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Ashley’s October 2016 Debt Update

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I hope you’re all having a good week! Our kids are out of school Wed – Fri this week so my mom flew out to help with childcare (since hubs and I both have to work still), so it’s been a lot of fun to visit together and it’s always great when Mom visits! For instance, my freezer is now full of homemade freezer meals that we can quickly and easily heat up on our busy weeknights!

I’m not even going to lie – this semester has been kicking my butt a little. I’m sure you can tell based off the more sporadic posting schedule as of late. Mid-semester there was a faculty member who, due to persona reasons, had to stop teaching a class. In week 8 of 16. Guess who got to pick up the class? This girl! I’m happy to help out and it will work out in the end (my department head is giving me a course release in exchange) but I’m definitely feeling the burden of the extra work at an already extremely busy time!

BUT –

we’re already on the downhill slope toward the end of the semester. Just a few weeks to go and I’ll be home-free! And it’s going to be such a fun winter break! We’ve made reservations for our family to travel up to the Flagstaff area and do the North Pole Experience. I’ve wanted to do it the past couple years and have kept ourselves form doing it due to budgetary constraints. This year I knew I wanted to make it a priority so I’ve been putting little bits of money aside each month to help offset some of the costs (much like I did when I saved a couple hundred bucks each month for an entire year in order to pay for cruise 2016 entirely with cash). This experience obviously wasn’t as expensive as the cruise, so I’ve just been setting aside $50 for the past couple months. I was able to pay for our tickets out of my pocket of cash and we still have a little leftover (that I’ll continue to add to this month and next) to cover the cost of a hotel and food or souvenirs on the trip. CAN NOT WAIT!!!

But that’s neither here nor there. Feast your eyes on the main reason for this post:  my October debt update!!!

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$70,4266.55%$1975October$82433
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$46000% (through April 2017)$750October$7650
Medical Bills$56860%$25October$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$80,712 (Sept balance = 83,173)$2750Starting Debt = $145,472

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty bummed that we ended up SO.CLOSE to the 70’000s for our total debt owed. Just another $700 and we would’ve tipped over! But we’ll definitely be there by the end of this month.

The other important thing to note is that ACS is now off the debt spreadsheet table. ACS sold my last remaining loan with them (I used to have 2) to Navient. That means Navient now services 100% of my student loans. Blah! Speaking of, I still haven’t resolved my most recent Navient issue. They DID straighten out the auto-drafting issue and have updated to the correct payment (they had been grossly over-charging me). BUT, they still haven’t re-allocated the extra payments toward the loans I would have selected. So another phone call is warranted, but has not yet happened. It’s on my “TO DO” list for Friday (fingers crossed that resolves it).

Otherwise, things are moving right along. Still on schedule to close on our house very soon. I’m still holding my breath and crossing my fingers that it all goes through (after already being delayed twice). This weekend is also my husband’s and my 6th wedding anniversary! It’s going to be a bit of an anticlimactic one. My Mom leaves town on Friday so we had a VERY low-key date night on Wednesday night. We wore jeans and went to happy hour sushi. Nothing fancy or special, but it’s always nice just to have time out alone together (since typically we’ve got the girls anytime we go anywhere). Last year I mentioned how – when we first got married – I had hoped we would be able to spend our 5-year anniversary in Hawaii. Instead we made a major debt payment and just went out to dinner. Nothing crazy. I don’t regret our choice in prioritizing debt payoff in the least. I think it’s the best thing for our family. And it’s easier to maintain determination and stamina now that we’re adding in a bit more balance to our lives (e.g., like planning this Christmas trip to Flagstaff and going on more regular date nights, etc.). It’s all about trade-offs between debt payment and “life” happenings and I’m happy with our balance right now. At the same time, I look forward to the day when we can travel more freely without worrying about cost or the trade-off between paying off debt and making memories together. I’ve never been to Hawaii before and have always wanted to go. A second-honeymoon seems like the perfect reason. It’s not in the cards this year (though we’re still doing fun, albeit cheaper, family activities). But a second honeymoon WILL happen someday. It’s just one more of our “rewards” we’ll be able to indulge in after cleaning up this debt mess!  Every month – just a little bit closer to our debt-free goal!

