Note: Juju wrote this post as an introduction of herself for the blogger position for BAD. Please take the time to read, then ask questions or leave comments on what she has written. You can find information about the BAD blogger position here
I have been reading this blog for about a year now. I have always been interested in personal finance (the savings part, not the debt reduction part). I started really evaluating my own debt when I married my husband in 2012. Prior to our marriage I was a single working mother going to school in the evenings to attain my MBA. I went into labor with our son (my second, his third) a few hours after my final presentation for my Master’s degree. Talk about timing! Soon my family of two became our family of six. We have a 10 year old boy, 6 year old twin boys and our now 2 year old son.
We decided back in 2012 that what my husband lacked in education was made up for by his determination to become the best father to our sons. We decided that I would go back to work while he stayed home with the kids. This solution was perfect; however, this meant we needed to really look at our spending also known as the dreaded B-U-D-G-E-T. Previously, I was living the high lifestyle of supporting only two people but now I am supporting four on one income plus child support for the twins.
First I had to do research, which is how I stumbled on this blog. Though I am used to saving I had never really focused on debt reduction. I set things off in motion by paying off the $14,000 left on my car loan within 5 months. This freed up $388/a month in my budget! This allowed me to invest money in our next purchase.
We bought a 1950’s rambler in a good neighborhood within walking distance to an award winning school. I never thought I would ever be able to buy a home, especially in the Puget Sound market so this was another major accomplishment. Unfortunately, because we used up most of our savings to pay off the car, I had to get a 401k loan to pay for the down payment. Fortunately, around this same time my manager decided to retire and I was promoted which increased my income.
With my increased income I decided to bump up my 401k to 12% and my H.S.A. to $100 a paycheck. $225 a paycheck goes to my savings leaving my take home after taxes and employee benefit deductions to $3000 a month. I also receive child support for my oldest son. Of course higher income and assets means higher debt and liability. We are far from being debt free.
- ACS Student loan (undergraduate): $6,026.64
- Nelnet student loan (graduate): $49,544.76
- Mortgage: $143,674.69
- 401k loan: $7,233.44
Yep, that is $206,479.53 in debt. No sweat, I am up for the challenge. My first course of action is to pay off my 401k debt. That would allow me to eliminate debt and increase my savings at the same time-a win-win. I should be able to do this by summer. I have a goal and a plan to be debt free but I will also need the help and advice from others to guide me along my journey.