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Weekly Debt Update #17- Time Off


I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday!

For those of you who haven’t read my previous post, or the comment section of the post before that, I’ve decided to take some time off in July from paying down my debt. As you know, I will be taking a physical vacation to Walt Disney World to spend some quality time with my whole family, new nephew included. I will also be using the money I would normally put towards debt to not only fund our vacation (GF and I anticipate spending between $600-$700) but use the money for things I’ve been putting off, as well. I know I want to buy some new clothes and get my car fixed (I’ve had some minor sensor issues for the past couple months) and July seems like the perfect time to get this all done. I want to go into August with renewed energy to finish off the remaining $50,000 in debt in 18 months. What ever money I don’t spend, I’m going to use to refund my EF. I don’t plan on missing any blogs posts during this time off, except for the week I will be in Florida.

On an other note- my fun fund has come in handy once again. Over this past weekend, a good friend of mine invited me and GF out them for dinner and drinks. GF couldn’t make it, as it was pretty spur of the moment, and I ended up spending nearly $50. I’m so grateful to those who convinced me to put money aside for fun every month. Only a couple months ago, I likely would have said no to the request, or worried so much about how much I was spending that I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself, anyways.

And an update on an item that came up last week- I handed in my 401k contribution form to increase my contributions from 4 to 10%. Me contributing to our company’s 401k was never about affordability, it was more so about how quickly I could pay off my debt- every penny was one closer to my original goal. Well, lately I’ve had an internal struggle over putting money towards savings. I think this increase in contributions will ease my mind in this regard. If it doesn’t work out, I can always decrease the contributions back down (the paperwork take roughly 1 minute to fill out), but I know I’m not going to get optimal savings years back.

Lastly, for those interested in how much I’ve paid off lately, here are my balances as of today. I didn’t post an update last week, so the “+/-since last week” is actually from 2 weeks ago.

Loan NameInterest RateOriginal Balance- May '09Current BalanceTotal Paid OffPaid Since Last Week
Sallie Mae 015.25$27,837.24$23,896.61$3,940.63$0.00
Sallie Mae 024.75$22,197.02$18,750.50$3,449.52$0.00
Sallie Mae 037.75$20,692.10$0.00
Sallie Mae 045.75$10,350.18$6,577.48$3,772.70$707.05
Sallie Mae 055.25$6,096.03$0.00$6,096.03$0.00
Sallie Mae 06 and 074.75$6,415.09$0.00$6,415.09$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 015.25$5,000.00$0.00$5,000.00$0.00
Sallie Mae- DOE 025.25$3,000.00$0.00$3,000.00$0.00

I hope everyone has a great week!


  • Reply Brooke |

    Whoo hoo! Another $700 down. This seems like a great solution to all of the issues you have been mulling around lately: Hitting halfway, wanting to increase savings, wanting to build in a but more fun, etc. .I’m betting that taking a month off and coming back refreshed will keep you from burning out.

    • Reply Matt |

      Thanks Brooke. I’m betting on the same. I’ve felt some financial fatigue, lately, and I think the time off will definitely help alleviate it.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Do you do any net worth tracking? Since you have (presumably) home equity, increasing 401k contributions and perhaps other assets, it might be motivating to capture your whole picture for your personal tracking. It’ll be really satisfying to see the investment numbers increase at the same time as your loan balance decreasing.

    Once you’re done with loans, it’ll help to keep the focus when you switch to the savings side of the coin.

    • Reply Matt |

      I did do net worth tracking. I stopped when I withdrew my 401k from my previous since that contained 90% of my savings. I kept track pf our home value on zillow.com and the value kept going down so that was another reason I stopped tracking it- I didn’t want to have to worry about my mortgage, too. I have $69,500 left to pay on the mortgage, my appraisal came in at $75k, but Zillow and Trulia only value the house at $68k, so I’m not sure how to value the house either. What’s your thought?

      • Reply Walnut |

        I find the valuations on zillow and trulia to be all over the board. I generally keep my valuation based on the last appraised value and don’t stray from that. It’s sort of crazy to think that by the time you’re done paying off your loans, you would almost be in a position to think about paying off the house.

      • Reply Rachel |

        I do modified monthly net worth tracking to better reflect what I have control over. My retirement fund is large enough (and all stocks) that the market swings are all you can see in my net worth. It’s depressing.

        I chose a reasonable value for my home and left it stable, didn’t try to update. Blue-book valuing my car every month had too many swings; I just chose a value at one point in time and decrease it a reasonable amount every month for depreciation. These things can be adjusted annually or as needed. Each month I calculate a net worth number including retirement and excluding it. Including retirement there are wild swings, excluding retirement I can see a nice upward trend for my efforts!

  • Reply Den |

    Great! I’m glad you’re taking a month off and getting caught up on some financial needs…..plus vacation helps renew your attitude and energy!

    Even though you are on vacation I bet you will still keep to your frugal ways. Pack some snacks and water bottles, look for discounts and coupons, and keep it simple. I would also recommend looking for clothing deals online (or at least coupons) – I tend to get some great deals at jcpenney.com and there always seems to be some online deal to be had (check out retailmenot.com for online coupon codes) especially in July when they are getting rid of summer clothes and bringing out fall fashions.

    And so happy to hear you went out with a good friend guilt free due to your fun fund – that is awesome!

    • Reply Matt |

      Thanks Den! Yes- we’re definately planning on being pretty frugal on vacation. We have set-up GF’s mother to house/dog sit for us, which is saving us 50% over having our dogs boarded for the week. We’re planning on packing a cooler of food for the trip down and quite possibly refilling it for the trip back up. We have a list of ideas that will help us save money on our whole trip.

      • Reply Walnut |

        I love packing frozen PB&J’s. They act as ice packs while in the cooler and can be thawed out pretty easily just by setting them in a sunny spot in the car.

So, what do you think ?