How is your debt repayment going? Have you paid off any debts recently?


Ashley’s September 2016 Debt Update

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Better late than never, right?

After I realized I’d missed our extra student loan payment, I initiated it on October 1st (a Saturday). It showed “pending” in Navient’s system for several days and didn’t actually show up as being applied until Wednesday. I don’t like posting on Wednesday (I like to leave it for Hope), so here we are with our SEPTEMBER debt update nearly a full week into the month of October. So sorry about the late update!

Check it out:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$635276.55%$2225September$74218
ACS Student Loans$85856.55%$25September$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$53500% (through April 2017)$500September$7650
Medical Bills$57110%$25September$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$83,173 (Aug balance = 85,553)$2775Starting Debt = $145,472

Several exciting milestones are coming up:

First, we’re just over $3,000 away from our next $10,000 milestone.

Second, the next digit we’ll be seeing is in the $70,000’s. That’s significant because our half-way mark is just above $72,000. So we’re just a little over $10,000 away from the half-way mark! Everyone keeps saying after we cross that threshold that the debt will just start melting away! It’s felt like a long, hard slog so far the past nearly 3 years of debt-repayment. I’m VERY excited to get over that hump.

Third, do you recall how one of our big 2016 debt goals was to pay $30,000 toward debt this year?? Check out where we now stand in terms of that financial goal:

Month 2016 GOALS 2016
January Goal: $3500 $4013
February Goal: $1000 $1261
March Goal:  $1000 $2134
April Goal:  $2000 $1521
May Goal: $2000 $1325
June Goal:  $4000 $3500
July Goal: $4000 $4928
August Goal: $2500 $1374
September Goal: $2500 $2775
October Goal: $2500  
November Goal: $2500  
December Goal: $2500  
Total Goal: $30,000 $22,8310

It’s going to be tight, but we’re right on track to hit that goal. It’s so crazy to think that many families in America are struggling to survive on a total household income of $30,000. Meanwhile, we’ve been blessed with an increased income that has allowed us to put that much toward debt! I mean – whoa! Moment of silence or respect or something. That’s a massive figure!

So much to be thankful for and still so many exciting milestones on the horizon.

Full steam ahead!!!

Do you make annual financial goals? What were yours and how are you doing on them?


Ashley’s August 2016 Debt Update

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Hi friends!

I hope everyone is having a relaxing, laid back Labor Day holiday! We’re still in Texas (we drive back to Tucson tomorrow), so I’m just peeking in with a real quick Debt Update from the month of August.

Here it is:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$653716.55%$829August$74218
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20August$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$58500% (through April 2017)$500August$7650
Medical Bills$57360%$25August$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$85,553 (July balance = 86,518)$1374Starting Debt = $145,472

This was a relatively small debt payment (particularly in comparison to last month’s monstrous debt payment), but I’d expected that given that August is a little bit lower-income month for us (I do not get paid from my part-time job at all in August). Even so, we made some good progress over and above minimum debt payment obligations. We just keep chip-chip-chipping away at our debt totals.

As another exciting piece of information – we think we found “the one” (house). We saw it just before leaving town for the Labor Day weekend and called our realtor to put in an offer while we were on the road (we signed via docusign using my phone’s hotspot to get internet on our computer). Fingers crossed!!!

After house stuff is behind us we plan to make some really concrete mini-goals for the student loan debt. I’ve been hesitant to make any mini-goals (aside from our general 2016 goals) because it feels like so much has been up in the air with the house hunt and trying to just stockpile as much cash as possible for a down payment and emergency fund, etc.

I’ll keep everyone updates as house progress continues. : )

Have a great long weekend!


Ashley’s June 2016 Debt Update

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I’m really excited about this month’s debt update! I’d originally hoped to put a solid $4,000 toward debt this month and, although we didn’t quite hit that number, we did put a full $3,500 toward debt!

I know I’ve said this before, but moment of silence for that huge, astronomical number!

((((((silence))))))

Thank you! I just like to acknowledge that $3,500 is a ton of money!

If the average American household income is $55,000 (source), then this represents roughly a full month worth of net income for the typical U.S. family. Craziness!

