:::: MENU ::::

Posts tagged with: getting out of debt

2017 Year In Review

by

Happy New Year!

Sorry for the “radio silence” over here. We went back to Texas for a week-long visit over New Years and then immediately dove into work upon returning, so things have been chaotic. I’d intended to write up a Year In Review post before the turn of the new year, but better late than never, right?

I’ve now been blogging for nearly 4 years now (I started in March 2014). I cannot even believe it. A lot of life has occurred since that time! For previous years in review, see here:

(Apparently I didn’t do one for 2014??)

2015 year in review

2016 year in review

Here’s a peak at what 2017 looked like for us:

Hubs’ work and school

This year, hubs’ business was ramping down and he started back to school full time (earning straight A’s for two consecutive semesters! Boom!)

Financial

We set some pretty lofty financial goals (which we didn’t hit, for the first year since starting to blog here). Even though we had lots of setbacks and downright financial failures, the whole year wasn’t a bust. We did eliminate the last of our medical bills, closing the door on a scary chapter of our lives related to the medical debt (read here about hubs’ mystery illness of 2013). I also got a huge raise at my full-time job, though it required me to sign a non-compete so I also left my part-time job. The end result is that I actually make slightly less per year (due to loss of part-time income), though I’m happy with the trade-off because I was killing myself working 65+ hour/weeks for 2 years and knew I couldn’t continue forever that way. I make a little less, but I have a much happier, healthier, and more balanced life. Worth it, if you ask me.

Set-Backs

We’ve had a fair share of financial set-backs (and simple over-spending) this year. For one, we grossly underestimated our taxes and got hit hard in April. We also had some car issues: the power-steering went out at one point, we had a tire blowout on the highway, and had to replace other tires later, and we had to replace all our brake pads and rotors. General over-spending occurred, too, explained in some of the posts linked in “Life Happenings”, below.

Kids’ Crafts

The kids were up to their usual crafting shenanigans. I blogged about crafts we made for Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Life Happenings

A major bummer is that we actually increased our credit card debt this year. By quite a bit, actually. I waxed poetic about my thoughts of increasing debt and facing the harsh reality here. To give some context to what’s been happening in “life” as our debt has increased, I had a virtual coffee date and told a tale of two sisters, where I did some over-sharing. 🙂 I also talked about my general outlook on the process of getting out of debt. After all, I’m 3.5-years deep at this point!

Overcoming Debt

In the past couple months, I’ve really gotten intentional about trying to make some hard changes in an effort to get things under control and eradicate our debt. I talked about making our own yogurt (instant pot edition), saving money by checking receipts, using the cash envelope system, cooking from scratch, doing bulk cooking, taking advantage of free museum day and free family races, and utilizing no spend week challenges as a way to tame our spending.

 

We’ve got a long way to go, there’s no doubt. But with the change of the calendar, I feel a fresh sense of renewal. Rebirth. Start-over. All that good stuff. I’ll be back soon with some tangible goals and action-steps for our financial plans in 2018 and beyond!


Ashley’s Credit Card Debts

by

I know I’ve been promising a full debt update for awhile now. It’s been harder for me to put together than I had imagined it would be (in terms of psychological distress), so I’ve come up with a “compromise” offer. I’m presenting here today my current list of Credit Card Debts. No, it’s not my full list of debts. But adding in the student loans and IRS – ugh! It just feels too overwhelming right now. I need some “easy” wins.

Unfortunately, our list of credit card debt has grown ridiculously long.

It started early in the year when I got a credit card to do a balance transfer for a student loan (Citibank). This was back when we had $0 credit card debt. I had successfully used balance transfer offers from credit cards in the past for previous student loans and it worked fine. I didn’t think this transfer would be any different. So I transferred $4460 in January 2017 to Citibank. I got a 0% APR offer for 21 months. Since the transfer initiated January 2017, it will be due by October 2018. I don’t want to miss that date, otherwise the interest rate soars!

Summer 2017 Happened

I’ve talked many times about the perfect storm of issues occurring in summer of 2017. I stopped my part-time job; hubs’ business shut down, I was weathering some tough personal issues, etc. A mixture of a much lower income than that to which we’d become accustomed, lifestyle creep that had become unsustainable, and sloppy or nonexistent budgeting. Basically just a whole falling-off-the-wagon thing going on in terms of personal finances. I turned to my credit cards that had long been tucked away in a filing cabinet. First it was Target, then Wells Fargo, Capital One, a Home Depot up in the mix. Things just snowballed out-of-control and before August hit, we were swimming in credit card debt up to our eyeballs. This is also when I fell off the blogging train HARD (if you go back and read old posts, you’ll notice posts from me were few and far-between at this point).

Time to Get A Grip

Things still aren’t where they need to be. Hubs has finished his personal training course and has been applying for jobs. Luckily, it’s a good time of year (what with all the New-Years resolutions and so-called “January Joiners” at gyms). There look to be a lot of openings. He’s also picked up some random side-gigs to earn a bit of money the past couple months. Plus selling things online, etc. Every little bit helps. We’re not where we need to be in terms of income OR outflow. But we’re taking some baby steps and laying out our credit card disarray is a good place to start.

Credit Card Debts

Here is our current list of credit card debts, listed from smallest balance-size to largest balance-size.

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRMinimum PaymentDecember Payment
Home Depot CC$12290% (through February 2018)$40$400*scheduled
BoA CC$24108.24% ($26$300
Capital One CC$299218.9% ($59$100*scheduled
Balance Transfer Student Loan (Citibank CC)$37130% (through October 2018)$55$55
Wells Fargo CC$15,17813.40%$360$400
Totals$25,522$540$1255

Adding up all the numbers for this post caused a sickening feeling. I really can’t even focus on it too long without getting a migraine. I know some of the “yucky” feeling is good because it is what will ultimately keep us from going back to this spot again. But for right now, I have to push it aside because I find my resolve to be too fragile to become bogged down with the “yucks.” I’ve talked before about how much of debt-reduction is psychological in nature (or, rather, how much psychological issues can impact debt payoff). If we are to succeed with digging out of this (again), I need to feel hopeful.

Hope is Ahead

Luckily, I do feel hopeful. I didn’t include it in this spreadsheet because it happened at the end of November, but I recently paid off the remaining balance of our Target credit card. At it’s peak, it reached about $3500 in the summer. Not our highest balance by a long-shot, but the card was maxed out and I had just been making little “chips” every month when the bill was due. In the last couple months, I paid a bit more and was thrilled to send in the final payment late November. It’s such a great feeling to make these tiny wins! The next three cards (Home Depot, Bank of America, and Capital One) shouldn’t take too terribly long to knock out. Then attention can turn to the beast. Can you imagine – my limit was previously set at $14,000. We accidentally went over that limit. And what did Wells Fargo do? Oh, what any reasonable lender-of-credit would do…..they extended more credit. Upped my limit to $17,000. And obviously some of that additional credit has been used (since we’ve now got over a $15k balance). So they’ve won on the battle. But I’m determined to win the war. We’ve been down this road before and kicked ass last time; we will just have to pull ourselves up and do it again.

Thank you for your support and encouragement! I know things look bleak, but I hope you’ll stick by my side as we pull through this mess all over again!


Pages:1234567