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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 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
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:

January $1678
February $1822
March $653
April $1796
May $1708
June $725
July $2125
August $2250
September $2575
October $5513
November $2751
December $2522
Total $26118

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! 😉

Ashley’s February Debt Update


There have been some big changes going on over here in the months of January and February to shake-up our debt payment plan. I’ve got a post coming up later today with more details about our new plan of action, but in the meantime, enjoy a nice little debt update.

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$13442.5%$844February$5808
PenFed Car Loan$155502.49%$450February $24040
Navient - Federal Student Loans$43478.25%$116February$4687
Navient - Dept of Ed$721838.25-6.55%$260February $69191
ACS Student Loans$210407.24%$77January $21035
Medical Bills$63360%$75February $9000
Totals$120,800 (Last month = 122,312)$1822Starting Debt = $145,472

I’m pretty disappointed in the debt payment this month. I really like to put at least $2,000/month toward debt or else it feels like the needle is barely moving (note, I realize that’s still a ton of money to put toward debt every month, but when we started off with nearly $150,000 of debt, you can’t just nickel-and-dime your way out of it!!!) BUT I’ve still got one more student loan to make a payment on this month (it’s not due until the very end of the month), and I hope to make an extra payment toward it to account for some interest so, with any luck (and no over-speding this month!!!), I’ll still break the $2,000-mark for the month.

Also note, that although my Navient (department of education) loan balance is still higher than its original balance, it’s come down since last month (see last month’s debt update here). So, I really am trying to take strides toward not continuing to accrue interest and, instead, pay it down little bit by little bit. (Side note: It also may be worth mentioning that my ACS loan balance is staying exactly the same because it was a subsidized loan. Since I’m on the Income-Based-Repyament plan, the unpaid interest is forgiven instead of being added to the loan balance. The reason why the same is not true with the Navient loan is because some of those loans are unsubsidized, so interest isn’t forgiven on them and has continued to accumulate. This isn’t anything crazy, just the normal terms of IBR. Unpaid interest is forgiven, but only on subsidized loans).

Check back later for an updated debt plan of action (hint:  you can probably guess at some of these changes just by looking at my recent debt payments). I’m really excited to kick some debt booty and get rid of a couple of monthly payments!

How much do you try to make in debt payments each month? How close are you to paying off whatever debt you’re currently focusing on?

Ashley’s September Debt Update


I’m well overdue for a debt update post!

These mid-month updates are a little wonky because many of the September bills have already been paid, but some aren’t due until the end of the month. I wanted to give current balances (not projecting into the future, or going back into the past), so I’ve made a column on the table to show you when the last payment was made (either this month or last month if this month’s due date hasn’t come yet).

One other change from my last debt update is that I’ve recombined my Sallie Mae Department of Education loans (I used to have them separated based on interest rate). Not only is it easier this way, but I figured that until I start focusing specifically on the student loans (which won’t happen until after the car is paid in full) that they all get paid as a lump sum anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to separate them. Once they become a focus I’ll separate them again because I’ll be attacking the higher interest loans first. Right now they’re all getting the standard IBR payment.

So here we go:

PlaceAugust 1st BalanceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date
Capital One CC$0-17.9%-Paid off in March
Mattress Firm$0-0%-Paid off in May
Wells Fargo CC$0-13.65%-Paid off in May
BoA CC$0-7.24%-Paid off in June
License Fees$4015$34472.7%236September
PenFed Car Loan$22377$199682.49%1000September
Sallie Mae - Federal Student Loans$4459$43828.25%66September
Sallie Mae - Dept of Ed$71780$718458.25-6.55%240September
ACS Student Loans$21164$210397.24%247August
Medical Bills$6931$66030%150September

A couple things I’d like to highlight:

When I started blogging (March 2014), my total debt balance = $145,473

Today (September 2014), my total debt balance = $127,284

This means I’ve paid a total of $18,189 (plus lots of interest) in the past 6 months (= roughly $3,000/month in debt payments).

Keeping at a similar pace ($3,000/month), our debt would be paid in full in 42 months.