See for yourself…

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$698266.55%$2955June$74218
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20June$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$68500% (through April 2017)$500June$7650
Medical Bills$57860%$25June$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan$02.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees$02.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC$07.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm$00%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC$013.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC$017.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$91058 (May balance = 94,292)$3500Starting Debt = $145,472

Two things excite me about our debt update this month:

  1. We’ve dipped into the $60,000s for my Navient student loans! I know we still owe a ton, but it’s SO exciting to finally hit a new first digit! The entire time I’ve been blogging Navient has been up in the 70,000s range, so this is a huge deal to me! To be fair, it’s only within the current calendar year that I really started tackling the student loan debt-mountain! (note – I was paying toward student loans all along, but not at a very aggressive rate, as I had prioritized other debts first). I can’t wait to continue seeing this number drop!
  2. We’re super close to hitting a new first-digit of our overall debt! At $91,000 currently owed, we should definitely but down into the $80,000s range by next month! EEEK!!! Again (I must emphasize this for newer readers), I know this is still a disgusting amount of debt. But when I started blogging I had nearly $150,000 of total debt, and it feels like just yesterday when we broke the $100,000 barrier, so the last $10,000 has gone in basically the blink of an eye (ahem – it’s actually taken 5 months, but whose counting?)

I’m really feeling the momentum now and it seems like the debt is just melting away! We still have a LONG way to go, but I’m feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! We’ve had great pay in June (budget update coming soon!) and expect to have great pay in July as well. That really helps as we’re working on pounding out a lot of these student loans.

Also, I’ve grouped all my Navient loans together just for ease, but I’m actually paying them one-at-a-time (first I targeted the highest interest loans, and now that all the remaining loans have the same rate I’m targeting them by smallest first – the snowball method). I’ve actually paid a couple in full lately and it feels SO SO good every time I log into Navient and see another loan with zeros all the way across for amount owed and upcoming payments. These are just the kind of emotional “wins” I need to really feel like we’re on the right track. And it feels GREAT!!!

Next steps – build EF and buy a freaking house!!!

 


50/50

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Back in December 2015 we hit a big milestone. We had officially paid $50,000 toward debt!!!

What a huge thing! Just thinking about paying $50,000 toward debt in two years (a rate of $25,000/year – nearly half our annual income when we first started blogging!) is mind-blowing.

And just last month we hit another big milestone. One that I have mixed feelings about.

We have now decreased our debt by $50,000.

Say what?

When we hit the first $50,000 milestone, that was money that we’d paid toward debt. But, obviously, most of our debts have interest attached to them. So just because we paid $50,000 toward debt didn’t mean we’d actually decreased our debt by that amount because a good chunk of our money was going toward interest on the debt.

It took another FOUR MONTHS to finally decrease our debt by the same $50,000 that we’d celebrated back in December.

Nutso.

It makes me sick to look at the size of our student loan debt and realize how much we’ve paid that has only gone toward interest. Nothing toward any principal reduction at all. And to see the calculations that say “if you pay the minimum payment, by X time you’ll have paid X amount.” You all know what I’m talking about. Credit card statements have the same statement on them. So you’re looking at your current debt number, but then you see that if you only pay the minimum that in the end you’ll end up paying MUCH more than the original debt amount. After all the interest is included, it can be close to paying 2X! Two times as much as the initial debt!

Ick!

I had a couple people comment on nearing the $50,000 debt reduction mark and ask whether I was excited.

Yes, of course I am! That’s a huge reduction in debt!

But I have mixed feelings. It’s also a little kick to the gut. Knowing we’d paid $50,000 back in December, but our debt numbers didn’t actually reflect a $50,000 decrease until 4 months later. Four long, grueling months of making major debt payments. All of which was consumed by interest. Boo!

It’s a valuable lesson, though. The debtor is a slave to the lender. Another reason to never, ever go into debt again (*ahem* except for a mortgage).

When you think about debt payoff, do you tend to think in terms of dollars toward it (including paying interest), or in actual amount of debt reduction? I report both in my monthly debt updates, but I tend to think more in terms of dollars spent toward debt (including interest). It sucks that there’s such a lag behind dollars spent & dollars in debt reduction.


Ashley’s February 2016 Debt Update

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Hi all!

