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Ashley’s December 2015 Debt Update


Here we are on the last day of the month/year. How has your December been?

Aside from a couple little financial hiccups, ours has been fabulous! During the school break I’ve actually unplugged for full days at a time (a rarity, especially when you work online!) and its been great to just be around and enjoy family without constantly checking email!

But let’s not forget why we’re here. We had some lofty goals in terms of debt repayment that I wasn’t sure we’d meet this month (in fact, I have said several times we probably would not meet our goals).

After all the dust settled and the paychecks had been cashed, let’s see how things shaped up this month.

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment DateOriginal 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
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20December$8215
PenFed Car Loan$31812.49%$1800December$24040
Balance Transfer student loan (Former Navient 1-01)$26120% (through April 2016)$400December$5937
Medical Bills$59360%$25December$9000
Totals$102,502 (Nov balance = 104,704)$2522Starting Debt = $145,472

After all was said and done, we ended up paying just over $2500 in debt this month. Our initial debt payment was actually about $300 lower than this, but I squeezed every spare penny out of the budget and was able to make an additional last-minute (December 30th) extra payment to the car loan.

Our final consumer-related debt, the car, is now at a balance of $3,181. And our overall debt balance is at $102,502. So we did NOT make our goals of paying off the car or dipping below $100k in debt this month as we had hoped. 

That being said, come hell or high water, we will meet both of these goals in January. So we’ll be a few weeks behind the initial goal, but not by much.

Another one of our 2015 Financial Goals included paying $30,000 total toward debt during the year. Here’s where our final debt payment numbers landed:


So, again, we didn’t quite meet our goal, but we weren’t terribly far off either.

Overall, I’m quite proud of how well we’ve done in 2015. Let’s not forget that hubs’ business has had a bit of a rough year. His income wasn’t as high as it was in 2014 (and he had a couple months with no income whatsoever). Plus, I didn’t start my full-time job until the end of summer, so my income didn’t increase until the second half of the year.

When I set our goals, I always like to set “reaching” goals. This means they’re not easily attainable in-the-bag type goals. They’re goals where the numbers don’t quite work and, yet, I set the goals anyway because I want something to reach for and work toward. So the fact that we didn’t quite make our goals doesn’t bother me as much as one might think (though, don’t get me wrong, I would have LOVED to reach our goals!). My point is simply that I think the goals did their job. They made us work hard to try to do something crazy – something the numbers said wouldn’t or couldn’t work. And we made incredible progress, so that’s something to be proud of.

And, I have a mini-secret up my sleeve. My “ace in the hole”, if you will.

Just as former blogger Adam posted that he and Emily are effectively debt free (see their update here), I have similar news to share. You know how every month I’ve reported that I’ve been saving money toward Cruise 2016? Well, guess what…

As of this month (December 2015), I have $3,300 in one of my Capital One 360 savings accounts for the cruise. But the next cruise payment isn’t due until February 2016. So what I’m saying is that we actually have enough liquid cash available to be entirely consumer debt-free today.

In fact, I had initially planned to “steal” from myself (from the cruise fund), pay off the car in full, and then spend January/February re-saving that money for the cruise. However, after the unexpected extra expenses this month coupled with the fact that we really have little-to-no additional savings to speak of right now (not to mention we’re still in Texas so if we encountered any problems on the trip back to Arizona, etc.) I wanted to err on the side of caution and keep that money in the bank.

That being said, mark my words:  We will be consumer debt-free in January 2016. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it the old fashioned way (i.e., using our pay to finish paying off the last consumer debt). But even if something crazy happened, we had extra expenses or whatever, and we didn’t have enough money to quite cover the full amount of debt, I fully intend to use all our available capital (including the cruise fund) to MAKE SURE our consumer debts are fully eradicated before the end of January.

So we are effectively consumer debt-free now (in the sense that we have the money to pay off the last of our consumer debt), but we will become actually consumer debt-free within the next couple of weeks.