That’s pretty exciting stuff, in my opinion!

I’ve mentioned a couple of times how depressing these student loans have been. I think it helps me to look at how far I’ve come instead of focusing on the mountain that still lies ahead. And I’m proud of these figures! It’s a lot of fun to think what a debt-free future might hold! It’s still a few years away, but its definitely going to happen! I’m glad you’re along for the journey! 🙂

How are your debt payments coming along? How much longer do you have until your projected debt-free date?

Going, going, GONE!!!!!!!


We’re lining up our credit cards and knocking them out one at a time!

First up – Capital One

Next – Wells Fargo

And finally, I present to you….my Bank of America credit card account:



Current balance = ZERO, Baby!!!! Wooo!!!!

We are officially credit card debt-free!!! MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Cue the Pharrell song, Happy, along with a little “raising the roof” dance! I’m cool that way. Feel free to join in ; )







Today’s Message


I was bombarded by the message “stop making excuses” today.  I don’t mean that I heard that directly or that I said it directly…but instead I’m talking about multiple instances of hearing totally random people making excuses for their respective “bad” situations.

A lady in front of me in line was on  her cell phone explaining to someone why she can’t stay at her current job.  The person on the other end was obviously encouraging her to keep the job and not make any rash decisions.  I gathered there had been a string of “bad jobs” and that this person kept leaving them before finding something new.

A caller on a radio show called in to discuss why he quit school because he was experiencing stress related illnesses.  He needed some time to gather his thoughts and needed to do that while living with his parents.

An acquiantance that I ran into on the office elevator randomly shared that she was broke but was still going to stop at the mall on the way home after leaving the office.  She needed something to feel better about this no good, terrible day and she was owed a shopping trip.

I think back to the many excuses I made for why I couldn’t start getting out of debt NOW (before I started this blog) and cringe.  There was probably someone listening to me on the elevator or overhearing a telephone conversation thinking I was just one big excuse maker.

I’m not writing this to judge the folks I ran into today as everyone’s circumstances are their own and I can’t pretend to know where those individuals are in this life– but instead share for two main reasons.  First, to say how pleased I am that I’m done–for the most part–with making excuses and putting of debt payoff.  Secondly, I am compelled to share just in case some you had an excuse making sort of day.  Today might just be the day that you are destined to stop making excuses about why you can’t avoid new debt right now and why you can’t pay down debt right now.  Challenge yourself to stop that madness today!  You won’t regret it! (okay maybe there will be days you DO regret it but the pros so quickly outweigh the cons that you just need to take that first step!)

Bad With Money


This is a guest post by Purchase Baby who has recently started the Mickey Mouse Debt blog.

I’ve always been bad with money. Well, I call it binges really. At times I can be the most organised person – full of financial control. I can put my mind to things and save, save, save. And then something happens in my life and – BAM – I go back down the spiral road of debt.

Here’s my story: It started when I was a teenager. I used credit cards and loans to ‘keep up with everybody’. I come from a working class background, no airs and graces. My parents worked hard and saved hard for whatever they needed.

I landed a good job in advertising. A marvellous achievement for my age at 19 years old! Soon I got into the self-belief that I could keep up with everyone on the social scene. The trouble was, these people were middle-class and HAD money, while I didn’t! Anyhow, the credit cards balances started to pile up, and the loans. It took 10 years to get rid of the lot. If you asked me what I spent it all on, for the life of me I really don’t know!

Fast forward to 12 years ago. I bought a house with my partner. He was already £5k in debt as he wanted to help with the ‘deposit’. Within a year we (and I say we as it was my decision as well as hiss when he suggested it to me) wanted to get rid of his £5k debt, and I wanted to help him out. So we added £10k onto the mortgage (don’t ask why the extra £5k, we just did!) Within 2 years we did it again! We changed mortgage providers and added another £10k. Now, all of this time I was paying for the mortgage with the partner, as a partner when he could! Fair? Well, again I put up with it, so I’m not going to grumble – it was my fault in letting him get away with it in the first place.