I hope your weeks are starting off on the right foot and that you’re making the most of your extra day (February 29th) this year! : )

Here’s my debt update from the month of February:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast 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%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
Navient$81,9456.55%-8.25%$516February$80761
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20February$8215
Balance Transfer student loan (Former Navient 1-01)$14120% (through April 2016)$700February$5937
Medical Bills$58860%$25February$9000
Totals$97,839 (Jan balance = 98,890)$1261Starting Debt = $145,472

As I’ve mentioned a few times, the first half of this year will be spent heavily in savings-mode so this month’s debt update is lower than normal. I have, however, made a little 2016 Debt Table to help me keep on track with my big goal to put $30,000 toward debt in 2016. Check it out:

Month 2015 2016 GOALS 2016
January $1678 Goal: $3500 $4013
February $1822 Goal: $1000 $1261
March $653 Goal: $1000  
April $1796 Goal: $2000  
May $1708 Goal: $2000  
June $725 Goal: $4000  
July $2125 Goal: $4000  
August $2250 Goal: $2500  
September $2575 Goal: $2500  
October $5513 Goal: $2500  
November $2751 Goal: $2500  
December $2522 Goal: $2500  
Total $26118 Goal: $30,000  

So even though this month’s debt payment is lower than average, I’m still right on track (actually ahead of schedule) with my goal debt payments.

I hope all is well with you, friends! Have a great week!


Ashley’s November 2015 Debt Update

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As I mentioned in my morning post, we were unable to meet our super high lofty debt-figure goal for the month of November (which was $4500). Even so, I do still feel like we had a respectable debt payment. A couple of roadblocks this month that stood in our way were all related to hubs’ work situation. First, he had to take off what turned out to be a full week at the beginning of the month when (1) both kids got sick (one, then the other), (2) hubs’ mom came to visit, and (3) the kids’ preschool closed for 3 days for teacher training. So that’s a full week of missed work. Then hubs missed another partial week of work (Wednesday-Sunday) when we went out of town for Thanksgiving. Given the two weeks of missed work, I think we’ve done as well as can be expected. We really tried to pare down our budget as much as possible (November budget update post coming…probably next Monday) and stuck to just the bare essentials so we could try to put as much toward debt as possible.

I don’t know what the month of December may hold. Although I find it highly unlikely that we’ll meet our big 2015 goals (paying off $30,000 in debt & being consumer debt-free), we will come so, so close. I don’t want to jinx myself, but if we are unable to hit those goals in December (unlikely), I feel fairly confident that we’ll be able to wrap them up in January. Not too shabby to be one month behind, especially since these were reaching goals to begin with (meaning, they seemed like a reach even when I set the goals).

So without further ado, here’s how November’s debt payments shaped up:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast 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
Navient$82,1606.55%-8.25%$206November$80761
ACS Student Loans$86166.55%$20November$8215
PenFed Car Loan$49552.49%$2000November$24040
Balance Transfer student loan (Former Navient 1-01)$30120% (through April 2016)$500November$5937
Medical Bills$59610%$25November$9000
Totals$104,704 (Oct balance = 107,053)$2751Starting Debt = $145,472

One big thing to note is that my Navient debts are now combined. When I logged into my account this month the loans (which used to be separated and listed as “federal loans” and “department of education loans”) are now all combined. I have no idea why this transition took place and I received no prior warning or explanation about it. To be totally honest, I haven’t had a chance yet to break apart all the debts and make sure the figure is correct (because, as we all know, Navient is king at screwing things up). It does seem to be in the right ballpark and I’ve got that on my list for things to do at the beginning of December.

I’m proud of that $2700+ debt payment! This was a tough month and we still managed to make a good dent in our debt. But whats even more exciting to me is seeing our total debt. It’s now sitting right at $104,704.  We may not hit the two main goals of 2015 (becoming consumer debt free and putting $30,000 toward debt), but I sure am going to try my absolute hardest to get that figure to dip below $100k before the New Year rolls around. We may be looking for some things to sell, donating plasma, or picking up odd work. I don’t know what it will take, but I’m willing to make the sacrifices to see that figure drop down into the 5-digit range and stay forevermore out of six-digit figure land. Wish me luck!

How are your debt payments coming along?


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