I’m Debt-Free! (Freaking Finally)

libertad-interiorThis, folks, is the post I’ve worked so hard for the privilege of writing.

I made my LAST debt-payment ever on April 15th (Tax Day, ironically), with my second-to-last paycheck from my job in the insurance industry.  It was $963.70 to be exact.  I must say, I have never been so happy to fork over $963.70 to anyone, but that was all I needed to buy my freedom.  Let’s recap my debt board: Continue reading

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Soon To Be Mrs. Clean

3086827283_e9e762331c1Here is what will most likely be my last debt tally (!!!):

Student Loan 003: $0

Student Loan 004: $962.44

Total Debt: $962.44

Nine hundred, sixty-two dollars and 44 freaking cents!  I just received my yearly bonus, so I chunked all that towards Sallie Mae.  Then I raided every savings account I have, minus the emergency fund, which brought me below the thousand dollar mark.  My car still hates me, so it’s best to just be patient and wait the 8 excruciating days.  I would use the pennies amassed in the bottom of my purse, but a co-worker told me that might be going off the deep end.  Maybe.  Maybe not.     Continue reading

To My 18 Year-Old Self

young-1208208_960_720Here we go with the debt standing:

Student Loan 003: $1,749.06

Student Loan 004: $4,464.77

Total Debt: $6,213.83

In 5 weeks and 3 days, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be debt-free! I’m so close I can feel it. I can’t wait to walk down the aisle on April 23rd confident in both myself and soon-to-be husband that we are on solid financial footing. That’s a kind of peace that is priceless (other than the cost of paying off debt, of course).

 

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They Can’t Repo My Bachelor’s Degree, Right?

Photo, diploma, mortarboard and booksColor
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Photo Credit: Flickr – State Farm Graduation and Safe Driving Album

Here’s my current debt standing:

Student Loan: $7,283.39

Loan 002: $0

Loan 003: $2,764.48

Loan 004: $4,518.91

I paid off Loan 002! The way I organized my debt snowball when I finally got to my student loan made a huge difference in my attitude. This is the crown jewel of my debt – the one that filled me with both dread and excitement when I started chunking money at it. I graduated college with about $22,000 in student loans. When I got to it last year after paying off the car, the balance after paying the minimums for 5 years was still about $18k. I sighed when I looked at the balance. Then I realized that I can use the same Debt Snowball strategy to break it up by the individual loans and handle one at a time.

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What is Your WHY?

My current debt payoff amount:

Car Loan: $2,303.36

Student Loan: $17,941.09

Total: $20,244.45

Yes, I’m below the $3000 mark on my car loan!  And below the $18,000 mark on my student loan.  If you’ve been following me for the last few months, then you’ll see that I’ve paid off about $4000 on my car since November of 2014.

Now, this progress is a little bittersweet for me.  Unfortunately, I have one of those temperaments where I have little patience and want things done, like, yesterday.  I was hoping to pay my car off by the end of this month, but it’s not going to happen.  I just don’t have any extra room in my budget, unless I completely destroy it.  I’m receiving a bonus tomorrow with my regular paycheck, which I thought would pay off the car loan, but it turns out I calculated the tax rate incorrectly.  I anticipated my regular 17% tax rate on my bonus, but turns out it’s closer to 31%.  Ugh. Continue reading

People Come First

I’m going to start opening each post with my Debt Snowball update from now on.  It’s good to have a visualization for me and for you, the reader.  Here goes:

Current Debt:

Car Loan: $3,790.10

Student Loan: $17,983.31

Total: $21,773.41

I’m a happy camper!  These numbers tell me that everything I’ve been doing with my budget, with scrimping and sacrificing, and taking on side gigs/overtime has been working!  I’m finally below the $4,000 mark on my car (YAY!), below $18,000 on my student loan and below $22,000 on my total debt.  There was a very low point about 8 years ago when I never thought I’d make so much progress on my student loans and have a car very close to being paid off.

When I did my taxes, I lucked out and ended up getting a return of $107.  It’s not much, but it’s extra money I didn’t have before.  That and another $108 from the part-time gig, and the $151 already budgeted, that gave me $366 to apply towards the principal.  It’s like I tell myself on long runs, slow and steady wins this race.  I’m starting to get antsy from seeing the light, but I have to be patient because there is only so much money available to throw at my debt without completely destroying my budget.

With that being said, I did get a very important reality check from R. a few days ago.  We had discussed going up to Iowa this year for Christmas to visit his family.  Originally, it was my idea since they rarely get to see him during the holidays.  When the topic came up again, I told him that I really needed to focus on my debt payoff this year and maybe we should wait until next year.  He gently reminded me that we’d be engaged sometime this year and that his grandparents are getting older and he might not have the chance to visit them again.

I felt terrible.  I’m not that close to my family, so sometimes I forget how normal families interact.  I need to remind myself that yes, paying off debt is important, but not as important as family and friends.  Never will I let my debt payoff steamroll over those I love again.

Here’s a video that epitomizes that you can still live your life and pay off debt!

What are some life events you’ve experienced while paying off debt?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment/like below. 

 

 

 

Start Looking Around

I’m dedicating this post to my friends who have hopefully been inspired to change the way they look at their debt and finances.

Debt is as much as a philosophical issue as it is monetary.  The way I treat money is different because I’ve changed the way I perceive debt.

Dave Ramsey always says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.”  That’s hard to argue with.  Each time I borrowed money in the past, I allowed myself to become beholden to the lender.  You no longer have control of your money, because someone else is entitled to a part of it.

A few years ago, I worked as a bank teller.  I’ll never forget a particular customer I had working in the drive-thru.   She drove up in a brand new Mercedes and was dressed very professionally.  Perfect hair, makeup, expensive handbag, dripping with jewelry.  You all know the type.  She wanted to make a withdrawal.  I brought up her account and… she had less than 20 dollars in it!  I was floored.  I just assumed she had money because she possessed expensive things. Continue reading