The decade of 2000 was a very strange one. Everyone thought they were RICH. I had been in negative equity in the early 1990’s and so put my foot down in not putting anymore money onto the mortgage. I always believed in a mortgage should be 3 times your salary and capital/repayment. I’m glad I stuck to that guideline. However, I bought a second-hand car, and 3 years into my car loan financing debt I then took on the partner’s debt because “he couldn’t cope with it” (yes, he got himself into about £15k more debt). What a idiot I was, but hey, I could handle it because my salary was growing while his salary was, well, going nowhere. And that’s also my problem. I always look to help out others who are more in need than i am, and always put them first.

Roll on to 2008 and 3 more years until I would be debt-free. I had a serious knock-back. There was an unexpected bereavement in the family. It hit me HARD. I’m still not over it. And my relationship was beginning to show serious cracks. He couldn’t understand the pain I was going through, and the support I was giving to my family at this emotional time. And I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t “supporting” me. We slowly stated to become distant from each other. I needed things around me to feel happy. I decided to take out another loan, but this time to revamp the kitchen to cheer me up.

As a precaution, I took out credit cards (just as a back-up in case the loan didn’t get approved – which it did). it wasn’t long before I started to spend on my cards… and spend… and spend. I had to get the best of everything. I had to “keep up with everyone” and spent a fortune on business class flights to far off places like my work colleagues did. I was buying bracelets and fancy bags. I was doing things I had never done before – starting to live – starting to spend like I was middle class and not working class! It was the beginning of the recession / credit crunch, and instead of keeping my 1 loan debt in control, I added an extra loan plus credit cards! I was depressed and these “materialistic things” were making me feel happy, at least immediately. It took away the pain of feeling sad, lost, lonely and losing my family member.

Then the defaults started kicking in last July. I was not making the minimum payments on everything. I was getting phone calls from the credit card providers. I was not getting regular money from the partner (which wasn’t anything new, but now it was really affecting my cash flow). This has been going on and off until now. I decided in 2012 and I need to sort out this crap – and fast.

So, that’s my story. Here’s where I am in my life. Fortunately I do not have any children, so it makes it that little bit easier to concentrate on me, and me alone! No more bailing out other people’s debts. No more helping out people because they want something, but don’t have the means to pay for it themselves. The buck stops HERE and I’m determined to be debt-free within 2-3 years — tops.

With this in mind, I started my blog. It’s all mickey mouse money which we as consumer owe. It’s about all crap that we have accumulates. We all have to start taking control of our lives and get out of the debt cycle we’re all in. feel free to follow my journey and goal of becomming debt-free, and most importantly, having FREEDOM! I don’t want to be rich — I just be free of all of the stress and financial strain which millions of us are going through. We need a revolution, people.

Do you have a debt story that you believe others could benefit from reading? We are always interested in finding stories that touch on a variety of aspects of personal debt. Your previous writing is of little concern to us. Wehter you’re a long-time debt blogger or your story will be the first time you have written anything, we’d be interested in sharing your experience. If this sounds like something that is of interest, feel free to contact us.

Hubby – The WILD Spender


My husband is a man’s man. He’s more comfortable with a hammer than a computer mouse. I often times snicker when getting the mail and my copy of Smart Money is snuggled near his Family Handyman.

Obviously our celebrations were VERY different.

Usually, we use side work money to pay debt. He comes home, hands me the check, and I pay the bills. After we made the last payment, he came home, started to hand me the check, looked down at it for a minute, and asked if he could use it for a special payoff surprise.

This was his surprise…

He’s building a pantry with roll out drawers! He cut a hole in the wall between our kitchen and garage to add some much needed space to our tiny kitchen. How much did he spend? $100. Quite a deal considering he was able to use a lot of leftover materials from side work to piece it together.

When I told him I felt bad about him spending money on the kitchen rather than on something he really wanted, he assured me this was what he had in mind for quite some time.

That… and he’s sick of me asking him to carry the heavy mixer from the linen closet in the back of the house to the kitchen whenever I need it.

Big smile on my face today. Big. Big. Smile.