You guys! I have another fun debt-related thing to celebrate today!
After nearly TWO YEARS of blogging here (officially started in March 2014. Here was my first “application post“), I’ve FINALLY and forever more fallen below the six-digit-debt threshold! When I started blogging two years ago we had $150,000 of debt. Our combined household income at the time was not quite $50,000/year. After paying off over $25,000 in our first year and over $26,000 in our second year, we’ve FINALLY crossed this major milestone in our debt-repayment journey. Never ever (aside from mortgage) will we EVER have six-digit level debt. That’s insane! We still have a long way to go, but it really feels like we’ve started gaining speed and making good traction. Our only remaining debts are medical and student loan (which, to this point, we’ve been paying mostly minimums on). I CANNOT WAIT to really start making some headway on those bad boys!
Here’s our January debt update:
|Place||Current Balance||APR||Last Payment Made||Last Payment Date||Original debt, March 2014|
|Capital One CC||-||17.9%||-||Paid off in March 2014||$413|
|Mattress Firm||-||0%||-||Paid off in May 2014||$1381|
|Wells Fargo CC||-||13.65%||-||Paid off in May 2014||$7697|
|BoA CC||-||7.24%||-||Paid off in June 2014||$2220|
|License Fees||-||2.5%||-||Paid off in April 2015||$5808|
|PenFed Car Loan||-||2.49%||$3189||Paid off in January 2016||$24040|
|ACS Student Loans||$8596||6.55%||$20||January||$8215|
|Balance Transfer student loan (Former Navient 1-01)||$2112||0% (through April 2016)||$500||January||$5937|
|Totals||$98,890 (Dec balance = 102,502)||$4013||Starting Debt = $145,472|
It was tough to swing this monstrous sized debt payment (just over $4,000!!!!!) and, as you’ll see in an upcoming budget update post, in order to balance the budget we had to forego a couple of savings items I’d really wanted to squeeze in this month. But February is a new month and we’ll be full-steam ahead on our next course of action, which includes building back up a healthy emergency fund, saving money toward a down payment of a home, and getting into a bit more comfortable position before we really start slugging those student loan payments. It pains me to see that, for instance, we paid $279 toward Navient this month and yet, our balance actually grew a little compared to last month because that payment still didn’t even cover the interest accruing on the loans (though this is, indeed, over our minimum payment, which is only $206/month). We’ve got to stop the bleeding and so, even though I’m considering it a “minimum” payment while we beef up our savings a bit, I’ll be increasing our student loan payments to at least cover the interest (I’m considering it “minimum” because it will still be a very minimal amount at first as our focus will be on trying to build an EF. But I will increase it from the official minimum so that we aren’t seeing a growing balance every month).
It’s so exciting to get to celebrate these recent wins after such a long period of what has felt like stagnancy. Even though we’ve been whittling away at our debt all along (so we’ve never really been stagnant), the “wins” have felt few and far between in the past year or so. Paying off the car/becoming consumer debt-free, and now dipping below the 6-digit-debt threshold both feel like huge breaths of fresh air. Like we’ve just been given a giant pat-on-the-back for all of our hard work. It really gives us the momentum to keep on rolling.
As I look at the year ahead, of course no one can really be certain what to expect, but I see good things ahead. Last year was a tough one. Nothing terrible happened, but there were lots of changes/re-adjustments as I started a new job, dealt with a lot of father health issues, and just tried to find my place in life a bit. This semester is starting off great (I really am so lucky to truly love what I do!), the financial year is starting on a high note, we have an all-cash paid vacation in a couple months, we have plans to buy a house this year(!!!), and I just hope this is setting the tone for what will be a fabulous 2016. I couldn’t be more excited! So much to be thankful for!
I hope we can all pause today and reflect on something that makes us happy or something we are thankful for. Even in the most trying times, I find it to be a helpful exercise. : )