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2 Years Into Debt-Payoff

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Wow, wow, wow. I was just talking about how time has gotten away from me this month. I’ve done it again because here I look up and realize I’ve missed a very important anniversary of sorts. In March, we officially hit the 2-year mark since starting the debt-reduction mission. Can you believe it? I started blogging here in March 2014 with this first introduction post, followed-up by this post where I gave the nitty gritty details of our full debt situation. So what’s happened in this time? And what’s on the horizon?

Two Years into Debt-Payoff:  A Look Back and a Look Ahead

A lot has happened in the past 24 months since I truly began this debt payoff journey (note, I’d been paying some debt prior to beginning blogging here, but it wasn’t until I began blogging that I really kicked debt payoff into high gear).

In 2014 we paid over $25,000 toward debt. At our highest, we paid over $7,000 in a single month during the summer! It was a whirlwind of a year!

In 2015 we paid another $25,000 (actually a bit more) toward debt! Hubs’ business experienced some setbacks, but I landed a new full-time job that certainly helped to boost our income.

2016 is set to be a landmark year for us in terms of income. We’ve also split our priorities a bit to include some savings goals. In my 2016 goals post, I pinpointed 3 goals we’re working on this year:  1) Save $10,000 for a down payment on a home, 2) Save up $5,000 for an emergency fund, 3) Pay $30,000 toward debt.

So how are we doing nearly half-way through the year?

Goal 1:  Save $10,000 for a down payment on a home – So far, so good on this goal. We’re planning to start house-hunting in early summer (May-June timeframe), with hopes of closing by late summer (August is our target month). We’re on track to have our down payment saved by June (but there is a little bit of leeway in case it spills over into July).

Goal 2: Save $5,000 for our emergency fund. This is chugging along slowly. I’ve been saving less toward our EF as we’ve focused more on the down payment for now. But our budget forecasts currently have us meeting this goal by July. It will be nice to have a little buffer built back up before moving into a new house. You know….just-in-case.

Goal 3: Pay $30,000 toward debt. So far, so good with this, too. Every month we’ve exceeded our goal for the month. See here:

Month 2016 GOALS 2016
January Goal: $3500 $4013
February Goal: $1000 $1261
March Goal:  $1000 $2134
April Goal:  $2000 ((estimated: $2,000))
May Goal: $2000
June Goal:  $4000
July Goal: $4000
August Goal: $2500
September Goal: $2500
October Goal: $2500
November Goal: $2500
December Goal: $2500
Total Goal: $30,000  

 

Now that I’ve managed to extend my work contract through the summer, especially, I’m thinking this goal should be in-the-bag.

Oh, how good it will feel to dump a full $30,000 in debt this year! That will amount to knocking down my student loans by nearly 33%!

I cannot wait to have Navient out of my life forever. I want to scream it from the rooftops! I CAN NOT WAIT!!! What the world will feel like when we don’t owe a single person a thing. When our only bills are for our immediate living expenses (food, house, utilities). When we can save and grow wealth and be more generous people to the causes that matter dearly to us. To consider possible early retirements. To travel more. The list goes on and on and the possibilities are limitless.

Only a life free of debt can afford us all of these options. I want it so badly I can taste it. I can’t wait until our dream has become a reality.

We’re in it for the long-haul. Ramsey spouts the statistic that the average person going through Financial Peace pays off their debts in 18 months. Well, we’re at 2 years deep with probably another 2 years to go. Sometimes I feel like I’m flying high (like when we finally became consumer debt-free!!!!!), other times I feel absolutely defeated (like when Navient (metaphorically) stomps on my face again). But I just try to keep my eye on the prize:  eventual debt-freedom. How sweet that success will be!

Where are you in your debt-reduction mission? How much further do you have to go? How far have you come?

Ashley

Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

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18 Comments

  • Reply Brandi |

    Amazing progress and very inspirational! As someone going through a massive debt repayment myself, I can say that sometimes the 2 year mark that Dave Ramsey states has left me feeling defeated as I started my journey in 2013 and am still making my way through the payoffs. But the great news is look how far you have came! Sometimes I look back and can’t believe the point I was at ($66k when I first started tracking) to today ($1500 left!). I really enjoy reading your journey and congrats on meeting your targets so far!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thank you, and congrats to you too! What incredible progress you’ve made! You’re so close to the end!!!

  • Reply Leah |

    I’m 6 months deep into my debt journey and I’ve paid off $8,000 (about 10%) of my debt. I’m a few years out of grad school and my plan is to pay down $15,000 a year. Fingers crossed that I will be debt free in my early 30’s!

  • Reply Brooke |

    We started our debt payoff journey in July 201. We’re down to 86K from a high of 180K, with two years to go if we go full throttle all the way. But, lately I’ve been leaning towards not getting down to all the way to “0” at full throttle, but instead paying off the loans above 5% at this rapid pace. We’re on track to pay off our mortgage (included in the 86K above) by October.

    Then, we’d switched to a more balance approach of retirement savings, some extra debt payoff and a full e-fund. For the last year we’ve been living on 50% of our income, and budgeting based on last’s month income (following YNAB). This means every month of income is technically two months worth of expenses, but that isn’t a true emergency fund.

    Is this what debt payoff fatigue feels like? Part of the problem is that we truly are bettering our financial situation every day and so the fear/pressure of financial stress is slowing fading away as our debt decreases. I can really tell a difference.

    • Reply Ashley |

      WOW! That’s fantastic! How great will it feel to be fully debt-free, house and everything! Great job!

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    You’re doing so great! I’m wondering if you shouldn’t consider refinancing with Earnest or someone like that. I know you haven’t wanted to do that because some of your loans are subsidized, and in case you need IBR, but…you really hate Navient a lot 🙂 And if you got a total interest rate of 3% or so, that might make up for the loss of the unsubsidized loans.

    Congrats again on getting your income and debt payoff to this point, even with business setbacks, your dad’s illness, twins, and all the rest.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks! I do think I’m going to end up refinancing the student loans. At this point I’m just waiting until after we’ve bought a house. I don’t want to do anything with my credit/new lines of credit until after that’s all wrapped up.

  • Reply scarr |

    You’ve done such a great job! I began my debt payoff two months before you did and became debt-free this past February (of course, my debt was significantly less than yours, so it’s not a dig at your progress 🙂 )

    At my halfway point, a year in, I began to feel so bored with debt payoff. Eventually a second wind came around and ignited a fire. Best of luck to you, I know you will crush those loans!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thank you! Even though you finished before me, I won’t hold it against you! : ) Honored to have worked on kicking debt’s butt together!

  • Reply Sarah |

    You are doing so great!

    Has anyone mentioned closing costs when you buy a house? You might need extra dollars to cover that. We bought in a different time, different area and had to pay points to qualify since we didn’t make much money and our closing costs were $11k.

    • Reply anon |

      Yes, closing costs can run into the thousands, so it’s good to have a chunk set aside. (We have bought 5 homes over the years, so I can speak from experience.) You have done an awesome job on your debt reduction!

      • Reply Ashley |

        We’ve got closing costs covered, as my mom is gifting us some money in addition to the amount we’re saving up.

  • Reply Jan |

    well done Ashley! its great seeing the total numbers you’ve paid. We paid off $100,000 debt over five years – it often felt like it would never end and it just became automated. Now that it is gone its an amazing feeling. We’ve gone from everything being overdue & harrassing phone calls to debt free, an overseas holiday coming up and a growing emergency fund. But most of all its the stress levels going down that is the biggest difference.

So, what do you think ?