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New Numbers!


Well, we are under $90,000!  Not by much but that’s okay…I am feeling pretty good about the near $5,000 paid down in debt in June.  It wasn’t easy but so worth it!  I was determined to get below the $90K–that was my goal.  It meant cutting corners even moreso with spending but it is done!  It also meant not putting an extra hundred in the emergency fund but I really needed the morale boost so that’s the route chosen.

You’ll notice that my Dad is paid…that annoying small credit card is done and then a huge near $2,000 credit card balance at 15.9% interest is totally wiped out!  Our next focus will be the dreadful Bank of America card with $23,278 on it.   That hag BOA will be getting an absurd amount of money from us each month but only for a time certain so that’s the bright side.

It’s 11 pm here right now and I have to wake up for a 6:30 am flight to Denver.  Let the paid for vacation begin!  🙂


  • Reply Liz |

    Awesome job! Doesn’t it feel great to see all those $0.00 balances!

    I look forward to seeing a few more of those on my spreadsheet. I’m a few weeks away from finishing my PhD and have a job waiting that will pay me 4 times what I made as a student. Hoping to continue to live on a similar budget and push most of that extra money to debt!

    • Reply Claire |

      Congratulations!!!! How exciting Liz! Good for you on the upcoming pay increase!

  • Reply Cathy C. |

    Nicely done Claire!! I think it’s going to drive us all crazy seeing that $1657 credit card sitting there while you work on the BoA card! I know you guys have your own process to this, but I would want that cc #7 gone to have one less bill to remember to pay? If you’re going to continue putting $5,000 to debt payoff every month, the little bit of interest you’d rack up by paying that smaller card off next would be minimal in the long run. Just some thoughts, but like I said you’re doing great and obviously your method is working for you and that’s all that matters!

    • Reply kim |

      Cathy C – it might be about interest rates instead of amount of debt per card.

      Congrats!!! I’m so glad you paid off your father; did you feel the emotional pull lift (I know you said originally there wasn’t any…but then later that maybe there was)?

  • Reply Maura |

    Awesome job! I also am curious as to why you don’t just knock out that card #7 with the relatively small balance. Are you going by highest interest rate first?

    • Reply Claire |

      Yes…highest interest first. See my other comment for what I anticipate happening.

  • Reply lis |

    I would also take out the 1657 card first, it would just drive me crazy seeing that little number there, all the other debts are fairly large by comparison, but I also can understand the well deserved hatred you have for boa

    • Reply Claire |

      It is about higher interest rates but I think what will end up happening is that balance will be reduced with whatever extra $ that comes along. It just isn’t up on the plan yet. I kind of like the idea of making that small one a side goal in that it isn’t part of our mint.com until later but I will likely end up tackling it to say I did it! Weird but that’s where I’m at!

  • Reply jolie |

    It is always motivating to see things drop down a ‘decade’ when you are paying off debt. congrats.

  • Reply Laina |

    I have a suggestion that may not go over well with you. Sell your cars and really buy cheap ones ($1-$3k). Even if you owe more than you sold them for, you still won’t have to pay back the full amount of the loan. So, you take your $15,000 car loan. Maybe you sell your car for $10,000. You now owe $5,000 and buy a car for $2,000. You owe $7,000 now vs. $15,000 and still have a car to get you around. Just something to think about.

    • Reply diane |

      I’m not in agreement in this case because Claire does not have a big enough emergency fund to pay for car repairs that less expensive cars usually require. She and her husband have adequate income to pay off their cars in a short period of time. Why not just keep the cars with the plan to keep them long term and vow not to have car payments again?

    • Reply Cathy C. |

      I absolutely hate this idea. It’s bad enough losing money on cars in the first place, but willingly throwing thousands away on perfectly good SAFE cars in order to carry less debt and drive POSs is just plain crazy.
      It might be fine for adults with no kids, but since they do, those kids’ safety should come first and Claire and her husband make enough income to pay on car loans.

    • Reply Claire |

      Sara! My phone says it is 100 degrees in Estes Park right now! I’m cool inside at the moment and hoping that my 4 hours do sleep and now 15 hour day are causing me to hallucinate! Triple digits!

  • Reply Walnut |

    Watching your monthly interest charges drop on your big credit card is going to be extremely satisfying. Props on your accomplishments this month.

  • Reply ib |

    Just a quick suggestion – it would be great if you could put the “original” debt amount you started out with beside all the “paid/$0” debt. That way we/you can easily see how far you have come.