You can imagine that this is one of the biggest things on the forefront of my mind and I basically can’t shut up about it. My family has asked if it feels amazing and, although it feels pretty good, I still think there will be a big difference once I actually transfer the funds and see zeros on the balance owed of our vehicle. Just thinking about it makes me smile. And now I’m totally “that person” because I bought both my sister & my brother a copy of Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover for Christmas (during their $10 sale! Couldn’t pass it up!) Edited to add:  This is totally creepy, but the link to Ramsey’s book automatically appears, perhaps since it’s tagged to this post. I did NOT link it myself, nor is the link an affiliate link. In fact, it seems like I cannot remove the link without changing the wording of the post to not include the book’s name. Really weird/creepy, and I don’t particularly like that, but just wanted to be transparent that the link appears to be an auto-generated thing and I do NOT make any type of money or kick-back if you buy the book.

Just to be clear, I don’t blindly follow everything Ramsey says (as you can tell from my 2016 financial goals), but I do credit him (and Bobby Bones!) with jump-starting my mission to become debt-free. And I want to spread the message to those I love! What better gift to give than the gift of financial freedom? LOL. A bit of hyperbole (it’s not like I’m paying off anyone else’s debt), but it’s like giving a roadmap that can help others, so of course I want to share that information!

Anyway, this post has become entirely too long and I’ve got to run! New Years Eve is my birthday and I have lots of fun plans for family time, getting my hair professionally cut/colored (gift from my Mom and the first professional job in a really long time), lunch with my Dad, sparklers with the kids, etc. etc. etc.

I wish everyone a safe and happy New Years! I’ll catch you on the flip side! 😉


  • Reply Rachel |

    Congrats on everything you have achieved! You have done amazing and should be proud. And…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you have a wonderful time celebrating with your family.

  • Reply Alexandra |

    What amazing progress you have made! You’re so close… looks like you’ll have some great successes early in the year! I love the lofty goal-setting. It has clearly worked for you! I tend to do the same. My goals were to save $10k and pay off the rest of my debt (car loan & credit card). I am debt free – woohoo! – but I fell far short of my savings goal. 2016 will be my year though!

    Happy Birthday!! 🙂

    • Reply Ashley |

      Congrats on being debt free! Must feel great! Without any debts hanging over your head, I’m sure you’ll knock the savings goal out of the park in 2016!!

  • Reply AT |

    After everything that’s happened with your dad this year, not delaying your mom’s cruise (despite all the Nellie naysayers here) must seem even more brilliant. Using your money for your values is what this is all about. Yes you will pay a little more interest on those loans, but you just can’t count on having the chance to do something this special with your loved ones afterwards. You just never know what life has in store. And after the cruise is paid for, you’ll have that much more to throw at your debt or house fund.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Definitely a good call not to raid the cruise savings to pay off the car. That would be like inviting Murphy to your drive back to Arizona. I’m looking forward to you guys paying off the car in January and restocking your emergency fund after that!

    • Reply Ashley |

      My thoughts exactly! Can’t wait to get the debt paid off and restock our EF immediately at the beginning of 2016!

  • Reply Theresa |

    I am so proud of all that you have accomplished in 2015. Cheers to an amazing 2016 ahead of you!

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    Congratulations on a stellar 2015! You’ve sailed (as it were) past the various bumps amid some tough personal times, and are in a good financial position moving forward, what with your increased income. Aren’t you excited to end 2016 with a huge dent in those student loans?

    • Reply Ashley |

      Absolutely! It’s funny because when I wrote this post I focused solely on the excitement of how far we’ve come (and, indeed, I’m very proud of our progress). But let’s not forget we still have six figures worth of debt hanging over our heads! Right now I choose to dwell on the good (being SOOOO CLOSE to the consumer debt-free mark), but I know we still have a lot of work ahead of us!

  • Reply Brownie |

    Ashley, it’s so exciting seeing all the progress you have made this year! Part of me thinks the car loan will be paid off in February but with all the passion you have to get it paid off I can’t wait to see what will happen in January with that final $3181. Then after the car loan is paid off that balance transfer won’t be sticking around for very long. Great job on all 3 of your goals! I can’t wait to see what you plan for 2016!!

So, what do you think ?