// This hasn't really happened yet.  There has been so many changes in Josh's deployment, so this has been really difficult because the Army doesn't care about my budget.  If they tell you to buy something, you do it.  It's a little discouraging when you write up a great budget and your husband says oh, I have to take out $200 for X and I have no choice.  So, I'm going to keep trying, but I may not be able to get a great written budget figured out until he gets home.

Work Two Jobs// Win!  Well, kind of.  I said in my last post that I got a full time job, which is true.  But I hate the job so much that being there full time was torture.  I went down to part time and picked up more hours at Fridays.   The money I make from the other job goes towards bill and the money I make at Fridays goes right towards the debt.   I seriously considered leaving the job I hate at the end of June, but I'm going to suck it up until Josh gets home.  By that time, I'm hoping to have 3 debts taken care of and only 3 left.  Who knows, by that time I may find a job that I really like, but I'm not holding my breath. (After I wrote this, I accepted a new job at a super nice hotel on the St. Lawrence River, so I will be quitting the job I hate and working full time at the hotel restaurant and part time at Fridays)!

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