    • Reply JMK |

      Back in the first Claire’s first few posts where she outlined all the amounts owing and their interest rates. There were a bunch with hideous interest rates that the card providers weren’t willing to lower. Wisely, Claire paid several off with one colsolidation loan at a reasonable rate. oan. The amount owing isn’t really gone in some cases, just moved to where the interest rate is far better until it can really be paid off. Stating the amount originally owing might be interesting, but might also imply that that debt is paid off. If you added up all the amount appearing as paid off it wouldn’t add up to the amount she’s showing as paid (since those amounts are now in the consolidation loan) and that might cause confusion. Probably best just to show a zero for all those items and the $10.9k consolidation still owing.

  • Reply Holly |

    Impressive! This is so fun to watch Claire! Keep up the fine work. You have so many people pulling for you and your success.

  • Reply Adam |

    Wow, great progress, I love all the 0’s. Looking forward to seeing the effort on the big debts. For 2 years we’ve been knocking out piddly debts and now we’re starting the 5 year plan on my grad school loans. It’s going to be a long time before we get another 0 on the board but we’ll get there.

  • Reply JMK |

    Excellent progress !!!! Woohoo!!!!

    When you make good salaries, and then cut your lifestyle down to the basics, it’s amazing how much “excess” money you find you had all along.
    A layoff about 5 years ago pointed this out to us too. We only had our mortgage but were just wasting any extra we made on crap I can’t even remember now. Once we were forced by necessity to see what was required and what really wasn’t needed, we never could go back to our old spending ways when the job was replace a couple of months later. Now even with occasional non-essential indulgences, we normally slide a minimum of $3k/mth into our retirement savings or extra mortgage payments. I kills me that we wasted all those years spending the excess on total nonsense when we could have long ago paid off the mortgage and been retiring in our mid forties instead of just then figuring out what we should have been doing. Now our plan is retirement at 57/60 in December 2020 (in 2015 if I can convince DH to go along with a major downsize of the house).

    I’ll bet it feels incredible to be making such huge measureable progress now on a monthly basis. You may not be able to do this every month but just knowing it’s possible will help motivate you in the months when your conviction to the plan wavers a bit, or several unexpected things all come up at once. I try not to focus too much on where we’d be now if we’d gotten smart a decade ago, but sure is hard not to wish you had a do over.

    Best of luck maintaining this momentum! Once your new frugal lifestyle starts to become second nature, it actually can actually get a little boring. You stop craving the stuff you used to hold dear. You know the dates/timing/amounts of the various payments to be made. You just follow the monthly plan. Rinse and repeat. And repeat. Once you get to that stage, you just start counting the number of months you have to repeat the process to reach your goal. Other than the first month when you made so many changes, that may be the real test.

    I’ve heard that lots of people find themselves at a bit of a loss on what to do when they reach their goal. When you’ve had your spreadsheets, lists and shrinking balances to focus on for months or years and suddenly that’s done, apparently you need to have an equally detailed plan of what you’ll do next. Maybe it’s pay off the mortgage (if that wasn’t in the original plan), fund your retirement, maybe its travelling extensively, returning to school, starting a business, saving for extensive renovations, children’s weddings, etc. After living by a detailed plan you’d think it would be a relief to have the freedom to live without a plan, but I’ve read repeatedly that it’s just not the case. In case it’s true, I occasionally tinker with my “other spreadsheet” which contains my projected retirement budget, and lists of potential travel destinations. In order to know when we could retire and how much we needed to save we had to come up with some estimates and predictions. I certainly wasn’t going to rely on those retirement calculators that say you need 70% of your income to live on. We live on 55% now with a mortgage and kids still at home. Why would I need more in retirement when all those expenses are done?

    Maybe a discussion of planning for life after debt would make a good topic for a future post? Paying off debt is an admirable goal on it’s own but I think the reason we all commit to doing it is because we want the freedom that being debt free will give us to make different life choices. We all get so focused on the current situation, we sometimes forget to look down the road and remember this is all for a purpose.

    • Reply Claire |

      JMK–I haven’t had a chane to reply to this comment but have definitely wanted to before too much time passed. I’ve read it several times already and expect I will come back to it over the months and years to come. Thank you! Great stuff here!!

  • Reply Rick |

    $5000 is a fantastic sum to pay down; I remember having to pay off my student loan, seeing the interest build up month after month was sickening. I cant wait until the load is lifted off your shoulders, it’s worth every sacrifice.

    • Reply Claire |

      Thanks Rick–now that I pay attention–yes, the interest is sickening. I (like so many) spent a lot of time choosing not to pay attention.

So, what do you think ?